Chia isn't just a quick-growing plant sold to grow animal-shaped terracotta planters, it also is a food plant most often used for its edible seeds. Chia (Salvia columbariae) has been a food source for some Native American tribes for at least 600 years. The seeds are eaten roasted or raw, grown for sprouts, or ground up for use in breads. Harvesting chia plants is labor intensive, but the large amount of seeds produced by each plant makes the effort worthwhile.
Cut off the flower stalks with a pair of clean gardening shears 1 inch above the soil level when the stalks have dried. Place the cut stems in a bowl so any seeds that fall from the harvested plants are caught in the bowl.
Place the bowl of plants in a warm, dry room for one to two days to finish drying. Harvest the seeds when the stalks are dry.
Hold the seed end of the stalks over a bowl. Pound on the stalks with a wood spoon or spatula to release the seeds.
Spread out the harvested seeds on a sheet of paper towels. Let them dry in a warm, dry room for one week.
Place the dried seeds in a plastic bag. Seal the bag and store in a cool, dry place until you are ready to roast or grind the seeds.