Chia seeds, or Salvia Hispanica, are a member of the sage family. They are tiny black and white seeds that sprout into green stalks with tiny, purple flowers similar to laurel. Native to Mexico and South America, they were a staple source of nutrition for the Aztecs, Mayans and other native tribes.

Today, the chia seed has been rediscovered and dubbed a “super food” by nutritionists. It’s been promoted as having high levels of protein, calcium and fatty acids; and is a popular substitute for grains in gluten and wheat-free diets. Soaking and using chia seeds is a relatively simple process, requiring only patience and willingness to try new things.

Things You'll Need

Sprinkle your chia seeds on salads, add them to pasta or toss them in any baking recipe you like. Use them in bottled beverages, letting them sit for a few minutes; the vitamins from the seeds will release into the beverage.

Choose your favorite juice, or use water, to soak your chia seeds for chia gel. Sugar free, all-natural juices are best, although the chia seeds will soak up anything. Pour two cups of juice or water into a plastic container and add a third of a cup of chia seeds.

Wait about 10 minutes before you stir the seeds and liquid. The seeds will turn into a gel the consistency of pudding or yogurt because they absorb liquid the way rice does. The gel formation shows that the chia seeds have released a lot of their internal enzymes; you can either eat the gel after 10 minutes or let it soak longer to release more enzymes.

Add fruit to your chia gel. Cut up bananas, apples or pears; or toss in blueberries or raspberries. Stir carefully to avoid bruising the fruit and eat the chia gel with a spoon. You could also add loose granola or spoon the gel into the middle of a cantaloupe half.