Chia seeds are a popular and quite healthy pantry staple, and you can eat them in both sweet and savory dishes. But what do chia seeds taste like? And how can we cook with them?
Let's talk about the texture and flavor of chia seeds, as well as share some tasty recipes to enjoy them in!
This post is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical or dietetic advice in any way.
- What are Chia Seeds?
- How Do You Purchase Chia Seeds?
- Storage of Chia Seeds
- What Do Chia Seeds Taste Like?
- What are the Health Benefits of Chia Seeds?
- How Can We Use Chia Seeds?
- Making a Chia Egg
- Making Chia Pudding
- Making Chia Jam
- Making Chia Granola
- Making Chia Crackers
- Making Chia Fresca
- Topping Breakfast Recipes
- Frequently Asked Questions
- More Recipe Tips
- 💬 Comments
What are Chia Seeds?
Chia seeds are very small seeds from the Salvia hispanica plant, a member of the mint family. These seeds are described as 'one of the oldest forms of nutrition - a staple of Mayan and Aztec diets that became popular in the Western world' (Bon Appetit).
How Do You Purchase Chia Seeds?
It's very easy to find chia seeds in supermarkets and health foods stores, and online of course. In some countries black chia seeds are more common, whereas white chia seeds are easier to find in others.
As well as purchasing whole chia seeds, it's also possible to buy milled chia which is a fine powder. Milled chia is often used to sprinkle onto oatmeal or smoothie bowls.
Storage of Chia Seeds
It's best to store chia seeds in a sealed container such as a mason jar. There is debate as to whether it is best to store chia seeds at room temperature in a dark cool place or in the refrigerator.
What Do Chia Seeds Taste Like?
Chia seeds don't really have much flavor at all in their raw form. If there is a hint of any flavor at all, you could say they are very slightly nutty.
Milled chia can taste a little 'earthy' if used in larger quantities.
In terms of texture, chia seeds are very hard and crunchy. However, they are able to absorb liquids and so become gelatinous in texture. As we will talk about below, you can make a chia egg or chia pudding by soaking chia seeds in liquid.
What are the Health Benefits of Chia Seeds?
Chia seeds are frequently described as being a very healthy pantry staple, and a rich source of vitamins and minerals.
In their overview of the health benefits of chia seeds, BBC Good Food describes that this little seed may promote bone health due to being a good source of calcium, magnesium and phosphorous. They are also rich in polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids, protein and fiber.
How Can We Use Chia Seeds?
Chia seeds are quite versatile, and can be used in a variety of ways. We can use chia seeds as they are, or soak them in liquids for a pudding-like texture.
Making a Chia Egg
One popular way to use chia seeds is to make a chia egg. These are often used as a substitute for eggs in vegan baking. Simply combine chia seeds with water, and set aside for the chia to soak up the liquid. It will become gelatinous and sticky in texture.
Use a ratio of 1 tablespoon chia seeds to 3 tablespoon water.
Making Chia Pudding
An increasingly popular breakfast option or healthy snack, chia seeds can be soaked in milk or non-dairy milk to make a chia pudding.
Use a ratio of ¼ cup of chia seeds to 1 cup of milk or liquid.
Perhaps you would like to try an oat milk chia pudding as a simple recipe, add some fresh fruit with a peach chia pudding or some spice with a cardamom chia pudding. You can also make warm chia pudding as a different option!
Making Chia Jam
Chia jam is sometimes called the 'easy' jam as it takes just a few ingredients, and no complicated steps or equipment.
To make a chia jam you heat a fruit, often berries, until they break down, then stir in chia seeds and a sweetener. Set aside for ten minutes and this combination of ingredients will thicken into a chia jam.
Use a ratio of about 2 tablespoon of chia seeds to 2 cups of fruit.
Perhaps you would like to spread a blackberry chia jam or blueberry chia jam onto your toast or spoon onto oatmeal!
Making Chia Granola
Chia seeds can be used alongside other nuts and seeds to make chia granola as an easy breakfast option to top smoothie bowls or to enjoy with milk and fruit.
Making Chia Crackers
If store bought crackers don't work for you, or you are gluten free, chia seeds can be used to make chia and flax crackers. You simply combine with other seeds and water, and they absorb the liquid before being baked to make your own crackers.
Making Chia Fresca
Chia fresca is a Mexican drink where you combine chia seeds with water, citrus juice and sometimes a sweetener. There are many variations and recipes inspired by this traditional drink, including my apple ginger chia fresca!
Topping Breakfast Recipes
As well as soaking chia seeds to make them swell up, you can use chia seeds as they are to top smoothie bowls, blended into smoothies, sprinkled onto salads, or used to make bars or other baked goods.
Frequently Asked Questions
Chia seeds don't have much of a flavor, with just a very slight nutty taste.
Chia seeds can be eaten raw, such as when sprinkled onto salads or smoothie bowls.
Chia seeds can be soaked in liquid to make a chia egg, chia pudding or chia jam, or used as whole seeds to top smoothie bowls, salads or in baked goods.
Chia seeds can be bought as whole seeds or as milled chia.
More Recipe Tips
If you like to try new nuts and seeds do check out my posts on the taste of sesame seeds and the flavor of macadamia nuts too!
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