What are Chia Seeds?
Chia are the seeds from the plant Salvia hispanica, a native of Central America. They were known to be a staple crop of the Aztec and other MesoAmerican civiliations. Prior to the recent(ish) uproar in chia’s popularity, I honestly didn’t know they were edible. I thought their sole purpose was to make funny shaped terracotta figures look hairy ;D haha! (cha cha cha chia!)
What’s the benefit of adding them to kombucha?
Adding chia seeds to your kombucha is a great way to level up the health benefits and turn it into more of an energy boosting “snack.” They are a great plant-based source of ALA Omega-3 fatty acid, an essential nutrient that we don’t generate on our own. Chia seeds only provide ALA which is 1 out of the 3 necessary Omega-3s so you shouldn’t rely on chia seeds as a source, alone. They’re also rich in dietary fiber, which is particularly great for anyone looking to amp up their gut health. Fiber is important for digestion and provides food for the healthy microbes that live in our gut (prebiotics anyone?). With chia seed kombucha, not only are you replenishing your gut microbes, but you’re feeding them, too! What a tasty way to perpetuate a healthy gut.
How do you add them in?
You’ll want to add the chia seeds after the first and second fermentations have completed their cycles. It isn’t quite as easy as just tossing in the seeds and drinking right away–there’s a re-hydration period that requires a little bit of attention. Chia seeds can absorb up to 12x their weight in liquid & it starts happening as soon as liquid is introduced. During this period if you don’t constantly disturb the seeds, they will stick together into a gelatenous mat which is really hard to get apart. Even if you do get it somewhat apart, the drinking experience will be chunky and you’ll be dealing with a carbonated mess. To avoid this, all you have to do is stir or disturb the liquid while the seeds are filling up. If your adding them straight to a bottle of kombucha, pour about 2 tbsp of seeds per 16oz kombucha (a funnel makes this easier), place the cap on, rotate the bottle back and forth so the seeds don’t congregate in any one spot (avoid shaking–because carbonation). Do this every couple minutes until you’re confident they wont stick together.
Alternatively, you can pre-hydrate the seeds in a mason jar, which for me is a little easier. Take a pint jar and add 2 tbsp of chia seeds. Pour enough kombucha to just cover the seeds and swirl frequently(if you add kombucha all at once, it makes it harder to swirl). Once the seeds have absorbed a good amount of kombucha, fill the rest of the jar up, stirring to break up the seeds as you fill. Place an airtight lid on it and it’s ready to go wherever your day may take you. Before you take a sip, swirl the jar around so the seeds are well distributed throughout the kombucha.
Do chia seeds pair best with any specific flavors?
They don’t impart a lot of flavor on their own, so it’s hard to imagine them not meshing with any particular flavor of kombucha. They do kind of have a weak watermelon-y taste/smell to them but it is easily overpowered by any added flavor. I love adding them to anything fruity or tart, but feel free to experiment. If you do happen to find something that doesn’t go well with them, please let me know! CHeers & happy chia-ing!