Hemp truly is the most diverse crop known to man. It is useful in manufacturing so many different products from plastics to clothing. The same way that its Extracts (CBD Oils) have made a significant impact upon the way we view medicine and health care, Hemp Seeds (and Hemp Seed Oils) have the potential to revolutionize the way we view food and nutrition!
First, let's define a couple of items:
Hemp Seeds are similar to any other seed product which is sold for consumption. They are harvested from the flowering parts of the plant and processed by (generally) toasting them. These seeds, since they are toasted and heated, are no longer useful for planting or germination. They generally come in two varieties. Toasted Hemp Seeds, which are sold still contained in their outer shells, and "Hulled" (also known as Hemp Hearts) which are shelled first before packaging for sale.
Hemp Seed Oil is simply the liquid "oil" which is taken from the Hemp Seed. It is often confused with Hemp Extracts (CBD Oil), but it is, however, not the same. The Hemp Seed (and therefore Hemp Seed Oils) DO NOT contain any Cannabinoids (such as THC and CBD). They DO contain a wide variety of nutrients.
Hemp Seed Oil is removed from the seeds (generally) through a process known as "Cold Pressing." This same process is used to obtain oils and other fluids from other nuts (Almond Milk, etc.) and seeds. Cold-Pressing simply means that the seeds are subjected to intense pressure forcing the liquid to separate from the solid parts, using no additional heat. This is preferred since adding heat to the oil can cause it to break down some and loose some of its nutritional value.
Hemp Flour is simply the dried seeds (after the oil has been removed and collected) which have been ground into a fine powder. It is sought after as a wheat flour substitute because it is Gluten Free and is a more complete source of plant based proteins and other nutrients.
Benefits of using Hemp Seeds (Seeds, Oils, and Flour):
Hemp Seeds contain the Essential Fatty Acids your body needs but doesn't produce on its own. This includes the Omega-3 (Alpha-Linolenic Acid) and Omega-6 (Linoleic Acid). As well as Gamma-Linolenic Acid.
They contain a higher percentage (nearly 25% of their calories) of higher quality Pant-Based Proteins than other seeds and nuts. These proteins have a higher degree of digestibility that other plant-based proteins.
They are a great source for many other nutrients such as Vitamins, minerals, Amino Acids, and anti-oxidants.
They have benefits for skin disorders. Hemp seeds contain nutrients that improve circulation and affect immune system response. Hemp Seed Oil has several positive effects when applied to the skin, such as helping it stay elastic and moisturized. Cleaning out pores and regulating excess Sebum production (which can lead to acne), and providing vitamins and nutrients directly to the skin.
They help reduce the severity of PMS and Menopause symptoms. Through several chemical reactions, the e nutrients help produce and regulate certain hormones which affect the various symptoms of these female issues.
Hemp Seeds aid in digestion. They contain a high amount of Fiber, both Soluble and Insoluble, that affect the breakdown and processing of food and waste in the digestive tract. (Note, Hemp Hearts may suffer in this regard, as the fiber-rich shells have been removed).
Great for those with Food Allergies or special diets. Hemp Seeds, Oil and Flour do not contain any allergens and are Gluten Free. They are also GMO Free and Vegan friendly.
Things you can use Hemp Seeds to make or add-to:
Use as a sprinkle-on topping for Salads, soups, vegetables, etc. In fact, you can buy (or make your own) smaller packets of Toasted Seeds or Hearts and keep on you to use as an add-on item at restaurants and coffee shops, etc.
Toss in with coatings for fish and other meats to add nutrition, and to replace part of a bread-based coating.
Blend them into smoothies and other drinks.
Add them to your baked goods to make them slightly healthier. Use the flour (in conjunction with another type which rises better) as a substitute for making healthier, gluten-free alternatives.
Stir them into sauces, soups, etc. Adds a nutty overtone to the taste, and can add nutritional value to the item that can benefit any "picky eaters" in the household.
Hemp Protein Powder can also be made from ground Hemp Seeds.
And what about the Oil:
A few things to remember:
Hemp Seed oil has a mild, nutty flavor which is not overpowering.
DO NOT try to use Hemp Seed oil as a frying or cooking oil. It will both break down and loose a lot of nutritional value under high temperatures. That is not to say that you cannot cook with it, as heating it to Luke-warm is fine, but high-stress heat will cause chemical bonds to break down in the oil.
Consuming Hemp Seeds in huge quantities may cause diarrhea due to it's high Fiber content.
Hemp Seed Products are great for use in sweet and savory cooking, do not be afraid to experiment.
Hemp Seeds are a shelf-stable product with a shelf-life of 1 to 2 years unopened (depending upon brand). Once opened, they last approximately one year. Although it's OK to store them at room temperature, refrigerating open seeds will help extend their shelf life and help prevent them from going rancid as soon.
Hemp Seed Flour, by itself, does not rise like other flours, so if using it in recipes that will require the product to "rise" (for example, breads, cakes, etc.) you will need to combine it with another flour that has the rising properties. It is OK, though, if you are baking some sort of flatbread or cracker that rising is not a concern.
There is a vast treasure trove of recipes available on the Internet. Search for them and try and make what you think will be good.
Bonus Video: How to make your own Hemp Milk at home:
Hemp milk is a great substitute for Dairy, and much easier and cheaper to make at home than many other nut based milks. It is Lactose free, and just like the Seeds from which it is derived, super-nutritious.
Please watch this short (<3 minutes) video from Trinity's Conscious Kitchen (Posted at KindEarth.net, date unknown) and then review the recipe on their page.
The Hemp Seed is a very versatile member of the plant kingdom. When you weigh it in comparison to other types of seeds and nuts, it stands apart and well ahead of the pack in usefulness, nutrition, and impact.
Using Hemp as a source of food and nutrition is not a new idea, but it can definitely be of great assistance considering the famine and hunger issues of modern times. Hemp is a highly sustainable, and hearty crop which can be adapted and grown in the harshest of climates. Imagine solving the famine in Africa by teaching the villagers and natives how to grow and maintain a crop of Hemp. The economic advantages (from say, selling the fiber) as well as the food and nutritional plusses. (Not to mention using the Hempcrete they can make to build better shelter, etc., etc.). This is but one example of the greatness and potential for benefit and change that the Hemp plant has for humanity and the planet.
Hemp has been humankinds partner for centuries. Together, symbiotically, there's no excuse why Hemp cannot be a star player in helping solve the world's woes!
6 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Hemp Seeds; by Adda Bjarnadottir, MS, RDN (Ice) on September 11, 2018.
How to Cook with Hemp Seed Oil (+ Recipes!); Karissa's Vegan Kitchen on February 16, 2015.
5 Tips for Cooking with Hemp Hearts; By Maggie Michalczyk, RDN undated.
Cooking with Hemp: The new superfood that has made inroads in our kitchens; By Pooja Prabbhan, Upd. July 12, 2020.
How to make your own Hemp Milk at home in two minutes; KindEarth.net, undated.
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