On September 11th at 5pm PST, I will be participating in a Google + Hangout for Chia Seed with Bob’s Red Mill. I hope you will join us! Enter to win two bags of Bob’s Red Mill Chia Seed and be sure to try this delicious low carb Raspberry Chia Seed Jam.
If you follow foodie trends, chances are high you’ve heard of chia seeds. If you follow health trends, chances are high you’ve heard of chia seeds. And if you follow running trends, chances are high you’ve heard of chia seeds. You would essentially have to pay no attention to trends, eat only junk food and never get off your couch to not have heard of chia by now. And even if that were the case, you probably have still heard of chia, because it was made famous by the commercials for ch-ch-chia pets. Remember those? Ah yes. Now that we’re all on the same page, let’s discuss those funny little black seeds and why they are so trendy in food, health and fitness.
Chia seed has been on the radar of many a healthy foodie for a while now, but I daresay that it gained some serious fame with the book Born To Run. I am quite certain that the sale of chia seeds saw a significant spike after it was published, as runners of all abilities stocked up, hoping for a competitive advantage from the unassuming black seed. In the book, chia is described as having nearly magical properties, giving seemingly inhuman strength and energy to the ultra-runners of the Tarahumara. Indeed, chia may be the original “Super Food”. Although it seems new to many of us, Mesoamerican peoples have been consuming it for thousands of years, both as food and as medicine. And according to many sources, Aztec warriors fueled themselves exclusively on chia and water before battle.
With a pedigree like that, it’s little wonder chia is the new darling of the health and fitness community. Although I can’t say if it is as powerful as some people claim, I don’t doubt it’s an incredibly health addition to anyone’s diet. It’s packed with anti-oxidants, Omega-3’s and other nutrients, and it’s high in fiber and low in carbohydrate. All of that was enough to inspire my Grain-Free Hot Cereal, which has actually fueled me through some grueling long runs.
And it’s absolutely hilarious, the way it gums up with the addition of water. That fact alone is enough to make me want to cook with chia. This particular quality makes it very useful in a number of recipes that require a jelly-like consistency, such as pudding. It also makes a great replacement for eggs in vegan recipes. But when I started to see chia seed jam on the foodie blogosphere, I stopped dead in my tracks. It’s absolutely the perfect way to gel up fresh jam, and it’s certainly a lot easier and faster than traditional jam. Of course, it won’t preserve like traditional jam that’s been cooked and canned, but it’s so easy to whip up, you can do small batches to keep in the fridge. I had to give it a try, sugar-free of course, and I mixed mine with raspberries. I figured raspberries have so many seeds anyway, the addition of a few tablespoons of chia seed would go practically unnoticed. It was delicious!