In the Kitchen with Hemp Nut

Hemp Times magazine, 11th Issue, Summer 1998
became aware of the food value of hemp seeds back in the fall of 1994: high levels of easily digestible protein, and the plant kingdoms most perfectly balanced supply of essential fatty acids. So I started fooling around with them, thinking up interesting ways to eat these little nuggets of nutrition. Toasted in a pan with soy sauce or chili powder was good, but distinctly crunchy, and even a nibble necessitated a thorough tooth-brushing. Next came the idea for “Hemp Rocks”òchocolate clusters of nuts, raisins, and hemp seeds.

In addition to being healthy, the chocolate and raisins combined to pull the shells of the hemp seeds from the teeth. Which was a pretty good solution to the problem, but eaters still always remarked, “Gee, if only you could shell the little buggers like sunflower or pumpkin seeds, then you’d have something.”

The Hemp Corporation, Richard Rose’s firm in Santa Rosa, Calif., has just begun to market HempNut, its brand of hulled hempseed without those bothersome outer shells: all the nutritional value, minus the nasties stuck in the teeth. Organically grown, it has not been sterilized or heated, and the hard outer coat has been removed. This keeps the seed free of any traces of THC, which can cling to the outer layers of unshelled hemp seeds; and because the hulling process renders the seed unable to grow, it does not require heat-sterilization before importation to the US.

“We are excited to be able to offer this product to our customers in North America and Europe,” says Rose. “We expect our HempNut to be known as the best-quality food-grade hempseed.”

With 36% essential fatty acids, 31% highly-digestible complete protein, 6% fiber, and many vitamins and minerals, HempNut is one of the most nutritious items on the market. It tastes very similar to hulled sunflower seed, and looks like sesame seed. Rose’s hempseed is certified organically-grown by the Demeter organization of Europe, which requires farmers to use sustainable practices in addition to organic cultivation. (It is also available non-organic, at a lower cost.)

You can try these ideas at home; they aren’t always recipes, but sometimes just suggestions for those who love to cook. Check to see if your local health-food store is carrying HempNut, or ask them to order the seeds from the Rella Good Cheese Company.

Hempseed has all the protein of the soybean, and in a more easily digestible form. It has a rich, healthy oil and a good flavor and in the case of HempNut, none of the crunchy shells. It can be worked into countless recipes.

Hempnut Recipes
This basically entails adding a half-cup of hemp nuts to a recipe for chocolate-chip cookies. I used a recipe from the Joy of Cooking. Since these cookies turned out a bit greasy — it’s that 24% oil in the seeds — next time I might reduce the amount of butter I use. It evolved into a dense, rich treat perfect for your lunch box.

“Ten Pound” HempNut cookie bars
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cup granulated sweetener of choice
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tbsp. water
1-1/4 cup unbleached white or whole-wheat flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup HempNut
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup oatmeal

Pre-heat oven to 350°F and grease an 8 x 8 x 2-in. baking pan. Cream together the butter and sugar. Beat in vanilla, add water. Mix flour with baking powder and stir in well. Add rest of ingredients and spread into pan. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 30 mins.

Adding 2 tablespoons of HempNut to my standard pie-crust recipe yielded a flaky and more nutritious pie crust.

Being a big fan of soy and rice milk, I tried making hemp milk. I heated 1-1/2 cups of HempNut and 5 cups water in a heavy pan on the stove until it steamed but didn’t boil. This was poured in the blender with 2 tbsp. of maple syrup and blended for a minute. The resulting slurry is strained through cheesecloth, and a delicious and extremely hempy milk results. It doesn’t keep long, so I drank it plain, used it in blender drinks and even replaced cow-milk in a cornbread recipe — which actually turned out much lighter and fluffier than normal!

It’s tasty to pan-toast HempNut until it’s light brown and then salt it. You can also add a few drops of soy sauce or tamari, though my eaters thought the soy products’ distinct flavors masked the delicate, nutty taste of the HempNut. (Nutrition experts point out that heating does some damage to the essential fatty acids in the seeds.)

Since fresh is better, I wondered how HempNut worked in salads. The contents of my refrigerator inspired this one.

Cilantro-lime HempNut coleslaw
1 cup shredded red cabbage
2 chopped green onions
1/2 bunch cilantro chopped
1/4 cup HempNut
2 tbsp. dark sesame oil
Juice of 1/2 lime
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix first 4 ingredients in a salad bowl. In a small bowl, mix the rest of the ingredients as a dressing, then pour over cabbage mixture and toss well.

In the morning, 2 tbsp. HempNut in the blender with a frozen banana, some yogurt (soya-yogurt in my case) and juice makes a power drink with a complete dose of amino acids and EFAs and a good protein hit.

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