What is Chia?
Chia (Salvia hispanica) is a member of the mint family and grows yp to 1.75metres tall with numerous clusters of purple or white flowers.
Native to central and south America, the growth of Chia is dictated by the climate. Although it is readily available and consumed within the UK, any previous commercial production has been limited to tropical and subtropical latitudes.
We first introduced Chia into our crop trials in 2014 and last year managed to grow Chia in the UK for the first time ever on a commercial scale. This proved that despite previous beliefs of climate hinderence, we have managed to grow the first ever UK Chia.
The harvested seeds are small ovals, no bigger than 1mm in diameter.
Uses of Chia?
Chia is grown commerically for its seed, which is rich in omega 3 ALA (yielding 25-30% extractable oil), dietary fibre and protein, making it nutrient rich and popular in the health food sector.
The seeds are able to observe up to 16 times their weight in water, as such making it a versatile ingredient. They can be added to other foods or put into smoothies, cereals, bars, and bread to name just a few.
Due to their absorption qualities, chia gel can also be used as an egg substitute or binding agent, and its therefore popular within vegan recipes.
The use of Chia in the UK is restricted to 10% when being used within a product by the EU Novel Food approval, which was passed in 2009.
- Reduce food craving
- Lowers Cholesterol
- Weight loss
- Lowers Blood Pressure