Everything You Need to Know About How to Eat Hemp Seeds
As far as the nut and seed world goes, hemp seeds are like the straight-A student who’s also captain of the football team. A couple of spoonfuls of hemp seeds packs a serious amount of essential nutrients, they’re easy to eat and cook with, and they have a pleasantly nutty taste, like a cross between a sunflower seed and a pine nut. And no, they won’t get you remotely high. Here’s everything you need to know about how to buy and eat these little seeds.
Although hemp and marijuana are members of the same species, Cannabis sativa, they’re in effect completely different plants. There are about a dozen varieties of hemp plants that are grown for food, and all of them contain about 0.001 percent Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. This means you can eat as much hemp as you want and you’ll never have to worry about getting high or failing a drug test. Although certain states have begun to legalize the cultivation of industrial hemp in the last couple of years, the hemp seeds you can find at your grocery or health food store were likely grown in Canada or China.
Hemp plants grow brown popcorn kernel-sized hard seeds. Inside these hard seeds lie soft, white or light green inner kernels that are packed with essential amino acids, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids. You can’t really derive a lot of nutritional value from the unhulled seeds, so when you see a bag at the store labeled “hemp seeds,” what you’re actually buying is those soft inner kernels, also known as hemp hearts. Hemp hearts can be pressed to make hemp seed oil, leaving behind a byproduct that can be turned into hemp protein powder. You can find all of these hemp products at health food stores, or a well-stocked grocery store like Whole Foods.
Eating shelled hemp seeds, or hemp hearts, is as simple as sprinkling a spoonful or two into smoothies or on top of cereal, salads, or yogurt, says Kelly Saunderson of Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods, the world’s largest hemp foods manufacturer. People with gluten sensitivity can use hemp seeds as a substitute for breadcrumbs to coat chicken or fish. Just like you can blend almonds and water to make almond milk, you can do the same with hemp seeds for hemp seed milk, which you can use as an alternative to dairy milk in drinks and recipes. And because of its nutty flavor, hemp seeds make a great substitute for people with nut allergies—you can dry-toast them over low heat to bring out even more of that nuttiness.
Hemp seed oil should be used as a finishing oil, rather than a cooking or frying oil, since the delicate omega fatty acids will break down during the cooking process, stripping the oil of its nutritional benefits. Instead, use it to make salad dressings, or drizzle over pasta, grilled veggies, or popcorn.
Hemp seeds are considered one of the most valuable plant-based proteins out there. Here's what you need to know about how to eat them.
Uses and Health Benefits of Eating Hemp Seeds
The hemp seeds you can pick up at your local grocery store come from the same hemp plant renowned for its durable fiber. The seeds of the hemp plant, also known as hemp nuts, are edible. Along with being eaten just as they are, hemp seeds are used in a growing number of food products that can be added to other dishes, including hemp milk, hemp butter, hemp protein and even hemp tofu.
Nutritional Benefits of Hemp Seed
Hemp is considered one of the world’s most nutritious plants. The seeds contain all of the essential amino acids, making them an ideal source of protein for vegans and raw foodists. The essential fatty acids (both Omega-3s and Omega-6s) are abundant in hemp seeds and come in a ratio that is highly beneficial to humans. Magnesium, iron, and potassium are in good supply along with fiber. Some of hemp seed’s supply of antioxidants comes from its vitamin E content.
Culinary Uses of Hemp Seed
Hemp seeds are used in many packaged products, usually found in health food stores. Some of these products, such as hemp milk and ground hemp flour, are relatively simple to make at home from the seeds. Other products are not so easily replicated such as hemp oil, hemp ice cream, and hemp protein powder. Hemp has a slightly nutty flavor, perhaps best comparable to pine nuts, but of course, the texture is quite different.
How to Use Hemp Seeds
Try sprinkling hemp seeds over a salad or as a topping on granola, puddings, or other desserts. Frequently sold as a superfood, hemp seeds can be added to smoothies both at home and in many cafes and juice bars. They can also be used in baking and cooking, though the nutritional content is at its highest in its raw state.
More Reasons Why You Should Eat Hemp
If you care about the environment and sustainable living, you should definitely be a fan of eating hemp products and hemp seeds! Hemp is widely considered to be among the most sustainable plants on the planet. It doesn’t deplete the soil, as some crops can, and it can easily be cultivated in a variety of places. Hemp grows quickly and is quite hardy as a plant, able to withstand disease and pests.
Here's everything you need to know about hemp seeds, a superfood that's packed full of proteins, making it popular for vegetarians and vegans.