Tuesday, January 06, 2015
wholefood step-by-step: #22 chia seeds
We're enjoying beach days here in Australia, and the long summer school holidays.
Welcome if you are a new reader! And welcome back if you're a regular here.
I'm looking forward to continuing this series this year. The aim is to break wholefood living down into easy steps that you can take one at a time, rather than feeling overwhelmed by trying to do it all at once.
Today we're taking a look at chia seeds. These little seeds fall into the 'superfood' category which is not something I write about much here because I want to focus on every day wholefoods - such as fruit and vegetables! - that are accessible to everyone.
Having said that, when you can include chia seeds into your budget they're a great food to add nutrients and variety to your wholefood diet.
I buy them from time to time and my favorite thing to do with them is add them to smoothies or sprinkle them on porridge, muesli or yoghurt. I've tried to love chia pudding but haven't managed to get hooked on it yet. More about that later.
What are chia seeds and why are they good to eat?
Chia seeds come from the flowers of the chia plant, a herb that is part of the mint family, native to Mexico and Guatemala. There are black chia seeds and white chia seeds, there is no difference in taste, texture or nutritional value between the two.
As the worldwide demand grows for these nutritious seeds, commercial crops are now grown in Australia and South American countries Bolivia, Argentina, Ecuador and Nicaragua.
Nutritionally chia seeds offer protein, fibre, omega 3 fatty acids and antioxidants.
Where can I buy them?
Australian grown chia seeds are sold in major supermarkets and you will find them in health food and organic stores too.
You can buy Australian grown chia seeds online here.
If you are really keen, you can grow your own!
Read this detailed post: How I grow and harvest organic chia by Long Time Mother.
How much do they cost?
Like many wholefood items, buying in bulk is the way to bring the price down for chia seeds.
A 250g pack is around $9-$10 whereas 1kg ranges between $23-$30. You only need to use a small amount 1-3 tablespoons depending on what you're adding them to, 1/4-1/2 cup if you are making a chia pudding so they will last you a while.
What do I do with them?
Chia seeds are versatile. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post you can sprinkle them on porridge or your favorite muesli or granola, add them to smoothies, you can also make chia seed jam, chia puddings or use them in baking.
When mixed with liquid chia seeds become gelatinous so they can be a helpful substitute in recipes for those who can't eat eggs. See this chia seed egg replacement recipe.
If you would like to try out chia pudding give Georgia's Chia Berry Ripe a go. This recipe can be a great option for those of you who want to get away from eating packet cereal for breakfast.
(A little aside, you will find plenty of wonderful wholefood recipes and info on Georgia's site beyond the chia seed one. Take a look).
Do you use chia seeds? What do you like to use them in? If you write a blog and have a chia seed recipe you'd like to share leave a link in the comments.