Chances are that you’ve seen chia seeds in a breakfast bowl at some point in your life. These tiny black seeds are small in size but add plenty of flavour and pack a punch when it comes to nutrients. Chia seeds are extracted from a desert plant known as Salvia hispanica and are a close relative to mint. Look out for both black and white varieties but be sure to stay away from the unripe brown ones. When it comes to taste, expect a slight, neutral flavour which can be easily added to a variety of dishes. Chia seeds have a rich history and are at the top of shopping lists the world over. Let’s find out why.
Humans have been eating chia seeds for a long time. In fact, historians believe that they may have been grown by the Aztecs and Mayans as far back as the 16th century. The importance of chia seeds to ancient civilisations is thought to have been great, with the crop being used a means of tribute to high ranking rulers. In some cases, chia seeds were even used as an offering to pay priests and similarly respected groups of elders. Today, commercial growing remains strong in parts of central America such as Mexico, Guatemala and Bolivia. This has also spread to include Australia and the southwestern United States.