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I know I’ve written about them before, but if you’ve never bought or used chia seeds they can seem like a pretty weird food. The first time I tried them I panicked–I was eating them daily and kept breaking out in hives! It turns out the hives were totally unrelated (hazards of gardening) but the association made me stop using them for a while.
Chia seeds are now back in the regular rotation, and I’m excited to share a little more about this ingredient.
New Food Friday: Chia Seeds
What it is: Tiny speckled seeds from an herb plant grown in South America–yes, what you used to grow your Chi-chi-chi-Chia Pet. Chia seeds contain high levels of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. They are useful as a thickening agent because they absorb liquid, and can even be used as an egg substitute in baking. Some people use their gelling power to make chia “pudding” (personally, I don’t enjoy it, but it’s an option).
What it tastes like: Not much of anything, but that’s actually one of its benefits. When dry they’re pleasantly crunchy, but use them as a garnish sparingly because of the next point: When introduced to moisture, they absorb it and expand. That means they soften and become less noticeable in things like oatmeal with plenty of liquid, but it also means you don’t want to eat a dry handful!
Where to find it: Most grocery stores seem to carry chia seeds these days, but you may find them in different departments. My local Meijer has chia seeds in the vitamin and supplement section, as well as baking supplies. Kroger stocks them in the bulk bins and its own Simple Truth brand in the healthy food area. You can also order them online.
How to store it: Like flaxseed and nuts, chia seeds can go rancid in the pantry. Once you’ve opened your package, store it in the refrigerator or freezer to keep the seeds fresh.
What I do with it:
- Add it to oatmeal.
- Stir into yogurt.
- Mix it into homemade granola bars.
- Use it as a thickening agent to make chia jam.
- Use it as a sesame seed substitute to garnish sushi bowls and bagels.
Chia seeds are great! I’ve only touched on some of their many uses, but they have their own permanent spot in my freezer door.