The first time I heard about chia seeds was three years ago when visiting a friend. She was having a teaspoon of them soaked in a cup of water every morning to help with constipation. After that, I only got curious again – and at that time I also did some research – when reading the book “Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the greatest Race the World Has Ever Seen”. In the book, the author McDougall travels to Mexico to meet the Tarahumara Indians, who inhabit the Copper Canyon in Mexico. It all seems that the Tarahumara hold the secret of how to be an extraordinary runner. McDougall found that they drink something called “iskiate”, which is made from chia seeds. It turns out that chia seeds were an important food for the Aztecs and Mayans, and they considered those little seeds an essential source of energy. Chia actually means “strength” in the Mayan vocabulary.
I like to call chia seeds “magic seeds” due to their nutritional value and preparation properties. These seeds have a higher content of Omega-3 Fatty Acids. If you, like me don’t eat fatty fish, chia seeds may provide an important source of Omega-3. However, be aware to the fact that most of the of the Omega-3 found in chia are in the form of ALA (Alpha Linolenic Acid) which can’t be used by your body. Chia are also incredibly high in fiber – almost all carbohydrates in chia seeds are fiber.
Concerning preparation, those little seeds can absorb 10-12 times their weight in water, forming a kind of gel, and turning them into an amazing ingredient to prepare puddings or to add to your morning oats or smoothies for ticker consistency. Alternatively, as my recipe bellow shows, I add them when making strawberry home-made jams. The result is a creamy jam, with less or no sugar.
This is not magic?
- 500 grams of fresh strawberries
- 3 tbs lemon juice
- 1/3 cup (80 ml) of chia seeds
- 8 drops of stevia (I use a strawberry flavor drop) or 1/3 cup of sugar
- Steps are show in pictures bellow
- Wash the strawberries. Cut them in small pieces, or mash them with a potato masher. In a medium saucepan, add 100 ml of water, the strawberries, the lemon juice, and the drops of stevia or sugar. Stir over medium heat. Keep stirring till the strawberries are soft (approx. 5 min). Add the chia seeds, mix very well, and lower the heat. Stir for another 3-4 min, till you have a tick consistency. Transfer to a jar - this recipe yields 1 jar (400 ml).
- The jam gets ticker when it cools down because of the gelling property of chia seeds.
- Use any other fruit you like. I have done that recipe using frozen berries too, and the results is amazing.