Welcome to What is it? Wednesdays! Every other Wednesday, we’ll explore a different ingredient or product in depth. We’ll be covering the benefits, uses and common misconceptions about each. If you have any requests, leave them in the comments and we’ll work them into the schedule.
Hemp seeds: the mysterious, slightly illicit ingredient that keeps popping up all over the place. The ingredient that is incredibly healthful and delicious, yet still often triggers our firewall. The thing is, though, that hemp seeds are pretty darn nutritious and have nothing to offer those folks who are looking for a “good time.” Like a good kid with a bad friend, hemp seeds are guilty by association. I don’t think I’m wrong to say that’s changing. Many people have gotten over the association and recognize hemp seeds for what they are- a wonderful way to include protein and omega-3s in your diet.
What is it? Hemp seed hearts, aka hulled hemp seed, are small cream-colored seeds about the size of a sesame seed. They have a nutty flavor and nut-like texture, more creamy than crunchy. The term heart is often used to describe the seed without its hull, as in the heart of the seed.
Why would you eat it? Hemp is high in protein and contains all eight essential amino acids, classifying it as a complete protein. Hemp also contains a nice amount of Omega-3 fatty acids. Plus, they just plain taste good, so that’s always a good reason to eat them.
How do you use it? Hemp seeds are pretty versatile. They have such a mild flavor that they can go sweet or savory. A basic way to enjoy hemp seed is to add it to your hot cereal or smoothie. Hemp can also be added to salads, baked goods and yogurt. Unlike chia and flax, hemp is not as high in fiber, so the addition of hemp will not dramatically alter the outcome of your recipe. We personally love this recipe using hemp in place of pine nuts for pesto. Not only are hemp seeds more nutritious than pine nuts, they’re far cheaper these days.
What about its connection to marijuana? Hemp seeds and marijuana come from the same species of plant, but different varieties and the similarities stop there. Hemp seeds do not contain THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the active substance in marijuana.
Can you eat it raw? Yes, absolutely. Like nuts, hemp seeds are also wonderful gently toasted.
Can you eat it whole? Yes, hemp seeds do not need to be ground to enjoy the nutritional benefits. If you grind them, you’ll most likely end up with a paste similar to tahini.
Is it vegan? Yes, hemp seed are vegan.
Are Bob’s Red Mill hemp seeds gluten free? No, while hemp is naturally free from gluten, we do not produce our hemp seeds in our gluten free facility or batch test them for gluten.
Recipes we love using hemp seeds:
- Hemp Seed Pesto
- Mason Jar Carrot Noodle Salad w/Sweet Chili Vinaigrette from Nosh and Nourish (pictured above)
- Super Kale, Hemp and Flaxseed Oil Pesto from Cookie + Kate
- No Bake Protein Bars from Eat Good 4 Life
- Hemp Protein Truffles (pictured above)
- Hemp “No Meat” Loaf
- Hemp Seed Hummus from Kim Lutz
- Hemp Seed Tabouleh from Oh She Glows
- Super Seed Trifecta Granola from Keepin’ it Kind
- Flax and Hemp Crackers from Gourmand in the Kitchen
- Carrot Cake Raw Bars from Beard and Bonnet