Hemp seed

Hemp seed

Ingredient: Hemp seeds
Latin name: Cannabis sativa
Other names: industrial hemp, hemp hearts
Uses: seed, oil, milk, cheese, protein powder

What is hemp?

Hemp is an aromatic perennial and the namesake of its plant family, the Cannabaceae (hops is another member). When cultivated for food (particularly commercially), hemp typically refers to the seeds. The various parts of different C. sativa cultivars have other industrial, pharmacological, and psychotropic uses.

Why are hemp seeds healthy?

Like most seeds and nuts, hemp seeds are high in protein, fiber (which helps lower cholesterol and reduce inflammation), and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. Gram-per-gram, however, they have more protein than other similar seeds like chia or flax.They’re also a great source of magnesium, iron, manganese, zinc, vitamin E and B-vitamins. They contain all nine essential amino acids, making them one of the few complete plant-based proteins. You can also make hemp milk from the seeds, a safe alternative to nut milks and dairy if you have tree nut allergies and/or are lactose intolerant.

Hemp seeds heart-healthiness extends to it containing the precursor amino acid to nitric oxide, which helps blood vessels dilate and relax.

What do hemp seeds taste like?

Hemp seeds are crunchy, with a slightly sweet, nutty flavor similar to millet, sunflower seeds, or pine nuts. Fortunately, they don’t taste anything like marijuana (and don’t worry, they won’t get you high). Hemp milk has a nutty, grassy flavor and is a little less creamy than almond or oat milk.

How do I use hemp seeds?

You can sprinkle hemp seeds anywhere you’d expect to find sunflower or sesame seeds — salads, grain bowls, yogurt, berries, or baked goods, though it’s best to eat them raw or lightly toasted, as heat will destroy the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. (This is also why you shouldn’t cook with hemp seed oil; use it as a finishing drizzle instead). Add hemp seeds to furikake to boost the nutritional content of your rice bowls.

What do hemp seeds pair well with? 

Hemp’s mild nuttiness makes it a versatile ingredient. It tastes good with the earthy sweetness of whole grains like quinoa, farro, and barley in sweet or savory applications, or you can use it to completely sub out grains for pilafs and tabbouleh (it’s really nice with herbs). It also works well with other creamy/fatty ingredients like avocados or yogurt.

Where do hemp seeds grow?

Hemp originated in China, which still dominates world production of industrial hemp. It grows easily in just about any temperate climate, however — it’s called “weed” for a reason!

How to buy hemp seeds:

You’ll typically find hemp seeds hulled (just the inner kernels), sometimes labeled as “hemp hearts.” They’re usually bagged and sold with other edible nuts and seeds, but you might find them in bulk bins too. Several plant-based milk brands make hemp milk that you can find in Tetra Pak boxes in most mainstream grocery stores.

Fun hemp fact:

Hemp is possibly one of the earliest domesticated plants; cultivation dates back to the Pre-Pottery Neolithic period in China and archaeological evidence suggests it’s been grown there for around 12,000 years. Ancient Greeks used to burn it for incense and in the folklore of ancient Germany, cannabis was associated with the goddess Freya, for whom Friday is named