Everything You Need to Know About How to Eat Hemp Seeds
Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods
As far as the nut and seed world goes, hemp seeds are like the straight-A student who’s also captain of the football team. A couple of spoonfuls of hemp seeds packs a serious amount of essential nutrients, they’re easy to eat and cook with, and they have a pleasantly nutty taste, like a cross between a sunflower seed and a pine nut. And no, they won’t get you remotely high. Here’s everything you need to know about how to buy and eat these little seeds.
Although hemp and marijuana are members of the same species, Cannabis sativa, they’re in effect completely different plants. There are about a dozen varieties of hemp plants that are grown for food, and all of them contain about 0.001 percent Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. This means you can eat as much hemp as you want and you’ll never have to worry about getting high or failing a drug test. Although certain states have begun to legalize the cultivation of industrial hemp in the last couple of years, the hemp seeds you can find at your grocery or health food store were likely grown in Canada or China.
Hemp plants grow brown popcorn kernel-sized hard seeds. Inside these hard seeds lie soft, white or light green inner kernels that are packed with essential amino acids, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids. You can’t really derive a lot of nutritional value from the unhulled seeds, so when you see a bag at the store labeled “hemp seeds,” what you’re actually buying is those soft inner kernels, also known as hemp hearts. Hemp hearts can be pressed to make hemp seed oil, leaving behind a byproduct that can be turned into hemp protein powder. You can find all of these hemp products at health food stores, or a well-stocked grocery store like Whole Foods.
Eating shelled hemp seeds, or hemp hearts, is as simple as sprinkling a spoonful or two into smoothies or on top of cereal, salads, or yogurt, says Kelly Saunderson of Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods, the world’s largest hemp foods manufacturer. People with gluten sensitivity can use hemp seeds as a substitute for breadcrumbs to coat chicken or fish. Just like you can blend almonds and water to make almond milk, you can do the same with hemp seeds for hemp seed milk, which you can use as an alternative to dairy milk in drinks and recipes. And because of its nutty flavor, hemp seeds make a great substitute for people with nut allergies—you can dry-toast them over low heat to bring out even more of that nuttiness.
Hemp seed oil should be used as a finishing oil, rather than a cooking or frying oil, since the delicate omega fatty acids will break down during the cooking process, stripping the oil of its nutritional benefits. Instead, use it to make salad dressings, or drizzle over pasta, grilled veggies, or popcorn.
Hemp seeds are considered one of the most valuable plant-based proteins out there. Here's what you need to know about how to eat them.
I Swapped My Usual Snack for Hemp Seeds—Here’s How to Eat Them in 15 Ways
How to eat hemp seeds? We asked Well+Good readers on Instagram. And many weighed in with super smart ideas and recipes. Here are 15 easy ways they get down with hemp seeds. So you can, too.
Keep reading for 15 ideas for how to eat hemp seeds.
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Well+Good readers share their favorite ways to cook and eat hemp seeds
Severing: On top of salads, or in my vinaigrettes. In my chia seed spread for sandwiches. Smoothies.
Beingtricia: I always have them on hand. Great to add to anything. Salads. Smoothies. Avocado. Veggies. Easy to make hemp milk too.
Feelmyspinee: With pasta sauce! They add some nuttiness to the dish. Very yum.
Nephriticus: On top of salad, rice, smoothies. Mum is obsessed with the crunch.
Kpaide: In yogurt and smoothies. Great stuff. Keep in fridge.
Tismejenny: I make hemp milk and add it raw to smoothies and the like. Love this brand in particular.
Wellnesstwin_marcella: Add it to my cauliflower for mock mashed potato. Salad dressing with garlic, olive oil, lemon, honey. Add it to my smoothies and oatmeal in the morning. Or to homemade granola.
Hungryrunner: I’ve been topping my oatmeal with them. I love @wellnesstwin_marcella’s idea for the cauliflower mashed potato add-in too!
Fernolivia: For an easy lunch, I sprinkle extra virgin olive oil over greens and top with hemp hearts. I take them with me in my bag everywhere, along with Himalayan sea salt. No joke. I am known to order a simple salad at the bar (because it is the only healthy, plant-based option) and ask for avocado if they have it, and I get all my proteins and minerals with my carry-on toppings! It’s an absolute staple of mine!
Mandyvelahuff: I use them in my chia seed pudding. So super power, delicious!
Jartumbler: So good in smoothies! Yum. And sprinkled on protein pancakes just before flipping to the second side.
PamelayLong: Add them to quinoa flakes or oatmeal, I also sprinkle on almond or coconut yogurt for a yummy and nutritious snack.
MarissaVicario: Just sprinkle on salads and in smoothies no cooking necessary.
Emmyparr: I have hemp hearts in my refrigerator right now! They are great in a kale salad, dressed with extra-virgin olive oil/lemon. Simple is good.
Kattancock: Don’t cook them! I use them in smoothies, in salads, added to oatmeal before I eat it.
Looking for more cooking inspo? Check out these keto cookbooks and these DASH diet recipes.
Well+Good readers share their savvy tips and easy recipes.