Understanding everything about Edible Seeds
Edible seeds are found in most Indian household kitchens. Be it chia seeds or sunflower seeds, edible seeds are a powerhouse of essential vitamins, minerals, and proteins. The seeds extracted from flowers, fruits, and vegetables are easily digestible and are also a healthy alternative to dry fruits and nuts. They are immensely versatile and can be consumed in various forms. Whether you toss them in salads or fold them into the brownie batter, seeds can increase the nutritional value of any dish to a considerable extent. They can be consumed either sun-dried and eaten as a snack or in its powder form.
Healthy seeds are small but mighty kernels that are loaded with vitamins and minerals that help the body function at its best. They are loaded with nutrients and are an excellent source of protein and healthy fats which in turn provide several benefits to the body.
Table of Contents
Types of seeds, their benefits & shelf-life
Let us take a sneak peek at some of the different types of healthy seeds to eat, their benefits, and how long they can be stored.
Chia seeds are tiny and crunchy seeds packed with the goodness of calcium, protein, omega-3s, and antioxidants that have tremendous benefits to health. Chia seeds have very rich fiber content that serves as an excellent agent for digestion and helps prevent bowel-related ailments like constipation. Consumption of these seeds also helps keep the stomach full for long periods, therefore, aiding in appetite control.
Chia seeds are one of the highest sources of plant-based omega fatty acids, also known as Alpha-Linolenic Acid (AHA) that are vital for the effective functioning of the nervous system in the body. These seeds consist of antioxidants that help the body fight against inflammation, premature- aging, and other age-related cognitive declines.
Shelf life: They can be stored for ~2 years or more at room temperature and sometimes even up to 4 years if refrigerated.
Flax seeds are brown in color, shiny, nutty, with an earthy aroma and a hard crunchy covering and a host of multiple health benefiting properties. These are high in omega-3 fatty acids and can help the cardiovascular system by producing anti-inflammatory actions and normalizing the heartbeat. These fatty acids can also help reduce blood pressure and bad cholesterol levels in the body.
Flax seeds help prevent the hardening of the arteries, partly by keeping white blood cells from sticking to the inner linings of the blood vessels. The presence of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and lignans in flax seeds help reduce inflammation by blocking the release of certain pro-inflammatory agents in the body that causes certain illnesses like Parkinson’s disease and Asthma. Flax seeds consist of some of the most essential nutrients like fiber, protein, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, lignan, and Omega-3 that help fight the high estrogen levels while maintaining the balance in the hormonal levels.
Shelf life: They can be stored for 6-12 months at room temperature or up to 1 year if refrigerated.
Pumpkin seeds have a sweet and nutty flavor and can be eaten both raw or toasted. They are very high in protein and fiber which makes them a healthy snack. These seeds are rich in natural oil and zinc that works as a mild aphrodisiac. Zinc also influences the renewal of cells, repairs damage, and promotes healthy hair. Pumpkin seeds are also one of the top sources of phosphorus which boosts your metabolism and energy. They have rich magnesium content which is important for a wide range of physiological functions, pumping of the heart, relaxation of blood vessels, and seamless bowel movements.
Shelf life: They can be stored for 6-9 months at room temperature or up to 1 year if refrigerated.
Sunflower seeds are nutty, small, brown, and creamy-flavored seeds that are increasingly gaining popularity as a snack. They are filling and nutritious at the same time. These seeds are rich in Vitamin E, consisting of anti-inflammatory properties that help yield cardiovascular benefits. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant that helps in neutralizing free radicals, thereby preventing oxidation of cells and aging. Vitamin E also helps in reducing the risk of developing atherosclerosis, osteoarthritis, and some cancers.
Sunflower seeds provide phytosterols, found in plants, which help reduce cholesterol and improve immunity when consumed in adequate quantities. Sunflower seeds are also rich in copper which helps make the bones stronger. They also consist of dietary fiber which helps in digestion and provides relief to constipation.
Shelf life: They can be stored for 6-9 months at room temperature or up to 1 year if refrigerated.
Quinoa is a whole-grain carbohydrate, and also a whole protein as it contains essential amino acids. Mostly found in red and white grains, quinoa is cooked the same way as rice and it is loaded with several health benefits. It’s naturally gluten-free and its rich nutrient content makes it a great option for people on a gluten-free diet.
Quinoa has rich protein content given that it contains all kinds of essential amino acids. This protein in quinoa can help control unwanted, sudden hunger pangs and also boost metabolism. Quinoa is high in lysine which plays a major part in tissue growth and repair. Quinoa is loaded with healthy fats that help boost the HDL (good cholesterol) levels in the body. It is packed with oleic acid, mono-saturated fatty acid & alpha-linolenic acid, a combination that can help reduce the LDL (bad cholesterol) levels in the blood and fight inflammation as well as prevent the hardening of arteries. The presence of natural fiber, vitamin-E, and antioxidants in quinoa helps prevent heart issues and lowers the risk of stroke and blood pressure spikes.
Shelf life: Unopened packs can be stored for 3-4 years. Opened packs if kept in the refrigerator can be stored for 2-3 years.
The basil plant is native to India. It is also known as Sweet Basil, but it is different from the Holy Basil or Tulsi, which is common in every Indian household. The herbs of the basil plant are considered to be very healthy and so are the seeds. These black, tear-shaped basil seeds consist of zero calories.
Basil seeds are loaded with alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and Omega-3 fatty acids which help in boosting the fat burning process in the body. It is also full of fiber which helps keep the stomach full for longer and prevents unwanted cravings. Basil seeds are also known to lower body heat, which is why it is often added to refreshing drinks like sorbets. They are also considered good for type 2 diabetes as it helps keep the blood sugar levels in check. Consumption of these seeds naturally detox the body and regulate smooth bowel movements. Basil seeds also provide relief to the body and help neutralize the acidic effect produced by Hydrochloric Acid that may be harmful to the eyes, skin and may cause respiratory tract inflammation and irritation.
Shelf-life: These can be stored up to 3-5 years if kept in a dry place.
How to store seeds the right way
Seeds can get spoiled if not stored properly. Therefore to prevent seeds from rotting, it is important to follow a few basic ways of storing them under the right conditions for long-term use.
Purchase whole and raw seeds
Whole, raw seeds can usually be stored fresh for a longer time. Chopped seeds or toasted seeds may tend to release oils which when exposed to more oxygen can make them go rancid more quickly.
Store in air-tight containers
Storing seeds in air-tight containers can keep them fresh for a longer time. This is one of the most effective hacks for seed storage. This is because, in airtight containers, it is difficult for the air to seep in and therefore the seeds are not exposed to air. Edible seeds are prone to absorb odors from its surrounding. Hence, storing them in air-tight containers like pouches or jars can prevent outside odors from getting in.
We all know that storing seeds in air-tight containers can keep them fresh for a long time. However, keeping these air-tight containers in the refrigerator will keep the seeds fresh for much longer. If you have been keeping them on the kitchen shelves near the stove, it would be wise to keep them in the fridge, away from the fluctuating kitchen temperatures.
Store in glass containers
It is always better to store the seeds in glass jars, instead of plastic and steel ones. This is because seeds have a higher chance of getting exposed to air in plastic containers when compared to glass ones. But storing them in air-tight pouches also works well.
Buy fresh seeds
Always try to purchase seeds that are fresh. Check for the manufacturing date on the package before buying. Also, avoid buying in bulk and only try to pick the required quantity.
Quick ways of adding seeds in your diet
Seeds are extremely versatile and can be incorporated easily into a variety of different recipes or in your diet.
- Sprinkle them on salads, soup, cooked vegetables, and lentils or dal.
- Add them to pancakes and scrambled eggs.
- Add them to your porridge and smoothies.
- Bake them with bread.
- Grind and add them in sauce preparations.
- Sprinkle the seeds on poached eggs or pancakes.
- Add it to yogurt.
- Sprinkle some on fruit salads as dressing.
- Add the seeds to refreshing drinks like lime water, milkshakes.
- Soak basil seeds in water, add them to milk, and drink it for breakfast or before bedtime.
- Soak these seeds in water and drink it early in the morning.
- Sprinkle chia seeds atop salads as a dressing.
- Add them in dips and accompaniments.
- Use them in making bread, muffins or granola bars.
- Mix it with water and drink on an empty stomach every morning.
- Add them in cereals or trail mixes.
- Chia seeds can be used as a substitute for eggs in vegan baking.
- Consume the seeds in their raw form.
- Prefer having flax seeds in its ground or milled form.
- Opt for flax seed oil to replace other oils in cooking.
- Add ground flax seeds in cereals, smoothies, or yogurt.
- Combine it with oatmeals, casseroles, or baked foods.
- Add a tablespoon of flax seeds to chapatis, parathas, pooris, bread, desserts, drinks, soups, or salads.
- Blend it in your smoothies.
- Whip some of it in your desserts.
- Sprinkle it on your salads.
- Add it to your soups.
Unique recipes with different seeds
Pesto sauce with pumpkin seeds
- 2 cups of green pumpkin seeds
- 6 tbsp olive oil (preferably extra-virgin)
- ¼ cup of water
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice (or as per taste)
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 cup fresh cilantro (chopped)
- ¼ tsp salt
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- In a bowl, toss the pumpkin seeds with 2 tbsp of olive oil and salt. On a large baking sheet, spread out the seeds in a single layer.
- Roast for 10-15 minutes till the seeds are puffed and fragrant. Keep it aside to cool.
- In a food processor, combine the seeds with water, lemon juice, garlic, cilantro, and 4 tbsp of oil. Blend thoroughly until the mixture forms a coarse paste.
- Season the mixture with salt and pepper.
- Cover and chill until ready to use.
- Use it while preparing pasta or spaghetti.
Chocolate chia pudding
- 2 cups of milk
- ½ cup of natural Chia Seeds
- ¼ cup of peanut butter or almond butter
- ¼ cup of cocoa powder (preferably unsweetened)
- 6 dates
- 2-3 tbsp of pure Honey (optional)
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- In a bowl, whisk together the milk and chia seeds.
- Add peanut butter, cocoa powder, dates, and vanilla extract and combine thoroughly. Add honey for a sweeter pudding.
- Refrigerate for 4 hours or until chill and cold.
- Transfer the mixture to the blender and blend for 2 minutes or until pudding is extremely smooth and creamy.
- Serve in small bowls or big bowls and relish it!
Raita with flax seeds
- 3 tbsp flax seeds (ground)
- 1 cup of curd (preferably low fat)
- 1 cup of bottle gourd (grated)
- ½ cup of mint leaves (finely chopped)
- 1 ½ tsp cumin seeds (coarsely ground and roasted)
- 1 cup of water
- Salt to taste
- In a bowl, mix the bottle guard with water. Cover and cook on a medium flame for 2-3 minutes.
- In another bowl, add all the ingredients along with the cooked bottle gourd and mix well.
- Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- Serve chilled with chapati or have it after lunch.
Quinoa with mushroom and garlic
- 1 cup of quinoa
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 4 cups of mushrooms (sliced finely)
- 5 cloves of garlic (finely minced)
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- Salt to taste
- Ground black pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons grated cheese (preferably parmesan) (optional)
- In a large saucepan, add 2 cups of water and quinoa and cook it as per package instructions. Keep it aside.
- In a pan, heat olive oil on medium heat. Add mushrooms, garlic, and thyme. Stir occasionally while cooking for a few minutes or until tender.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add quinoa and stir until well combined.
- Garnish with cheese (optional) and serve immediately.
Sugar-free butter with sunflower seeds
- 400 grams or 3 cups of sunflower seeds
- Salt to taste
- 1-2 dates or 1 tbsp coconut sugar
- Preheat your oven to 150C / 300F. On a baking sheet, spread the sunflower seeds into an even layer. Roast the seeds for 10-15 minutes or until they turn light golden. Remove the seeds from the oven and cool for another 15 minutes.
- In a food processor, add the roasted seeds and blend for about 10 minutes. Pausing occasionally if the processor heats up.
- Add salt and dates and blend for a minute. Blend until the butter becomes very smooth and shiny.
- Store the sunflower seed butter in a sealed mason jar in the refrigerator. Have it with bread whenever you want!
Lemonade with basil seeds
- 1 large-sized lemon
- 1 tbsp basil seeds
- 2 tbsp sugar syrup or honey
- Salt to taste
- ½ tsp black salt (optional)
- 2 ½ cups of water
- Rose syrup or any other flavor of choice (optional)
- Clean the basil seeds in a bowl of lukewarm water. Drain the water and allow the seeds to swell within 15-30 mins of soaking. Once a transparent jelly-like coating forms over the seed, they are ready for use.
- In a bowl, add lemon juice, honey, salt and black salt (if required). Mix thoroughly.
- Add water and basil seeds. Mix well again.
- Pour it in two serving glasses. Add ice cubes and serve this refreshing, healthy drink during summers!
All edible seeds are healthy and add numerous benefits to your health if consumed regularly. The consumption of seeds can only help if the seeds are natural and pure. Himalayan Natives produce a variety of seeds that are 100% natural and pesticide-free. Our range of seeds includes chia seeds, sunflower seeds, basil seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, roasted flax seeds, and quinoa. All of them are free from artificial colors, preservatives and GMO. Give your life a healthy start with a pack of our natural seeds!