Hemp powder, seeds and oil
Hemp protein powder, hemp seeds and hemp oil all come from the very useful, fast-growing hemp plant and all are valuable for their nutritional properties. Their culinary use has been growing in recent years, particularly amongst those following plant-based diets, and is now becoming more mainstream. Although a relative of cannabis, edible hemp is low (less than 0.3 per cent) of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive component of marijuana.
Currently (2018), only the oil is able to be legally sold for culinary purposes in New Zealand. Other processed parts of the seed — like the hulled seed and high protein powder (a by-product of oil production) — are still sold as animal food in this country but the industry is eagerly anticipating the legislation update later this year (2018) enabling all hemp seed foods for human consumption.*
Different forms of edible hemp can be bought online (see Plant Culture) and in health food stores in this country.
Three tablespoons of hemp provide over 100 per cent of our recommended daily intake of magnesium. Per 100g, hemp seed contains more protein and iron than steak, more omega 3 than tuna, more dietary fibre than oats.
Nutty, creamy and green, hemp is very versatile. The powder may be added to smoothies or made into hemp milk. Aaron Brunet adds it to this tortilla dough. Simon Gault makes hemp seed, prune and whisky cake.
The seeds can be sprinkled on to salads and in to muesli; the oil drizzled as a finishing garnish over dishes (with a low smoke point it is better used raw). Most people find the hulled, rather than whole, seed tastes the best. Although cooking the seeds boosts the flavour, omega 3 breaks down at 50C so some of the health benefits will be lost through cooking.
* This change follows Australia’s lead; they beat us to it in November 2017, implementing the proposed legislation from Australia-New Zealand Food Standards Authority(ANZFSA). In April 2017, David Bennett [then NZ Minister for Food Safety] said [low THC] hemp seed was considered safe and nutritious.