10 Things that you can do with hemp hearts

Published Dec 3, 2020 01:00 p.m. ET
iStock / marilyna

There is a lot of focus on the cannabis plant, but hemp is a not so distant relative that holds just as many benefits if you know where to look for them, and how to use it. There is an entire world of hemp products out there, including oils, tinctures, and hemp flower, but there’s another popular supplement option that is garnering attention as of late, and that is hemp hearts.

What are hemp hearts?

Hemp hearts sounds like a lovely name for a man-made and heavily processed food made from hemp flowers, which is what unsuspecting consumers might first believe before they try some for themselves, but the truth is that hemp hearts are no more than the tender insides of hemp seeds. Hemp seeds are just like any other shelled nut, they are hulled and bagged for sale which is why they can often be found in bulk food stores in the nut section.

Will hemp hearts get you stoned?

Hemp plants, in general, typically have very little THC, and the cannabinoid production occurs mostly within the flowers. Hemp hearts are not made of hemp flower, they are made from the seeds that the plants are grown from, and they contain none of the psychoactive ingredient that induces the stereotypical high. So no, you don’t have to worry about hemp hearts affecting you in the same way as cannabis, no matter how you choose to use them.

Do hemp hearts pose a risk if I need to take a drug test?

When you take a blood test, the person who processes it isn’t actually looking for cannabinoids like THC or CBD. Instead, they are screening for the presence of proteins that are left behind after consuming THC, something that you only have to worry about if you were ingesting that particular cannabinoid. Since hemp hearts have no THC within them, you don’t have to be concerned about them skewing the results of a drug test.

What to do with hemp hearts

Now that we’ve done our best to address any possible questions or concerns that you may have, it’s time to move on to putting a plan of action together. Hemp hearts can be used in so many ways that it is nearly impossible to list them all, but this list is an excellent place to start if you’re a beginner or seeking a bit of inspiration and direction on how to incorporate hemp hearts into different types of food and drink.

1. Baked goods

It really doesn’t matter what kind of baked goods you want to toss together, hemp
hearts will nearly always make an excellent addition, and the best part about this option is that the nutty flavor adds a twist that just can’t be replicated and it’s very delicious. You can toss them in whole or blend them down into a lour if you aren’t fond of a different texture, and just add a handful here or there to any dough, batter, or filling for a healthy boost.

2. Sauces or fillings

Whether you're making spaghetti sauce, alfredo sauce, or a sweet and savory dessert sauce for ice cream or filling cheesecake, hemp hearts can spice things up a notch. If you want to add them discreetly, then it’s definitely best to grind them up in a processor or blender beforehand, but if you’re comfortable with a bit of extra crunch in your sauce, then hemp heart can be added whole in this instance too.

3. Cereal

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and yet many of us rely on unhealthy eating habits because we need to be able to toss something together quickly just before heading out the door. This is why all grocery stores have an entire aisle dedicated to various types of cereal, even though, for the most part, it’s really not the best option for our health. Luckily all you need to make it better is a handful of hemp hearts in addition to your favourite flavor or as an alternative in oatmeal blends.

4. Salads

Salads are often viewed as one of the healthiest options on just about any menu, but if all you’re eating is a bowl of lettuce, then you aren’t going to get all of the nutrients and protein that you need. Luckily, like chia or sunflower seeds, hemp hearts can be thrown on top of almost any salad combination for a tasty addition that tastes great. The nutty taste and crunchy texture compliment the lettuce nicely, and it’s fast and easy. It really doesn’t get any better than that!

5. Yogurt or ice cream topping

Hemp hearts might not sound all that appealing at first, but once you experiment a bit, you’ll find that they work with both healthy and comfort foods. If you love a good cup of yogurt or a big bowl of chocolate ice cream, all you need to do is add a small handful of hemp hearts, and then you’ll have a delicious snack that hits the spot, that you also don’t have to feel guilty about.

6. Smoothies

Smoothies definitely aren’t an ideal place for seeds, especially if you want to be able to indulge in your creation with a straw, so you’ll want to blend up your hemp hearts for this one. Luckily, when you make a smoothie, you’ll need a blender anyway, so just start with a handful of hemp hearts, grind them down to dust, and then add in all of your favourite ingredients for a fast and easy hemp hearts drink that you won’t be able to get enough of.

7. Omelets

Eggs might seem like sort of a strange place for seeds, but this protein-filled food makes for the perfect combination thanks to the light undertones of the hemp hearts, which aren’t too noticeable at all. Now, technically, you could just sprinkle some onto your eggs for a fast breakfast, but if you have a bit of extra time, it’s best to grind them down, so that you can whisk the powder in the with rest of the omelet ingredients. Add a bit of cheese or spice, and no one will suspect a thing, but it will give them a boost.

8. Salad dressing

Hemp hearts are amazing whole, and they tend to store for quite a while too, but if you’re not a fan of the texture of nuts in your salad, then you might want to consider adding your hemp hearts to your favourite salad dressing instead. That way, you can grind them down to a powder, and mix them in a way that will give you the benefits without ever having to notice that they’re present in the dish at all.

9. Toast

Toast is another popular breakfast food, but there are very few things that you can spread on it, that will be any good for your health. Luckily, thanks to the bland nature of bread, you can use hemp hearts along with a dollop of butter to top your toast, or you can blend them down into dust and add them to peanut, jam, Nutella, and anything else that you might enjoy in the morning.

10. Soup

Soup is something that a lot of us turn to when we’re sick, as it can be hard to stomach heavier or greasy foods when you’ve got an upset stomach. Soup is great for you, and it’s light enough that it settles gently, but it really doesn’t have a whole lot of protein to fill you up for very long. However, that can be fixed with a couple of teaspoons of hemp hearts, which can be added whole, or ground down to a powder, so that you don’t even notice they’re there.

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