Commonly touted as a ‘superfood’, chia seed may in fact live up to the title. When placed in water, the seeds form a gel that food technologists say could be used in new product development.
In a paper published in the Journal of Food Science, researchers Ranil Coorey, Audrey Tjoe and Vijay Jayasena say that chia gel can be easily extracted and shows great potential in food product development as a thickener and emulsifier, as well as a stabiliser in frozen foods.
The researchers found that chia gel has good water-binding and oil-holding capacity, as well as a viscosity, emulsion activity and freeze-thaw ability that is comparable to guar gum and gelatine, two food ingredients commonly used in baked goods and sauces.
The article, ‘Gelling Properties of Chia Seed and Flour’, is available here.
The Journal of Food Science is published by the Institute of Food Technologists.