A few years ago, as a food scientist, I was researching plant-based ingredients when I came across a technical paper on the nutritional aspects of hemp seed hearts and was amazed by how much nutrition this little seed packed.
Diving more into the topic, I learned that hemp was also a highly sustainable crop, especially when grown in organic systems.
Two questions popped into my mind, “Why aren’t more people eating hemp?” and “Could I use this to make the most delicious, healthier, and more environmentally friendly non-dairy gelato?”.
Since then, I’ve been on a mission to create the best non-dairy ice cream using hemp and other sustainable plant champs.
A PLANT POWERHOUSE
As a company driven to create Thoughtfully Sourced Treats, we love hemp seeds for their sustainability and nutritional benefits - plus they’re tasty too!
What is hemp exactly?
Often confused with the cannabis plants that are cultivated for marijuana, hemp (Cannabis sativa) is instead grown for its fiber and edible seeds. Although it also contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the levels are far too low to produce any psychoactive effects.
Hemp is an amazing, multi-purpose, sustainable plant; it can be used to create foods, paper, rope, medicines, textiles, building materials, and beyond.
How is hemp sustainable?
As a ‘weed’ itself, hemp grows incredibly well without the use of pesticides and requires low levels of water. Its thick canopy also blocks out sunlight, preventing other weeds from growing. The plant sequesters carbon dioxide and pulls up nutrients close to the surface of the soil, helping to heal any previous damage to the land and providing for the next set of crops.
What’s more, in many cases, almost the entire plant can be utilized for something! From the production of textiles using the stalk’s outer fiber to the creation of refreshing juices using its leaves, and ice cream made from the hearts of seeds, hemp really is incredibly versatile and sustainable.
Hemp seeds: nutrition benefits
This little seed is a plant powerhouse, as it’s one of the best plant-based sources for amino acids, protein, fiber, and essential fatty acids. In fact, more than 25% of its total calories can be attributed to protein.
Its high protein and healthy unsaturated fat content help give our ice cream an incredible texture and creaminess, without making it too heavy. Other hemp seed nutrients include vitamin E, phosphorus, potassium, iron, and other healthy minerals.
Hemp is also considered to be less allergenic than many plant proteins like nuts and peas.
Is hemp a superfood?
Whilst the majority of ‘superfoods’ don’t live up to their hype, the science certainly backs hemp’s claim to this distinguished title. So yes, many people consider hemp to be a superfood.
How is hemp used in food?
As the most nutritious part of the plant, the hemp seeds can be used in food products in various ways. The seeds can be processed whole or hulled, which is where the seed case is removed from the kernel.
Hemp seed shells can be used as dietary supplements due to their high fiber content. Whereas the whole and hulled seeds can be used to make anything from delicious plant-based ice cream to dips, breads, dairy-free milk, vegan cheese, oils, and allergy-friendly butters.
8 Fabulous Hemp Food Products
Packed with nutrients and great taste, the mighty hemp seed is beginning to shine in new products in every aisle of the supermarket. Seeing new hemp foods stand beside other plant champs and deliver amazing tastes, textures, and flavors makes us really excited!
Team Doozy loves to explore these new hemp food products and here are 8 that we really enjoy:
Shaun and Veronica of Grounded Foods are making “cheese-free cheese” from hemp seeds and cauliflower, with varieties like herb-marinated feta, black truffle & garlic cream cheese, and Camembert-style cheese. If this is the future of plant-based cheese, we are here for it!
Grain-free, sprouted hemp seed tortilla chips are the perfectly crispy super-food snack. Hemp nachos? Yes, please!
A dairy company founded in 1925 was reborn in 2017 as a plant-milk company and they are leading the way with simple, delicious plant milks. We especially love the Barista Edition Hemp Milk for its creaminess and the perfect froth in our cappuccinos. Hemp also shines in their other food products, including the Oat Creamers.
4. Evo Hemp
Ari Sherman and Jourdan Samel Co-Founded Evo Hemp in 2012 and have been hard at work establishing a supply chain of U.S. grown hemp, and they’re working to revive the country’s food agricultural system. We love their Cookie Dough Hemp Protein Bars, which are a great vegan snack and an even better ice cream topping. We recommend pairing them with our Vanilla Bean gelato.
Sfoglini is dedicated to sourcing top quality American organic grains and using traditional Italian methods which makes some of the best pasta out there! They have partnered with JD Farms, a USDA certified-organic farm in Upstate New York to create delicious, nutritious, nutty flavored, heart healthy hemp pasta.
6. Good Seed
Good Seed hemp seed burgers aren’t just delicious veggie burgers, they’re some of the best burgers, hands down. Their super-food patties are loaded with hemp seeds, chia seeds, mushrooms, and cauliflower are so flavorful you’ll never miss meat products.
Lumen created the world’s first USDA organic cold-pressed hemp juice, maximizing all the plant’s benefits in their range of nutritious and functional super-food shots. We appreciate that they go beyond organic requirements, working with regenerative farmers (like we do at Doozy Pots!) and aiming to be carbon negative in the future. Delicious and sustainable!