Monday, February 20, 2012

Strawberry Chia Jelly

Chia seeds are a healthy and nutritious little seed that, for some reason, American have turned in to a rather ridiculous toy.

The chia seed was once used by Aztec Warriors and was even valued as a currency. Oh how the mighty have fallen!

"In ancient times, seeds of the chia plant were a staple food of the Incas, Aztecs, and Mayans. These seeds were eaten by Aztec messengers who carried them in a small pouch as they ran great distances between villages.

This seed was so valuable to the Aztecs that they used it as a medium of exchange. The Aztec priests and nobility were often paid in chia seed.

According to Jesuit priests, chia was the third most important Aztec food crop after maize (corn) and beans. Chia bread was used in some of their religious ceremonies.

When the Aztec civilization fell during the Spanish conquest, the Spanish banned chia and certain other native crops due to their use in religious ceremonies, and replaced them with crops such as wheat and carrots." (More)

And now Americans use chia seeds to make weird toys that most often end up as gag gifts at office Christmas parties. :: facepalm ::

You can help return chia to its former glory as a wonder food and give yourself a tasty treat at the same time by making a batch of fresh chia jelly.

Strawberry Chia Jelly
12 large frozen strawberries or the equivalent in other frozen berries
3 tablespoons chia seeds
Splash of lime or lemon juice
Sweetener to taste (2 packets of splenda +1 packet of equal or Truvia equivalent)

Place in a bowl and allow frozen strawberries to partially thaw. Slice strawberries and add sweetener. Add chia seeds and stir. Allow strawberries to completely thaw. The chia seeds will absorb the strawberry juice and turn into a gel. After a few hours, add more seeds if the topping appears to be a bit runny. If it looks too thick, add a few more strawberries.

*NOTE: While the chia seeds will form a gel around the outside, the seeds in the middle will retain their crunch. This has never bothered me since the seed centers are small and it feels like you are simply eating a strawberry seed. If this sounds like something that might annoy you, use a spice grinder to turn the chia seeds in to more of a flour.

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