Hemp Hearts - Yet another reason to love the Hemp plant
Lets talk about hemp seeds!
We often have people ask us where hemp fiber comes from, and somewhat less frequently but equally as good of a question is what about hemp seeds and hemp seed oil? You may already be familiar with hemp seeds - whether it be finding them sprinkled atop your smoothie bowl, or seeing Hemp Seed Oil in a grocery store and wondering what the difference is between this oil and CBD Oil.
I like to start by explaining that Hemp is a very dynamic plant, and can be grown for different purposes. If you're looking to grow for fiber, seeds, or hemp seed oil, you would be growing male plants with tall stalks that don't flower and produce those beautiful buds that we harvest for CBD content. If you're interested in CBD and some of the other amazing cannabinoids in Hemp, you want to be growing female plants that will flower. It's pretty cool that the same plant can be grown for such diverse purposes.
Hemp Seeds - a nutritional powerhouse.
Let's focus on hemp seeds for a bit. As I mentioned before, people know about hemp flower for CBD, and they know about hemp stalks for fiber, but the other part of the plant that is also super beneficial are hemp seeds. These seeds are edible when hulled, and pack a huge nutritional punch. Known as hemp hearts when hulled, they contain an ideal 3:1 ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 oils, which is basically the same reason Fish Oil is touted as such a healthy oil. Not only that, but they have quite a bit of protein for a plant. Two tablespoons of hemp hearts have 6 grams of protein - the equivalent amount of protein found in one egg. They're also quite a sustainable option, as hemp has regenerative properties when grown organically. We may be biased over here in the hemp industry, but they're kind of an all around great food!
Not only do they have these nutritional qualities, but they're pretty darn delicious. As someone who doesn't eat a whole lot of dairy, they have made their way into my cooking in multiple formats, as a way of adding some nuttiness and creaminess to some of my favorite plant-forward recipes. Some ways they can be used? As your protein source in a smoothie! Not only can a few tablespoons replace your protein powder, but they also add a richness that negates the need for nut milk. I love to add them topped on a salad for a nutty, almost parmesan-like topping. Lastly, one of my favorite way of using them is in a pesto. If you've ever made homemade pesto you know that pine nuts are super expensive! Hemp hearts on the other hand are quite affordable, not to mention delicious. The recipe below is for a "Cilantro Pesto". When I'm wanting a healthy and delicious dip for fresh veggies in the summer, this is my go-to. When I want basil pesto, I just swap out the cilantro for basil! Give it a try and you might find yourself looking for ways to add hemp seeds into your life a little more.
Cilantro Hemp Pesto
3/4 C Hemp Hearts
1 large or two small bunches of Cilantro, rinsed (use the stems too - they have just as much if not more flavor as the leaves!) - Cilantro can also be subbed for about 1 1/2 Cups basil if making a traditional pesto
2 Cloves of Garlic
Juice of 1 lemon (sometimes I use a lime, whatever youre feelin')
1/3 Cup Olive Oil
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
Throw all ingredients into a food processor. Blitz for 5-10 seconds, scrape down the sides of processor and repeat until all your herbs are fully incorporated. You could also do this in a blender, I just find the food processor to be very efficient for this recipe. Serve with fresh veggies, use to top burrito bowls, or whatever else you envision this dip tasting good on!