July 22, 2011 1:10 PM
With a metallic dark color and mottled skin, Chia seeds are delightfully crunchy. Once you rehydrate them in water, as the popular Lime based Agua Fresca, they become covered in an irresistible gelatinous layer. No wonder the word chia comes from the náhuatl name chian, which means oily.
Scientifically, Salvia Hispanica, they come from a flowering plant from the mint family. Some new wave health oriented groups, call it "the Miracle seed". They are indeed miraculous for good digestion and some say weight loss.
In Mexico they have been used for centuries. In Aztec times, aside from eating, they were one of the main means of exchange and also used for religious rituals (continue for more information and photos).
Take a peek, they are quite lovely.
They are also a great source of protein and fiber. When ground, Chia can be used to make baked goods like breads, cakes and cookies. You can also eat the sprouts, as they are very similar to alfalfa sprouts, and are delicious in salads.
I know what you may say, as many American friends have told me when I hand a glass of Limonada with Chia seeds... are these the same as the Chia Pets?
Well, yes they are, you can have them as pets too!