Right out of the gate I will warn you: I’m a chia novice, but playing with this stuff makes for some serious, “test kitchen” fun.

I do wish I had some pictures for this post. However, hydrated chia looks more than a bit sketchy (mucilaginous is how some other sites describe it – Ew!), so until I have this recipe perfected, I’ll hold off on the photo shoot. It’s just that I can’t wait that long to at least share the basics.

To start off, I added 1/3 cup of chia seed to 2 cups of water. This is just a proportion I stole from a random website; I’m pretty sure you could use just about any proportions you need to get a “gel” consistency that you like. It seems like a 1:3 ratio of seed to water is about the minimum, but, hey, have fun trying out different things!

I stirred the chia in the water pretty continuously for several minutes, playing with it, watching the gel begin to form. What my [15-minute, Google-based] research told me was that I could use this gel after about 10 minutes or put any remaining gel in the fridge in a sealed container for a long time. Suffice it to say, they suggested times far longer than I would be willing to attempt at this stage of the game.

My original idea was to do a “pudding” of some sort and as I began hunting around the kitchen for likely victims ingredients, I found my bottle of Barlean’s Total Omega Vegan Swirl. It’s fruity (blueberry and pomegranate) and a vegan source of Omega 3-6-9… And it cost a small fortune so it behooves me to use it up prior to its “Best By” date.

Mind you, this was just a test run, so I mixed 1T of Barlean’s with 4T of the chia gel because it seemed about right. The mixture is very runny and I suspect (after more reading) that I probably could have just put the chia seed straight into the Barlean’s. But that’s not how I roll. Er… Actually, I just didn’t think of it until after I’d started hydrating the seed in water.

Since it wasn’t yet a consistency I could convince my 2-year-old to try, I scanned around the kitchen again and my gaze fell on… Bananas! They mush up nicely, right? Yup, that’ll do.

So I mashed a banana, mixed in the chia-Barlean’s mixture and gave some to the munchkin. He “mmmmm’d” through the first couple bites then decided “not so much” and just played with it instead. I suspect texture was a culprit here because I wasn’t so keen on it (though I did try a bite, too). What to do, what to do?

A-ha – FREEZE IT!

This step, I approached with some trepidation. I don’t actually have a proper source saying, absolutely yes, you may freeze this without unintended side effects.* So I gave it a shot. I know, it doesn’t sound like me – too risky, right?

Well, after about 20 minutes or so, the edges had frozen into a nice, almost fro-yo texture. The chill on the gel made it less slimy, which was also nice. I put it back in the freezer for a while longer, more of it began to freeze over and I liked it even better.

Some observations:

—  It thaws rather quickly when it’s not fully frozen
—  As it thaws, it get slimy
—  Slimy is not a texture I prefer
—  The next batch will be frozen MUCH longer
—  I think I may skip the water in a future batch and just hydrate with the Barlean’s to increase the thickness
—  Whatever the hydrating medium, I will soak the seeds longer before freezing to get most of the “crunchy” of the seeds out
—  I will also try adding soaked, ground almonds in a future batch, just because that sounds good to me

There you have it. I’ll revisit the infamous chia forthwith once, betwixt the twain of us, we have had many more adventures!

*In the several hours that it’s taken me to write this post amidst bedtime for my boys and TV show clips my husband had DVR’d that he just HAD to show me so he can get them “cleaned off”, I had the lovely raw chef Victoria Moon, proprietor of Permission to Heal, verify for me that, yes, “chia is sturdy” and can be frozen. Yay!! Thank you.

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