What is canary seed?
Most canary seed is grown in Canada, Hungary, and Argentina. It is a member of the grass plant family, it resembles green foxtail, and it grows one meter in height. Canary seed has traditionally been used as the main component of bird feed but recently however, studies have confirmed the substantial health benefits canary seeds provide for humans. It is important to note that canary seed for human consumption must be specifically manufactured to remove microscopic silica hairs from the hulls which are an irritant and harmful to human health; traditional Canary seed from pet stores is not safe for human consumption. Canary seed is often used as a gluten-free flour replacement, so when people say gluten-free products taste like bird seed, in this case they would be literally correct in that it is indeed birdseed, but luckily for gluten-free eaters, the seeds taste slightly nutty with a hint of cinnamon - nothing at all like bird feed!
Benefits of Canary Seed:
Canary seed is used for healthy function of the heart, blood vessels, kidneys, liver, and pancreas as well as helping maintain a healthy weight. It helps regulate blood pressure, it decreases bad cholesterol while increasing good cholesterol, and lowers blood glucose levels. Studies have shown that it also has antioxidant properties close to that of vitamin C. Canary seed has 9 grams of protein per 5 tablespoon serving which is 18% of the daily US Recommended Daily Allowance. It is also a good source of unsaturated fats, protein, and iron. Canary seed contains considerably more argenine than most grains, which makes it akin to quinoa, amaranth, and legumes.
How to consume canary seed?
Canary seed is usually soaked and consumed raw which retains its many active enzymes. Canary seed milk (leche alpiste) is prepared by soaking 5 tablespoons of canary seed in 1.5 cups of water, and soaking overnight in the refrigerator; the next day, strain the seeds and rinse with fresh water, add to blender with 1.5 cups of fresh water, milk, or juice and blend on High for 3 minutes. Skim hulls from surface of the mixture. Canary seed is also often ground into a powder and used as a gluten-free flour substitute in breads and cereals.