The other day I was talking to a good friend who is also a blog reader (Hi, Biral!). After we caught up on recent happenings, we started talking about the blog, recipes I make, and the ingredients I use. Biral mentioned that as much as she wants to try some of the recipes I post/share, she doesn’t because a lot of them include ingredients she’s not familiar with or doesn’t think to buy.
Well, her comment got me thinking. And because of it I’ve decided to start a new feature called ‘Tell me more.’ With this, I hope to share more information about some of the “weird” ingredients I use on a regular basis. However, please note that I am not a nutritionist – this information is based purely on my experience and personal research.
The first ‘Tell me more’ post is about one of my favorite ingredients – chia seeds. And no, I’m not talking about the ch-ch-ch-chia plant!
What are chia seeds?
Chia seeds are edible seeds rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, protein, antioxidants, and a number of vitamins and minerals. They can be stored for long periods of time without going bad (unlike flax seeds), and they don’t need to be ground to reap the health benefits (you can use them as is).
Chia seeds have a nutty flavor and a crunchy texture. And not to worry, they don’t change the way food tastes. Just think of them as texture enhancers!
How can chia seeds be used?
Personally, I use chia in the following ways:
- ~ ½ tablespoon sprinkled on my oatmeal or yogurt bowls
- ~ 1 tablespoon in my smoothies (add along with the rest of the ingredients and blend together)
- incorporated into baked goods (per the specific recipe), pancake/waffle batter, etc.
- as an egg substitute, also known as a ‘chia egg’ (this works, trust me!)
- chia pudding (sounds gross, tastes amazing)
Where would one find chia seeds?
Costco is my go to store for chia. If you’re not a Costco member or if your Costco doesn’t sell chia, I would visit a local health foods store (i.e., Whole Foods). If that isn’t an option, I would look online (iherb is a great resource for this kind of stuff).
Chia can also be found as a key ingredient in prepackaged bars, snacks, and drinks.
How much do chia seeds cost?
It depends. At our Costco, a 32 ounce bag costs about $16. If you’re a first time user, I would recommend buying a smaller bag/container at a place like Whole Foods, which will cost you roughly $12. And I’ve never purchased chia online, but I’m sure, like everything else, the prices vary.
Honestly, when I bought my first bag of chia, I couldn’t believe I was paying so much for what seemed like such a small amount of product. But trust me, it’s worth it. And if nothing else, think of it as a way to invest in your health, where the return far outweighs the cost.
Chia fun facts:
- Among health enthusiasts, 2013 was the year of chia.
- Chia is one of the most concentrated sources of omega-3 in any food, and it also contains high amounts of omega-6.
- Chia got its name from the Mayan word for strength.
- It’s believed that humans (primarily the Aztecs and Mayans) first began using chia seeds around 3500 B.C.
- Insects don’t like the chia plant so it’s easier to find organically grown varieties.
Are you a ch-ch-ch-chia lover? If so, how do you use it?
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I am a horrible blogger and forgot to announce the winner of my Cook Smarts giveaway. Better late than never, right?
And the winner is…drum roll please…
Congrats! Please send me your email address (firstname.lastname@example.org)!