Chia Seeds come from the Chia Plant, native to the central valley of Mexico. They are considered to be a super food, providing an excellent source of essential omega 3 fatty acids, dietary fiber, protein and anitoxidants.
The chia seeds are black to white in color and are covered with a highly absorbent shell that can absorb over seven times its weight in water, producing a gelatin-like substance. The gel-like substance acts as a barrier to slow the release of carbohydrates and thus, enabling a slower conversion into glucose (blood sugar) as the seed is digested.
Selecting and Buying
Preparation and Use
The seeds can be eaten raw, added to juices or water to make Chia Fresca, or ground into a meal called pinole and used to make cereal or porridge and cakes, breads, bicuits and other baked goods.
Chia Seeds can also be allowed to sprout and used in salads and other dishes in the same way as alfalfa sprouts.
The gelatinous characteristic of these seeds is an attribute used to make other foods more nutritious. It aids in making the seeds easy to mix with sauces (barbecue, tartar, and marinades), sandwich dressings (mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard), jams, jellies, ice cream drinks, smoothies, yogurts, and nut butters. When preparing the gelatinous solution to be mixed with other foods, 1 part seeds should be slowly poured in 8 to 10 parts of water and whisked lightly to keep them from forming clusters or joined masses of seeds. Allow the seeds to remain immersed for at least 10 minutes, whisking several times to keep them apart as much as possible.
Chia seeds can be ground into a powder for use as a nutritious ingredient or they can be roasted and added to soups, stews, and salads. Chia fresca is a popular Mexican beverage made from the seeds, which are mixed with water and lime juice to produce a gelatinous drink.
To replace one egg, whisk together 1 tbsp chia seeds, grounded, with 3 tbsp water until gelatinous.
Conserving and Storing
The resulting gel can then be refrigerated and kept for several weeks for use in adding to other foods, using half gel and half food as a general amount to be mixed together.
Store the seeds uncooked in a cool, dry place in a sealed container.
Whole chia seeds can be kept for long periods of time if stored in a cool dry area.