Late, on how many Christmas Eves, have you dashed out to Walgreens to grab a quick gift for Uncle Ed,whomight not have something under the tree for himself the next day? Another year, it was for the cousin hardly anyone knew! Yes. We grabbed a “Ch-ch-ch-Chia Pet del ano” for another un-neglected guest. It saved the day!
Once valued so much chia seed was used as currency. This unique little seed has exceptional nutritive, structural and even holiday benefits. Every year there was a new critter – rams, bulls, teddy bears. Hippos, Elmer Fudds, Scooby-Doos, Bugs Bunny, “Miss Americas” of the chia world.
We saw the first chia pets around 1980. They are American, little terracotta figures made to be slathered with moistened chia seeds which grow from designated crevices to become Afros, other interesting hair styles even plain fur, if you wish.
Chia seeds are also ingested by humans who add them, whole or ground, to smoothies, cereals, granola, tortillas, breads and more. It can also consist of one-quarter of the egg content in baking.
Buy ‘em in white or black, ground or whole, same nutritional value. Tiny chia seeds have a quiet, nut-like flavor, and they are capable of absorbing greats amounts of liquid, up to 12 times its own size. They also take on the flavor of whatever it absorbs. High omega fat content of chia seeds also allow them to be a butter substitute. There are whole chia seeds, ground chia seeds, chia bars, chia snacks, chia drinks and more.
Native to central and southern Mexico, South America and Guatemala chia seeds were grown by the Aztecs in the Pre-Columbian era as early as 1600 BCE. It is still used as a nutritious food. Chia was held in the same high esteem as corn. Indians used them as their only food in trade runs between the Colorado River and the coast of California.
Chia seeds are a quick protein, fiber, mineral, B vitamin, calcium and antioxidant source. They require no processing unless you want them ground, and they stay fresh for long periods of time. They carry with them a long laundry list of health improvement claims.
Store chia seed in a dry, cool place. Keep out of sunlight. Seeds will keep for up to two years.
Use chia seeds in the following.
- Energy bars
- Fat replacement
- Fish cakes
- Mashed potatoes
- Pie crust
- Rice/brown rice
- Stir fry
Below are foodsites with chia seed recipes and suggestions.