Chia (Salvia rhyacophila) is a hardy annual herb 1-1.5m high, that belongs to the Salvia family, with its name coming from the Latin ‘salare’ which means to save, referring to its curative properties. Blue flower spike to 10cm long, set on terminal stems, and fill out to a seed head (that is similar in appearance to a wheat seed head) with pin-head sized, brown, shiny seeds. Plants adapt to a wide range of soils, climates and minimal rainfall.
Leaves as salad or tea.
Regarded as a survival food. Useful forage plant. Use as sprouts in salad.
Sow spring, summer. 120 days.
Also increasingly used in home cooking. Useful in salad dressings, yoghurt, dips and spreads. Does not effect the natural taste and flavours. essential fatty acids alpha-linolenic and linoleic acid, mucin, strontium, 30% protein Vitamins: A, B, E, D Minerals: calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sulphur, iron, iodine, copper, zinc, sodium, magnesium, manganese, silicon.
Chia seeds can be eaten fresh in hand. Chew well to break the shell and release the nutty flavour. The mucilaginous properties, which have a swelling action similar to guar or psyllium, act as a bulking agent and fibre source.
Chia belongs to the salvia family, with the name coming from the Latin ‘salare’ which means to save, referring to its curative properties.
Chia leaves (fresh or dried) steeped in boiling water, make a therapeutic tea.
Feed the seed heads to the hens. Research in South America, with commercial egg production, found that laying hens eagerly devoured chia when up to 30% of seed was added to their food. This also resulted in the production of eggs with a ratio of saturated to polyunsaturated fats, half that found in normal eggs, a real benefit to consumers, eggs with a heart-friendly profile!