What do you picture in your mind (or maybe on your coffee table) when you hear that? A leafy green pet? A bust of George Washington with green hair? Or are you up on the best source of Omega 3 fatty acids and a food that’s high in antioxidants and calcium? Stay tuned and I’ll give you a rundown of my experiences with chia seed.
You can Google it and find all sorts of information so I’m not going to give you a research paper. My intention is to tell you what I know about it firsthand.
I’d bought some seed years ago and had no idea how to use it. It eventually got bugs in it and I threw it away. Then I bought some more a couple of years later. It was a tiny amount I got at the organic market—tiny because it was so horribly expensive. I still didn’t know what to do with it and I don’t even know where it is. It’s been so long, even with its long shelf-life, it’s probably gone bad. Up pops Shari with the news that she bought 50 lubs of the stuff. Well, if it was that good, I’d have to try it again. I was on Amazon checking on my subscription for agave nectar when the picture of a packet of chia seed caught my eye. Compared to what I’d paid before, it seemed to be a very reasonable price so I ordered it on a subscription basis. The beauty of that is it comes with free shipping, a cheaper price, and I can opt out any time.
It wasn’t long at all until the package arrived. I emailed Shari for ideas and told her I’d read that it needed to be soaked in purified water at a 9:1 ratio. She emailed back that that sounded “whack”. She likes to mix it to a consistency of bread pudding. I might add here that she had once commented it reminded her of tapioca. That sounded good to me because I always loved “frog eggs”. She didn’t have time to send me any recipes so I was pretty much on my own for my first venture into Chia-dom.
There was some information, nutritional and otherwise, on the package.
When the package is empty, I’ll try to remember to scan it so the back can be read but it would be hard to make it legible in a picture.
The seeds themselves look like little bugs but, up close and enlarged, they resemble tiny beans.
I followed the instructions I’d read on the WWW except I used an 8:1 ratio. As I slowly added the seed, I whisked the water briskly with a fork. One thing you definitely don’t want is a clump of seed. Each seed should be surrounded by water.
After five minutes of sitting, I stirred it again. Another 10 minutes and here’s what it looked like. See the gel that has formed? That’s supposed to be good for mixing with food for diabetics because it coats the food and slows the absorption of sugars. At least that’s what I read. I can’t vouch for it since I’m not a diabetic.
I’ve tried it in my tomato/mango soup two different ways. With this batch, I added the seed directly to the already blended soup using the lowest speed so it simply stirred it in and didn’t break it up.
I also tried it with the seed mixed with purified water. I really couldn’t tell the difference between the two and adding it directly is easier. Oh! I did find out why it’s stressed that purified water should be used. Chia seed doesn’t have any taste of its own and if it picks up an “off” taste from water, that will be transferred to the food it’s mixed with.
I sprinkled some on my salad yesterday, too, and it was okay but I like it in the soup better.
There are a few people at work who aren’t afraid to try new things. I took three of them tablespoon samples. One of them still hasn’t tried it, another mixed it with a container of yogurt and pronounced it “cool” and the third sprinkled some on her salad and cottage cheese. I had her put a pinch in the liquid part of the cottage cheese and it wasn’t long until it looked like it had curds in it, too. She was fascinated.
Some of my experiments turned out better than others. Today, I decided I would use it to extend my Matt’s Dip. I love to put it on my salad but I get overly enthusiastic with it and use too much. I figured with the chia seed, I’d eat less of the dip and get more nutrition at the same time. I mixed the seed with water like I did before and blended the ingredients for the dip/dressing. It was thicker than I had thought it would be and I had meant to make it runnier so the chia seed would thicken it. I went ahead with the next step. I put about a cup of the chia mixture in with the dip and ran the blender on low until it was stirred in and lo! it made it thin and runny! I don’t know how much I put on my salad because it kept running off and sinking to the bottom. I don’t know if the lemon caused it or what but I won’t try that again. Before I put the rest away, I blended in some of the plain seed and it was thickening so maybe it wasn’t the lemon.
There are sites out there that will tell you that chia seed is the best food on the planet and while that may be true, most say there are absolutely no side effects. However, if you do a search on chia seed side effects or chia seed dangers, you will find that there are some caveats. One is that it is high in B-17. That’s good but if someone is taking B-17, they can overdose if they add too much chia. Then, large quantities of chia seed can cause a drop in blood pressure. People on anti-coagulant therapy should avoid them because they can increase the risk of bleeding. I also read that heart patients shouldn’t eat them because they can be addictive. Now, that is puzzling to me. If they are addictive, wouldn’t they be addictive for anyone and not just heart patients?
Many recipes have them mixed with fruit but I’m not so sure that’s a good combination. Fat and protein shouldn’t be mixed with fruit and chia seed has both. I’ll have to think on that and do some more reading before I put them in my smoothies. In the meantime, they make a killer cup o’ soup!