I wasn't introduced to chia seeds from Instagram, but the plethora of pictures of pretty puddings and overnight oats did spur me into buying a package when I saw them on sale.
When I first was introduced to chia seeds in school, I was fascinated with the way they gel up without any heat and can create puddings, jams... in hardly any time. So when I finally got my hands on some I was pumped to try it.
Quick interjection here to explain what are chia seeds and why anyone would want to eat them:
Though they don’t have much flavour, chia has a lot of nutritional benefit. It is a source of plant protein, and is gluten free and low FODMAP at 2 tablespoons. It contains iron, calcium, magnesium and zinc, along with essential omega 3 fats, and soluble fibre, assisting with lowering cholesterol and blood sugar. And unlike with other seeds, such as flax, you don’t need to grind chia to get the benefits; you can simply add it to your food and enjoy the nutritional boost (check out this great seeds comparison)! And like I've found, a package can last really long because you only use a few tablespoons at a time.
Now back to my experimentation.
First I tried adding chia seeds with some coconut milk, coconut flakes and dates, and it really got a pudding consistency (aka, it "pudded") and looked really pretty. But it still gives me bad feelings when I remember how it tasted. I'm not sure though if that was the coconut milk or the chia texture... My mom was a big fan though!
Next I tried a cranberry "jam", and that was a big hit, and so delicious! The chia seeds worked really well in that, and the jam texture was spot on.
Here's the recipe. Really simple to make, and so good on meat & chicken, and especially on a PB&J.
Cranberry Chia Jam
- 2 cups whole cranberries
- 2 Tbsp. water
- 4 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp. chia seeds
- 2-3 Tbsp. brown sugar
- 1/8 tsp. cinnamon
Place cranberries and water in a covered saucepan over medium heat.
Cook until cranberries begin to bubble and pop, about 10 minutes.
Remove from heat and mash cranberries with a fork
Stir in remaining ingredients.
Transfer to glass container with airtight lid, and allow to cool before refrigerating.
Makes about 1 cup and lasts in fridge up to one week.
Most recently I tried a pudding again (Instagram pics got me!). This time I combined pureed strawberries and almond milk + vanilla sugar. Though significantly tastier than my first try, I still wasn't a fan (neither was Mom this time; she doesn't like almond milk). So I combined it with oats to make overnight oats, and that was terrific (Mom was also a big fan).
For now, I'm adding chia seeds to my overnight oats and I'll definitely make more fruit jams with it because it's super cool that you can get a jam texture without adding pectin or sugar. As for making a pudding? I'll probably be convinced to try it again. Maybe a chocolate chia pudding would be good...