Chía

Ark of taste
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Chía

Chia (Salvia hispánica) is a versatile annual plant native to Central America and mountainous regions of western and central Mexico. Historically significant to cultures like the Aztecs and Mayans, its name in the Mayan language means "strength." It grows in forested and semi-warm environments, mainly in regions like Chiapas, Michoacán, Puebla, Querétaro, Zacatecas, and Jalisco, with Acatic in Jalisco being a notable production hub.
Chia seeds, approximately 2×1.5 millimetres in size, can vary in colour from gray to white or brown. The plant reaches a height of 1 to 2 meters, with purple flowers clustered at its tip. Its planting season spans from May to June, with harvesting occurring between December and March.
Culinarily, chia seeds offer versatility; they can be consumed dry, toasted, or soaked and incorporated into various dishes. The seeds do not require grinding before consumption and can be added to smoothies, salads, soups, cereals, yogurt, or used in baking. Chia seeds are also a key ingredient in traditional recipes like Panecillos con Semillas y Chía, showcasing its adaptability in modern cuisine.
Despite its historical significance, chia faces risks due to increasing demand and large-scale cultivation, potentially threatening its wild varieties. Efforts to preserve chia’s genetic diversity and cultural heritage are vital, especially in regions like Chiapas, where it naturally thrives. Cultivating and distributing chia, known for its nutritional value and low production costs, holds promise for future food security and economic sustainability.
Through sustainable practices and awareness of its cultural importance, chia can continue to contribute to gastronomy while safeguarding biodiversity and indigenous traditions.

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Territory

StateMexico
Region

Chiapas

Other info

Categories

Cereals and flours

Nominated by:Adriana M. Ortiz de Zarate Bauza