Is Sprouting Chia Seed Worth It?
I recently added Chia Seed to my food storage. It is wonderfully good for you and easy to store. I’ve been drinking chia fresco and making chia gel to put in recipes. I also learned how to sprout chia seeds. There is a bit of a learning curve to it because it is not sprouted with the usual jar method.
Chia seeds turn gelatinous when water is added to them. They quickly absorb water and turn into a gooey mess. Just so you know – the wrong way to sprout chia seed is in a jar with a strainer lid.
When I was looking online for directions, there was at least one website that suggested the jar method and I just had to try it. The chia won’t drain properly, it dries out or turns to gel and I just ended up with a chia gel mess.
Instead, I purchased a couple of terra cotta trays for $1.29 at the local nursery and ran them through the dishwasher. This worked perfectly since terra cotta holds water.
The Chia Seed Challenge – How to store chia seeds
Growing and Using Chia Sprouts – The Sprinkle Method
Sprouting time is 4 to 7 days. This will depend on the heat in the room you are doing the sprouting. When the sprouts are ¼ inch long, move them into direct sunlight. This will green them up. It is not necessary to soak the seed before you begin.
You will need:
- The seed (of course) 1 Tablespoon of seeds = 2 cups of sprouts
- A recycled clamshell container or glass baking dish with a lid (to create a greenhouse and retain the moisture)
- Shallow terra cotta dish to fit inside your chosen “greenhouse”
- Spray bottle with filtered water
Soak the terra cotta dish for a few minutes to moisten it. Sprinkle chia seed into a cleaned terra cotta dish.
Once you have tried this a few times you will know how thickly to spread the seed.
Add ¼ inch of filtered water to the bottom so the terra cotta will continue to absorb water.
Place the terra cotta dish into your choice of “greenhouse”. I’m using a glass baking dish that has a glass lid.
Lightly spritz the seed to moisten it thoroughly. There should be no standing water in the terra cotta dish or your seeds will turn to gel.
Close the clamshell or cover the baking dish greenhouse to trap in the moisture. This will keep you from spritzing every day. I did not have to add any additional water or spritz the seeds after this initial watering.
Place it in a dark area of the kitchen counter.
After 4 to 7 days the sprouts will reach the size you want. You can eat them as they are or bring them into a sunny area of the kitchen so they can green up.
There is another method to sprout using a glass baking dish without the terra cotta plate. I tried this method too, and while it did work, it does require more attention. You must spritz the seeds several times a day to make sure they are moist. Here’s a link to the video I watched, in case you’re interested.
Eat Your Healthy Chia Sprouts
In their article, Why Everyone Should Try Sprouting Chia Seeds, Mind Body Green reminds us “once sprouted, you also get the added benefit of chlorophyll (the source of the “green” of the leaf).
Chlorophyll is a powerful blood cleanser and blood builder. It replenishes and increases our red blood cell count and increases the ability of red blood cells to carry oxygen and deliver us increased levels of oxygen.”
Chia sprouts have a tangy taste and add variety and spice to salads, soups, spreads, dips, sandwiches and appetizers. They are best used raw or added to soups just before serving.
Crunchy Chia Stuffed Avocado Recipe –adapted from Sprouting For All Seasons – How And What To Sproutby Bertha B. Larimore
3/4 cup chia sprouts¼ cup thinly sliced celery1 6 oz can of tuna fish4 tablespoons mayonnaise2 tablespoons sliced green onion3 tablespoons lemon juicepaprika2 avocados
Wash and cut the avocados in half lengthwise. Hollow out slightly to make a bigger cavity for the filling and reserve the avocado. Using 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice, sprinkle each of the halves.
Combine the remaining ingredients and the reserved avocado in a medium size bowl. Heap the mixture into mounds and place in the avocado shell. Sprinkle with paprika. Makes 4 servings.
Sprouted Chia Seeds’ Amazing Health Benefits
Chia seeds are an excellent source of high-quality protein but they are also jam-packed with calcium. Sprouted chai seeds contain five times more calcium than cow’s milk. In other words, three tablespoons of chia seeds is the nutritional equivalent of one glass of fresh milk when it comes to calcium content.
Sprouted chia seeds are also an excellent source of fiber and chlorophyll. That’s why they should be vegans’ and vegetarians’ superfood of choice if they want to keep their protein, calcium, iron, and fiber levels in check.
Chia seeds are also a rich source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. A single ounce of chia seeds is the equivalent of 28 grams of omega-3 fatty acids. While the recommended daily allowance is not set in stone, most researchers recommend a healthy dose of 250–500 mg of combined EPA and DHA per day.
The Western diet is severely deficient in super healthy omega-3 fatty acids since dairy cows are very rarely allowed to roam free on pastures and get the much-needed omega-3s from grass. And the same goes for chickens raised on grains. This means that industrially produced dairy products and eggs are depleted of this key element for human health.
As a side note, omega 3 fatty acids are required by our bodies to maintain a healthy cardiovascular system, to normalize cholesterol and insulin levels, to improve memory, and stave off anxiety and depression. Countless studies have shown a direct link between omega-3 supplementation and a lower risk of postpartum depression. Omega 3 fatty acids are a boon for pets’ health as well.
Sprout People’s link for growing chia microgreens. Microgreens are allowed to grow a bit longer, until the have true leaves. They are grown in a soil-less medium and you do not eat the roots like you do with sprouts.
The Happy Kitchen has sprouting directions and a recipe for chia cucumber cups. It looks yummy!
Is it worth waiting 4 to 6 days to grow chia sprouts?
Maybe. Once I figured it out how it sure was easy. Sprouting is certainly a fantastic and different way to bring the goodness of chia seed into our daily diet, and the taste reminded me of broccoli sprouts. I think that knowing how to sprout chia is a valuable skill that I may need in the future. If we are ever in a situation where we have no fresh vegetables, sprouting will come in handy.
For now I will continue making chia gel and learning about other ways to use chia seed.
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