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.
Hemp Seed Recipes: How to Use Hemp Seeds
Hemp seeds are a very healthy source of protein for vegetarians and are a simple superfood to include in any healthy diet. Browse through a few of these vegetarian and mostly vegan hempseed recipes and enjoy all those healthy hemp amino acids and essential fatty acids!
Breakfast Ideas Using Hemp Seeds
My favorite way to have hemp seeds for breakfast is to just sprinkle some into whatever cereal, granola or whole grain (I love having quinoa or quinoa flakes for breakfast) I’m having for breakfast. Another simple way to get some of those tasty crunchy omega-3 filled hemp seeds for breakfast is to sprinkle them on toast. They’re fantastic on toast with peanut butter (or soy nut butter or almond butter or whatever you use), and I love having toast with a little Earth Balance vegan margarine and a sprinkle of nutritional yeast and hemp seeds for a quick breakfast. It may sound odd, but don’t knock it till you try it! Here’s a few more healthy vegetarian and vegan breakfast recipe ideas to have hemp seeds for breakfast:
- Raw foods granola trail mix recipe with hemp seeds
- Homemade hemp milk
Salads with Hemp Seeds
A shake of hemp seeds goes well on just about any salad to transform your regular green salad into a superfood green salad – you really can’t go wrong. Here’s a few hemp seed salad recipes to try:
Browse through a few of these vegetarian and mostly vegan hemp seed recipes and enjoy all those healthy hemp amino acids and essential fatty acids!