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Chia
 
Chia
Salvia hispanica
 
Chia plant
 

Chia

Salvia hispanica, commonly known as Chia, is a species of flowering plant in the mint family, Lamiaceae, that is native to central and southern Mexico and Guatemala.
It was cultivated by the Aztec in pre-Columbian times, and was so valued that it was given as an annual tribute by the people to the rulers. It is still widely used in Mexico and South America, with the seeds ground for nutritious drinks and as a food source.[2] It is also used for chia pet planters.

Growth : Chia is grown commercially for its seed, a food that is very rich in omega-3 fatty acids, since the seeds yield 25-30% extractable oil, mostly α-linolenic acid (ALA). It also is a source of antioxidants and a variety of amino acids.

Etymology : The word chia is derived from the Nahuatl word chian, meaning oily. The present Mexican state of Chiapas received its name from the Nahuatl "chia water or river."

Botany : Chia is an annual herb growing to 1 m (3.3 ft) tall, with opposite leaves 4–8 cm (1.6–3.1 in) long and 3–5 cm (1.2–2.0 in) broad. Its flowers are purple or white and are produced in numerous clusters in a spike at the end of each stem.

Seeds : Chia seeds are typically small ovals with a diameter of about 1 mm (0.039 in). They are mottle-colored with brown, gray, black and white. Chia seeds typically contain 20% protein, 34% oil, 25% dietary fiber (mostly soluble with high molecular weight), and significant levels of antioxidants (chlorogenic and caffeic acids, myricetin, quercetin, and kaempferol flavonols).
The oil from chia seeds contains a very high concentration of omega-3 fatty acid — approximately 64%. Chia seeds contain no gluten and trace levels of sodium.

Chia seed is traditionally consumed in Mexico, the southwestern United States, and South America, but is not widely known in Europe. Historically, chia seeds served as a staple food of the Nahua (Aztec) cultures of Central Mexico. Jesuit chroniclers referred to chia as the third most important crop to the Aztecs behind only maize and beans, and ahead of amaranth.
Tribute and taxes to the Aztec priesthood and nobility were often paid in chia seed.

Today, chia is grown commercially in its native Mexico, and in Bolivia, Argentina, Ecuador and Guatemala.
In 2008, Australia was the world's largest producer of chia. A similar species, golden chia, is used in the same way but not widely grown commercially. Salvia hispanica seed is marketed most often under its common name "Chia," but also under several trademarks, including "Sachia," "Anutra," "Chia Sage," "Salba," "Tresalbio," and "Mila".

In 2009, the European Union approved chia seeds as a novel food, allowing them to comprise up to 5% of a bread product's total matter.

Food preparation : Chia seed may be eaten raw as a dietary fiber and omega-3 supplement.
Ground chia seed is sometimes added to pinole, a coarse flour made from toasted maize kernels. Chia seeds soaked in water or fruit juice is also often consumed and is known in Mexico as chia fresca.
The soaked seeds are gelatinous in texture and are used in gruels, porridges and puddings. Ground chia seed is used in baked goods including breads, cakes and biscuits.

Chia sprouts are used in a similar manner as alfalfa sprouts in salads, sandwiches and other dishes. Chia sprouts are sometimes grown on porous clay figurines which has led to the popular U.S. cultural icon of the Chia Pet.

   

sesame seed
Sesame seed
 

Sesame seed

Sesame seed lore Probably the most widely-known reference is "Open sesame," the magic words used by Ali Baba to open the treasure cave in the classic tale. The Thousand and One Nights. Sesame was so well-known and common to the Arabs,
it was suggested that this phrase would quickly be forgotten because it was so common. Other interpretations suggest the phrase comes from the manner in which the sesame seed pods burst open with a pop much like the sudden pop of a lock springing open.
Sesame seed varieties This annual herb can grow as high as seven feet tall, though most plants range two to four feet. The white to lavendar-pink flowers, similar in appearance to foxglove, mature into pods containing the edible sesame seeds which burst with a pop when the small seeds are mature.

 

 Uses in food and cuisines

Magnified image of white sesame seedsSesame is grown primarily for its oil-rich seeds, which come in a variety of colors, from cream-white to charcoal-black.
In general, the paler varieties of sesame seem to be more valued in the West and Middle East, while the black varieties are prized in the Far East.
The small sesame seed is used whole in cooking for its rich nutty flavour (although such heating damages their healthful polyunsaturated fats), and also yields sesame oil.

   

camu camu
 
camu camu
Camu camu
 
Camu camu
 

Camu Camu

The Camu camu (Myrciaria dubia), also known as CamuCamu, Cacari, and Camocamo, is a small (approx. 3-5 m tall) bushy river side tree from the Amazon Rainforest vegetation in Peru and Brazil, which bears a red/purple cherry like fruit. Its small flowers have waxy white petals and sweet smelling aroma. It has bushy feathery foliage. The evergreen, opposite leaves are lanceolate to elliptic. Individual leaves are 3 - 20 cm in length and 1 - 2 cm wide.

It is a close relative of the Jaboticaba (Myrciaria cauliflora) and the Guavaberry or Rumberry (Myrciaria floribunda).

Uses
Documentation of traditional camu camu uses is scarce. It is unlikely that in traditional Amazonian societies camu camu has ever been nutritionally relevant. The fruit is extremely acidic, and the flavour can only be appreciated in recipes requiring a blender, dilution in milk/water and the addition of sugar.

The extraordinarily high Vitamin C content (in the order of 2-3% of fresh weight!),
is the most important property of the camu camu fruit, which has been exploited consistently in positioning camu camu on international markets. Vit C content declines as full maturity is reached, and there is a trade-off between Vit C and flavour expression. As a myrtaceous fruit, camu camu most likely provides other nutritional benefits (phenolics, etc.,), but these are less understood and communicated to consumers.

Camu camu has also a unique aroma and fruit pigmentation. A reddish pigment in the leathery skin (probably anthocyanins) imparts an attractive and unique pink color on juices extracted from camu camu. The aroma is subtle, but is not as captivating as in more popular fruits. Camu camu is more recently also used in ice creams, sweets, etc.

Processed powder from the fruit pulp is beginning to be sold in the west as a health food in loose powder or capsule form. In addition to the high vitamin C content it contains the amino acids valine, leucine and serine, and is also rich in flavonoids.

   

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