Edibles seeds are currently the super stars of the culinary world. With its amazing health benefits and unique flavours, these tiny seeds have found a major position on the supermarket shelves as well. From the sesame and poppy seeds (khus khus) that are commonly seen our kitchens, to flax seeds, chia, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, they have clearly dominated the food scene today.
Most of the edible seeds are power houses of antioxidants, fibre, omega 3 fatty acid and vitamins. With its distinctive textures and flavours, these seeds add a special crunch and taste to dishes. Here are some of the edible seeds which have become popular.
Pumpkin and sunflower seeds
It has now been discovered that the pumpkin seeds, which were usually thrown away, are in fact, loaded with more nutrients than the fruit itself. Pumpkin seeds in packets are readily available in the super markets.
When cooking pumpkin at home, boil the seeds in salted water, drain well and roast them in a pan until they are crispy. Watermelon seeds, too, could be roasted like this. Pumpkin seeds are great sources of anti oxidants.
The sunflower seeds, from which oil is extracted, contain vitamin E in abundance. Roasted sunflower seeds are easily available in the market. The vitamin E helps to maintain healthy and supple skin, thereby slowing down wrinkling and ageing.
Chia seeds are termed as super food and find a prominent position in the diet of fitness enthusiasts. The tiny seed which originated in South America looks similar to black sesame seeds or khus khus. Chia seeds are available in black and brown colours. Nutrition experts say that chia seeds contain omega 3 fatty acids 8 times more than what is found in fatty fishes like sardines and mackerels. Similarly it has 5 times more calcium than found in milk, and 3 times more iron than in spinach.
Flax seeds or linseeds belong to the family of linaceae, and the textile made from flax is popularly known as linen. They are a store house of omega 3 fatty acids. Crushing the flax seeds a bit will make it easy to digest. It can increase the level of good cholesterol called HDL and reduce bad cholesterol called LDL. Cancer, blood pressure, and heart ailments can be effectively prevented by including flax seeds in the daily diet.
Edible seeds can be added in any food item as an ingredient or a garnish. It can be added in dosa batter or while preparing the chapathi dough. A handful of these seeds could be sprinkled on top of a bowl of fresh salad as well. One can quench the hunger pangs by snacking on roasted or sprout seeds. Pumpkin and flax seeds can prevent obesity and are excellent to maintain the health of heart. Chia seeds can be added in salads and in juice or shakes by soaking them in water. It can also be added in cakes instead of eggs, as chia seeds are an excellent binding agent.
Here are two simple recipes to prepare a healthy seed mix
Mixed seed flour
2 cups flax seeds
1/3 cup black sesame seeds
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
Add all the seeds in a blender and grind into a fine powder
This powder can be stored in fridge and added in dosa or pancake batter or chapathi dough as required.
Mixed seed snack
¼ cup flax seeds
¼ cup white sesame seeds
¼ cup pumpkin seeds
¼ cup chia seeds
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt solution and black pepper as required
In a bowl add all the seeds, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper
Mix well and keep aside for 15 minutes
Roast these in a pan without adding oil
When it cools down, store it in glass jars
Mixed seed snack can be used as a salad topping or a healthy snack.