Hemp: adding these healthy seeds to your cooking repertoire

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Hemp, and especially the hemp seeds, are extremely healthy. The valuable nutrients come into their own in a delicious hemp butter.

Ancient crop and cultivated plant

Hemp is now quite the trend. And while its popularity has also boomed in Switzerland over the past few years, the hemp plant is actually many thousands of years old. The plant has been highly coveted since time immemorial, and its valuable nutrients have long been said to have healing properties. Cannabis sativa, the scientific name of the hemp plant, originally comes from East Asia and China.

Various uses

What many people don't know is that, depending on the variety, the plant has a broad range of different uses. Hemp fibres are used to make clothes in the textile industry, for example, and hemp bricks are used in the construction industry as a renewable building material.

CBD and THC – what makes hemp legal?

Hemp comes in various guises. De­pend­ing on the concentration of the active ingredient, the plant has different effects on the human body. It is the drug content – tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC for short – which makes the difference. This illegal substance in hemp, and which is only produced in the female flowers of the plant, has intoxicating (psychoactive) properties and, con­se­quent­ly, a direct influence on the central nervous system.

CBD oil has a relaxing effect

It all looks very different when it comes to hemp with a THC concentration of less than 1%. This is where hemp-based products with a higher content of cannabidiol (CBD) come into play. These products are not subject to the Narcotics Act and can therefore be used legally and without hesitation. In addition to the use of hemp in the food industry, it is CBD oil which enjoys great popularity. It falls into the category of food supplements and is touted as having anti-convulsant, anti-anxiety and anti-inflammatory properties. This is why it’s often used as a natural remedy for nervousness or as a sleep aid – with no headiness in sight.

Swiss hemp – produced regionally and legally

  • The cultivation of hemp with cer­ti­fied seeds is permitted in Switzerland.
  • Hemp producers must comply with strict guidelines and are subject to official controls.
  • Only hemp varieties with a THC level of <1% are permitted.

Why are hemp seeds so healthy?

Championed by nutritionists as a true superfood, hemp can easily be inte­grat­ed into our diets. Hulled hemp seeds in particular score well with their high nutrient density and interesting range of substances.

Other valuable substances:

  • fibre
  • vitamins, minerals
  • antioxidants, chlorophyll  
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The seeds contain more than 30% high-quality oil and, at a good 25-30%, are excellent sources of vegetable protein.

High-quality fats

A look at the fatty acid composition makes it clear how valuable the poly­un­sat­u­rated fatty acids the seeds contain are. Primarily, these are the two essential fatty acids of linoleic acid (omega-6) and alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3). It is the ratio of the two omega fatty acids to each other that is optimal for the body. Alpha-linolenic acid serves as a pre­cur­sor for the body's own EPA production. EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), which belongs to the class of omega-3 fatty acids, has already been well studied in terms of its protective functions against cardiovascular diseases, obesity and diabetes mellitus. Besides putting hulled hemp seeds in your muesli, another way of benefiting from the healthy fats is through cold-pressed hemp oil. This can be used as an alternative to olive or rapeseed oil in salads and other cold dishes.

Vegetable protein source

The high-quality, vegetable proteins in hemp are of great benefit to all, not only vegans. Extracted from the seeds of the hemp plant, hemp protein is an excellent source of vegetable protein con­sist­ing of the two particularly easily digestible proteins edestin and albumin. All nine essential amino acids that the body needs to receive through food are found in hemp. Particularly well re­pre­sent­ed is arginine, which contributes to cardio­vas­cular health, and glutamic acid, which is an important source of energy for cells and tissues. The biological value of hemp protein is somewhat lower than that of animal protein sources, but it will add welcome variety to your diet.

A vibrant array of uses

  • CBD oil: to relax, as a natural sleep aid, when tense or nervous, when in pain
  • Cold-pressed hemp oil: in a salad dressing, to enhance steamed vegetables (add oil separately)
  • Hemp seeds: in yoghurt and muesli, in salads, to garnish baked goods, in bread
  • Hemp butter from hemp seeds: as a sandwich spread, in muesli, in smoothies, for baking, for sauces
  • Hemp protein powder: as a protein shake, for baking, in home-made protein balls, in protein-rich pancakes

Recipe: Vegan hemp butter

It’s easy to make hemp butter yourself and enjoy the valuable nutrients of hemp seeds in their purest form. 5 minutes is all it takes to make 1 x 200g jar.

  • 200g organic hemp seeds (hulled)
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 1 preserving jar / jam jar
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Hemp butter can be used to add flavour to hearty dishes, in smoothies, for nutty salad dressings, in a muesli or as a sandwich spread.

Method

  1. Place the hemp seeds and sea salt in a high-speed blender.
  2. For an extra creamy butter, blend the mass for several minutes, pausing now and again to prevent the machine from overheating.
  3. Finish blending once you have reached the desired consistency.

Storage and shelf life

Hemp butter lasts a very long time. Always use a clean spoon to extract the butter from the jar and be sure to leave the oil layer that forms over time. Stir well before eating and enjoy. Store the butter in the fridge.

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