So you know that hemp seeds are now legally considered food, you are aware of the health benefits hemp possess and you’ve started to see hemp products, such as, hemp flour, hemp protein and hemp seed oil appear on the shelves of your local natural grocery store. But how do you use these fancy new products that everyone is saying is so great for your health?
I have been experimenting with these tiny green kernels of goodness for a while now. Apart from being great for me, they also have a rich nutty flavour and creamy texture. Open up my pantry or fridge and you will find a mix of hemp seed products.
However, I’ll be the first to put up my hand and admit to some epic fails when I’ve tried to substitute hemp products in place of something else (my hemp flour pancakes ended up going straight into the bin after more than one failed attempt). But I persisted and have now figured out different ways that hemp can be used in my day to day cooking for myself and my family.
Find out here for further information about the health benefits of hemp.
So how can I use hemp seeds in my cooking and baking?
Hemp seeds: In their whole form, hemp seeds are easily the most versatile seed. They taste both creamy and nutty which lends itself to both sweet and savoury dishes. I always have my jar filled ready to put in smoothies, sprinkle on salads or vegetable dishes. You can add to muffins, breads and biscuits with a mix of other nuts or seeds. You can also make an excellent gluten free tabouli when substituted for the bulgur wheat. Hemp mylk is a new family favourite. I throw hemp seeds, water, vanilla and a pinch of stevia (for some optional sweetness) into the blender, whiz it up and voila……a very creamy liquid that tastes yum! And so simple, you don’t even need to drain it in a nut milk bag. You can find a our hemp seed mylk recipe here.
Hemp seed flour: This slightly nutty flour is milled from pure hemp seeds. It is a high fibre product that contains about 20% protein, as well as, a mix of vitamins, minerals and fatty acids. It is also gluten free so is perfect for allergy friendly baking. The problem I found when using the flour was trying to use it as a complete substitute for other flours. Due to the high levels of fibre, it is unsuitable for sole use as it would yield a very dry final product. Instead, aim to work with 50% hemp flour to 50% alternate flour and you’ll get the best possible result. I have experimented in making breakfast pancakes, paleo style bread, quiche crusts, to name a few, and have found this ratio works brilliantly. Don’t limit using the flour for baking only, if you need a fibre boost, you could even add it to your favourite smoothie.
Hemp seed protein powder: Hemp protein is further milled from the hemp flour to separate the protein component from the remaining fibre and oil. A good hemp protein powder should contain over 50% protein. The resulting plant based powder contains all essential amino acids in high quantities. This is great for vegans and vegetarians who are looking for a nutritious alternative protein source. It makes a delicious addition to my morning green smoothie and I’ve noticed it keeps me full for hours. The kids don’t even notice it in their ‘Popeye thickshakes’ mixed in with banana, spinach and berries! You can also sprinkle it over yogurt or muesli; mix it into nut butter; add to a veggie burger pattie or even substitute some flour in your baking with the same amount of protein.
Hemp seed oil: I’m a flaxseed oil gal from way back. I have used flaxseed oil on my nightly steamed vegetables for the best part of 20 years so to try something different was a big move for me. I found the flavour of hemp seed oil to be much stronger than flax and initially I wasn’t convinced. The oil contains a perfectly balanced omega 3 to 6 fatty acid profile so I really wanted to include it in my family’s nutrition. There are many ways to use the oil – as a base for salad dressings, in place of traditional olive oil to make hummus, dips and pesto and even in the daily smoothie for an extra boost of quality fats. Having tried all of this, I have since found I really like the rich, nutty flavour of the oil. Now I will happily pour it all over my veggies!
Another fantastic use for hemp seed oil is skincare. Due to its high essential fatty acids, it can soothe inflammation, hydrate dry skin, and can help improve skin conditions such as acne, eczema and psoriasis. You can use both internally and topically to get maximum benefits for skin health.
At Go Natural Foods, we stock a full range of hemp seeds, flour, protein and oils, both in our bulk bin area and on the shelves.
you may also like:
Written by Emma H for go natural foods
This blog is based on the personal experiences of the writer. It is not intended to take the place of medical advice, diagnosis or treatment from a health care professional.