Homemade Chia Gel

Want a smooth, thick, nutritious food to boost your nutrient intake for pennies? Try homemade chia gel! That’s right, the “Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia” seeds are good Omega-3 fatty acid and nutrition-packed foods!

You can grind chia seeds into flour, add the tiny seeds whole and raw into foods for crunch and fiber, but my favorite way to use chia seeds is to add them to water, shake and let them transform into a thick, silky-smooth gel where the seeds are soft and plump, having released their gelling-actions and created a pudding-like gel.

I use chia gel to smoothly thicken my Homemade Almond Milk, add moisture and bulk in meatloaf, salmon burgers, salad dressings, breads, jams, instead of eggs in baking, making chia puddings and all other sorts of fabulous uses.

The chia plant (Salvia hispanica) seeds can be eaten raw and also processed in a variety of ways. Chia seeds are high in dietary fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential to good health.

When I added the chia gel to my almond milk experiments, I discovered I could use less almonds and still get the lovely, rich texture of almond milk, but with the added nutrition of chia seed gel, it is a “win win” not sacrificing nutrition, taste or texture or frugality.

There are many, many, many variations on how much chia to how much water to use, and in the end it comes down to your preference for thickness and what you’ll do with it. This video show the amazing gelling properties in only 4 minutes, with gentle stirring (no cooking).

A popular, pudding-like consistency is:

1/3 cup chia seeds to 2 cups of water,

stir until thickened, use or let rest to thicken more.

 

You can increase / decrease ratios to make yours thicker or thinner to fit your needs and preferences.

 

Again, for our purposes, I try to get as much “bang for the buck” and I use what I need to make a thick gel, one that will serve my uses, while saving money, so I may vary the amounts depending on where I am going to use it. This is what I do most often, especially for my Luscious Homemade Almond Milk:

 

Chia Gel for Thickening Almond Milk

5 tablespoons of organic chia seeds (whole)

1 quart of pure water

Place seeds in quart jar, add water, cover and SHAKE the jar vigorously for 5 minutes. Do not cheat and try using blender, the blades may break up the seeds and that is not the desired effect. I want them to swell, soften and release their mucilaginous properties into a thick, smooth gel without any grit.

After 5 minutes of shaking, let the chia water mixture rest for 10-15 minutes, then shake again, vigorously, for 5 minutes. Again let rest 10-15 minutes. At this point, check the chia gel to see if it’s thick enough.

You can, as the video above demonstrated, simply place your chia and water in a bowl, or cup, add liquid and stir. This works as well.

You can use your chia gel right away if it is the desired consistency for your use (egg replacer, smoothies, puddings, breads etc.) and the chia will absorb 9 times it’s own weight in liquid.

I let my gelled chia chill overnight and it is the perfect texture for me in the morning. I like to let mine rest overnight after gelling because I keep the seeds whole and they become more plump and tender and pleasant in beverages such as Homemade Almond Milk (think Bubble Tea).

Store chia gel in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

About Vickilynn Parnes

A student of health and nutrition for 40+ years, Vickilynn Parnes has over 30 years of actual hands-on experience reviewing and personally using different tools of the homemaking vocation, focusing on the areas of health and nutrition. Vickilynn is a magazine columnist, product reviewer, cookbook author and radio talk show host, as well as being full-time mom to 5 children.