Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Weird Ingredients: Chia Seeds

I love strange food.  I'm not talking about cicadas and grubs (those days of trying weird things are over), but I do have a few things in my pantry that are stranger-than-the-average pasta.  So I will periodically feature a strange ingredient and what to do with it.

Today's Weird Ingredient is:
Chia Seeds!

Salvia hispanica is its botanical name.  These seeds have been used by Native Central Americans for thousands of years.  In some cultures, it was the second most important crop after corn.  It has a high concentration of protein and omega-3 fatty acids.  They are more familiar to us as the beloved chia pet, but these tiny seeds are incredibly good and versatile.

To make the chia gel:

1/3 cup chia seeds
2 cups water
Mix the seeds with the water and leave 15 minutes.  
Mix again and the seeds are ready to go!

My personal favorite way of eating them is pouring them in a glass and drinking them with my favorite beverage.  They are good with green tea, kombucha, and beet kvass.  The trick is first to soak them in water and they produce this gelatinous exterior that not only goes down smooth but helps us digest proteins and remove toxins.  In this gelatinous state, they can be drunk with juices or water, and they are also useful as a substitute for eggs (3 Tablespoons per egg substituted).  They can be ground into flour and used as a gluten-free alternative.

Here is a little recipe for some kombucha chia seeds:
1 cup kombucha
1/3 cup chia seed gel
1 lemon wedge

Mix the seeds and kombucha together. Squeeze the lemon into the glass.  Drink and enjoy!

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