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The 2014 Farmers Almanac
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What the Heck are Chia Seeds?

What the Heck are Chia Seeds?

If your only exposure to chia seeds is spreading them onto a Chia Pet, you’re not alone. The earliest export of chia seeds in the United States was for use in growing decorative houseplants, but these little seeds, originally from Central and South America, are a also a rich source of nutrients, as a growing number of people in the U.S. are beginning to learn.

The little mottled seeds are from the Salvia hispanica plant, a flowering member of the mint family. The seeds themselves have long been a food staple in Mexico and along portions of the southwestern U.S. border.

Chia seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which promote heart health, supple joints, and good brain function, among other things. In addition, chia seeds are a good source of dietary fiber, protein, calcium, phosphorus, and manganese.

These little miracle seeds can be eaten raw, but are generally consumed by adding them to recipes, such as smoothies, oatmeal, or muffins.

Another popular way to use chia seeds is to make a gel from them that can be used as a gelatin substitute in recipes. This is popular with vegans and vegetarians, who don’t eat gelatin because it is an animal product.

Here are a few recipes to help you get to know this healthy little treat:

Chia Wheat Pancakes
Ingredients:
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup oats
1 cup milk
1 egg
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon chia seeds
Maple syrup to top

Directions:
Spray a frying pan with cooking spray and place over medium heat. Beat together egg, milk, and oil. In a separate bowl, combine flour, oats, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder. and salt. Slowly stir the flour mixture into the egg mixture. Add honey and stir until combined. Stir in chia seeds. Pour batter into the pan using a 1/4 cup scoop and cook until golden brown. Flip and cook until centers are completely done. Top with maple syrup.

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13 comments

1 joy { 11.12.14 at 1:28 pm }

Unfortunately, I cannot find a French translation for Chia seeds. Could you supply the botanical name please?

2 todd { 03.25.13 at 7:18 pm }

there is lots of media coverage these days due to the fact that chia seeds are amazingly healthy for you! The Aztec Diet is a new book out by Dr. Bob Arnot that sings chia praise-seeds that are blended and sliced open (not ground or milled) are the best for you.

3 Chia Seed Lovers { 03.20.13 at 7:48 am }

I love the title of this blog ;) By the way thanks for the information and for the recipes. I really love Chia seeds and one of my favorite simple recipe is to add them to my favorite omelet.

4 Zen { 03.10.13 at 6:30 am }

Love them in taco salad and in scrambled eggs. Also on cold salads! Their taste is similar to roasted sunflower seeds to me.

5 Ileana { 03.07.13 at 10:40 pm }

Here’s an awesome recipe: 1/3 cup chia seeds, 2 cups almond or soy milk, 2 tablespoons raw honey. Mix and sit for 5 minutes. Stir again and then sprinkle cinnamon on top. Put in fridge for several hours. Each for breakfast with bananas or alone. Its a great breakfast, snack or dessert. Yum!

6 Jaime McLeod { 03.07.13 at 9:18 am }

No, Organic fan, you can enjoy them whole.

7 Holly Martino { 03.06.13 at 6:04 pm }

I buy my chia seeds from Vitacost on the Web. They come in a 1 lb. bag, and they taste great, as well as adding a slightly crunchy texture to smoothies, or whatever you choose to use them on or in. I prefer Navitas Naturals Organic Raw Chia Seeds, and they get a 4.9 out of 5 star rating from consumers. I am not a healthnut, and I usually don’t comment on health foods, but this one is well worth it both healthwise and tastewise.

8 Organic fan { 03.06.13 at 3:45 pm }

Do chia seeds need to be ground to reap the nutritional benefits (similar to flax seeds)?

9 Thom Foote { 03.06.13 at 12:13 pm }

I appreciate the info and recipes in the article but wish it had more. What do they taste like? Can they be used as a small scale ground cover? Can they be mixed with other chicken feed or are they too expensive? Can they be sprouted?

10 PattyPooh3 { 03.06.13 at 10:39 am }

I buy my Chia seeds off the Internet from http://www.getchia.com. This is a family owned company and they have great prices and free postage. I LOVE these little seeds and sprinkle them on almost everything I eat. They will disappear from view after being added to spagetti sauce, soup, salad dressing or bakery goods so you can get added nutrition into picky eaters!

11 Leanne { 03.06.13 at 10:01 am }

I get my Chia seeds from the health food co-op that we’re a part of. Personally, I prefer the black seeds. The white had a little bit of an aftertaste to me.

12 thegirlwithguitars { 03.06.13 at 9:17 am }

I bought my Chia seeds at my local supermarket in the organic foods baking section. They came in a 1 lb. bag. They really have no taste in my opinion but if you have them in your mouth long enough while you are chewing, they do turn to a gelatinous little blob. I add them to smoothies, my morning yogurt (1 tsp. just stirred in), etc. I will definitely be adding them to my muffin mix next time I make them.

13 Par Loomis { 03.06.13 at 9:08 am }

Where do you buy chia seeds? What do they taste like? Very timely story as they are in the news everyday. Thanks

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