when citrus meets summer

Hazard a guess as to how many limes it takes to make a single liquid cup of juice? Twenty four. Good thing then that I happened to have on hand a five-pound bag of Persian limes that I didn’t know what to do with. (As someone recently said while noticing the strategically placed Costco satchel in my kitchen: Wow, that’s a lot of limes.) I say good thing because a friend who’s obsessed with all things Food Network just passed on to me the most curious of recipes:  Chia Limeade.  That’s right, chia as in Chia Pet or chia seeds, a nutritional supplement I happen to have gone bonkers for over the course of the past year. Take note: it’s not just for sprouting green fur on the clay cast figurines of poodles and frogs anymore. Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, the seeds are native to Mexico – Chiapas is named for the seed – and were once used as a form of tribute among the Aztecs due to their high nutritional content. Modern research shows the humble seed also aids the body in slowing down the metabolism of carbohydrates – meaning a spoonful of chia goes a long way in leveling blood sugar spikes as well as hunger pangs. What I never imagined was that it could also make a refreshing summer beverage. Limeade by definition is a proportionate mix of sweet and sour and the addition of chia – which forms a protective gelatinous coating around itself when exposed to water – adds a nice texture of slippery crunch. Bottled it looks curiously like a science experiment. Yet served up over ice in a tall glass muddled with mint leaves, it’s a healthy, tasty addition to the summer repertoire – well worth the effort of juicing your way through two dozen uncooperative limes.

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