Life can be pretty taxing sometimes, with so many plates to juggle, places to be and things to do who would blame us if we turned to foods less beneficial to our health because of their convenience?! Well anyone who knows me and my ethos about healthy eating will know that I am 100% behind convenience, making the foods we eat work for us, and generally taking the hassle out of healthful food choices.
And it’s with this is mind that I turn my focus today to the wonderful food stuff that is hemp. An absolute powerhouse of nutritional excellence, a culinary delight, and a hugely versatile ingredient, I will also just confirm at this point that I’m not talking about marijuana here, and the recipes I include at the end won’t have you meandering around the place in a slight daze!
With that housekeeping taken care of let’s get down to it – now due to my enthusiasm the lovely people at Good Hemp Food sent me a selection of their fantastic products, so in addition to waxing lyrical about hemp overall I will also review those for you as they are the particular ones I choose to purchase.
SO WHY HEMP?
Well the long and short answer to this is that it’s pretty great!
Unlike most other plant based foods (chia seeds being the other notable exception although hemp is far richer) hemp seeds contain all 20 amino acids, including the 9 essential ones we need to gain from our diet, so if you’re a plant based foodie then they should absolutely be featuring in your diet somewhere. I love to sprinkle the seeds on salads, soups, stews, porridge, smoothies or yoghurt, or I blend them into sauces, salsas, smoothies, milks…….pretty much anything!
In addition to this hemp is also a fantastic source of omega 3 essential fatty acids which I don’t need to tell you are absolutely amazing for pretty much every element of our health and wellbeing – not only does omega 3 act as a systemic anti-inflammatory, it also forms the structural elements of our brain and nervous systems, helps to balance our moods, keep our tickers in check, our skin supple and youthful…..you name is omega 3 does it. (And if you’d like to know a bit more about omega 3 in general then check out this post)
As with all liquid oils I personally recommend that you keep your hemp oil cold, adding it to food as a final flourish, as this protects all those wonderfully potent actions rather than them being lost to oxidation during the cooking process. I keep my opened bottles in the fridge and my hemp seeds in the freezer for this reason.
In terms of taste hemp has a flavour similar to a light nut, possibly a cross between a sunflower seed and a hazelnut, and I think that lovely subtleness lends itself perfectly to most dishes, the oil in particular being a beautiful base for dressings, pestos and salsas. It is one of my absolute kitchen staples and I hope this has encouraged you to give it a go too!
So onto why I choose Good Hemp…..
Well first and foremost it’s because they were the first I tried and adored. Henry Braham and Glynis Murray who founded the company are true hemp enthusiasts and have taken what was a relatively obscure ingredient and made it entirely mainstream. Hemp oil supplements have been around for a while but the option to eat as oppose to pill pop is always going to win me over, and that is what they have made available to us. They are also UK based and for me that’s an important aspect as I try to limit my impact on the environment and choose local producers. You can find out more on their story, their products and the other fantastic properties of hemp (including its other amazing environment supporting talents!) on their website.
Right so now for a product review! Of course this is only my personal opinion but I was asked to share it so here goes!
Hulled Hemp Seeds
Possibly the most versatile ingredient to have in your kitchen cupboard I love the naturally sweet nutty flavour of these ones in particular. I don’t think there is a meal I won’t sprinkle them on, from porridge and granola, to a super garlicky salad, soup or slice of avocado toast, I don’t think any meal isn’t improved by the addition of hemp seeds!
Oh and if you need a super speedy plant based milk that requires no straining then just whizz up 1/4 cup hemp seeds with 1 1/2 cups water and hey presto you’re sorted!
Unsweetened Hemp Milk
I really like the natural hemp flavour that comes through in this milk, it’s lighter than a nut milk and you get the added benefit of all those amino acids and omega 3 coming through.
From a culinary perspective there is the added benefit that hemp is obviously not a nut so for those with allergies, potential issues with histamine, or when preparing snacks for children to take to school (where nuts are frequently banned due to the potential for cross contamination with kids with allergies) hemp is a great alternative.
Sweetened Hemp Milk
Now for me this was too sweet, I have a very savoury palate anyway and avoid all added sugars in my diet so I found I definitely preferred the unsweetened version. However if you were trying to transition yourself over from a diet relatively rich in simple sugars, or were looking for a more natural alternative to something like hot chocolate this could be a good option. Or again if you were going to use this in baking you could decrease the other sweet additions to the recipe and allow the sweetness of this to come through in its place.
And from an entirely convenience perspective I love the fact that both milks come in smaller sizes with resealable lids as they are great for travelling with or if I just need a small amount for something.
Cold Pressed Hemp Oil
Beautifully mild, naturally delicious and sumptuously smooth flavoured this is my favourite oil to use for dressings, pestos, to drizzle over cooked vegetables or salads, and generally include as often as I can. Good Hemp oil is cold pressed to preserve all of those amazing properties we mentioned before, and they package it in dark glass for this reason too.
And that draws my musings to a close but as always I wouldn’t just pique your tastebuds and then run away so I’ve included two awesome recipes for you using some of the Good Hemp goodies they sent me, find them below and do let me know if you try them out!
With healthy wishes,