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Origin and Evolution of Hemp Foods

Cannabis, the amazing plant, has many variants or strains. Hemp is one of those variants. It is otherwise called Industrial Hemp. It is found mostly in the Northern Hemisphere. Cannabis is one of the fastest growing plants in the world.

Furthermore, it was one of the earliest plants to be cultivated and made into fiber. Hemp has many uses, such as textiles, clothing, plastics, insulation, biofuel and so on. Nevertheless, we want to focus on Hemp Foods.Hemp Plant NZ Merkaba

Evolution of Hemp Foods

Cannabis in Food

Cannabis edibles or cannabis-infused foods, as they are called, is anything edible that contains cannabinoids, particularly THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol). Cannabis edibles and drinkables are usually taken as an alternative method to inhalation options.

The earliest known case of food infused with cannabis was on the Indian Subcontinent. It is an ancient mixture, which is called Bhang. Dating back to 1000BCE, Bhang has been used in food and drink. Furthermore, it is part of an ancient Hindu tradition. In some parts of rural India, Bhang is used to cure ailments such as fever, indigestion, lisping, dysentery and so on.

 Hemp in India, milk for kings


Hemp Foods

On the other hand, Hemp Foods are food and beverages made from non-psychoactive cannabis products. Hemp Foods come in multple ways and forms in the world today. Hemp infused products are available at conventional grocery stores. They can be found in food products such as hemp oil, tea, milk and also, hemp infused drinks. It is also used in the preparation of some vegan recipes as well.

Hemp production is nothing new in America. It is interesting to note that more than a handful of past American presidents were hemp farmers themselves. These presidents include George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, Andrew Jackson, Zachary Taylor, and Franklin Pierce.  The United States Department of Agriculture even produced a short documentary in 1942, to promote the growing of hemp.

Hemp Foods have the allure of being nutritional, as well as medicinal.  One of the most nutritious superfoods in the world today is Hemp Foods. They can be eaten raw, grounded into a meal, or dried into a powder. Likewise, hemp seed contains a lot of protein, vitamins, and minerals, while also being gluten, soy, and wheat free.


Things hemp can make


There are two main variants of hemp seeds are...

Whole Seeds

Whole hemp seeds are very rich vitamins and minerals. They are highly nutritional, as well as having many medicinal benefits. Whole hemp seeds remain the only edibles seeds which contain GLA (gamma-linolenic acid). Furthermore, whole hemp seeds are an excellent source of fiber, as it co a high fiber content.

Shelled Seeds

Shelled Hemp Seeds are one of the most popular variants. Otherwise known as ‘Hemp Hearts’, Shelled Hemp Seeds are present in several baked goods which include bread, pretzels, granola bars and so on. They taste very similar to pine nuts, while also tasting better than soy protein.

There are no limits to its applications. To make Hemp Foods you can sprinkle it on anything you have to eat, to give it that extra nutty taste.  Be it any one of your vegan recipes, or the morning’s oatmeal, shelled hemp seeds are just the thing for you. Furthermore, shelled hemp seeds are used to make ice cream and hemp milk.


Shelled hemp seeds nz

Hemp Foods generally use shelled seeds and powders from the shells. These ingredients have high nutrient content and can be added to many different food types. Hemp Foods have so much variation it is crazy. It becomes a very good ingredient to have in vegan and gourmet restuarants trying to create twists. 

Other Applications of Hemp Food

Hemp Oil

Oil production is done by pressing, and cold pressing hemp seeds. It is widely known for its Omega-3 and Omega-6 benefits. It is a highly popular product with a myriad of uses. Hemp Oil is an excellent alternative to any other oil, including margarine and butter. However, it is not advised to use hemp oil to fry or sauté due to its low flash (smoke) point. The Oil is best used as food oil or as a dietary supplement.

There are two general types of Hemp Oil; refined and unrefined. The unrefined hemp oil is usually homemade. Unrefined hemp oil is rich in nutrients and vitamins, unlike refined hemp oil. The color of homemade or unrefined hemp oil tends to vary from light green to dark. However, it is important to note that the darker the color, the ‘grassier’ the flavor of the oil.


Hemp seed to Hemp seed oil


On the other hand, refined hemp oil is clear and colorless. In contrast to unrefined hemp oil, it has little flavor and lacks some primary natural ingredients. Therefore, refined hemp oil is majorly used for other uses and products. They are used mostly in body care products. Also, they are used in the production of lubricants, inks, plastics, and fuels.

Similarly, Hemp Oil is used as a wood finish. It is a drying oil, as it polymerizes into a solid form. It can be used solely on its own as a wood finish. Also, it is mixed with other oils, solvents, and resins. Furthermore, in oil paints, hemp oil is used as a pigment binder.

Hemp Juice

Juice is created by an industrial process, which involves cold pressing only the upper parts of the hemp plants as well as its leaves. The process separates the hemp juice from all the other by-products.

Hemp juice is very suitable for consumption. It also contains a very good amount of protein. Also, hemp juice doesn’t contain any ingredients with psychoactive properties. The juice has a very dark green color, and a bitter taste as well. Likewise, Hemp juice is used in the preparation of some vegan recipes.


Hemp juice


Hemp Milk

Milk is produced when hemp seeds are soaked and ground in water. Hemp seeds, water, and a blender are all that is required. Some recipes advise the use of vanilla or vanilla extract for flavoring and sweetening. The final product is similar to milk in flavor, texture, and color.


Hemp milk nz

Hemp Chocolate 

In the early 2010's many Hemp Foods began to make a rise. One type of food that many have tried to make is the hemp chocolate.  It can be made in various ways. Cacao beans are crushed and made into a mixture ready to infuse with hemp. Some mix hemp oil into the chocolate mixture to give a natural smooth Nutella chocolate or add less for a bar. You can also sprinkle hemp seeds into the mixture which gives nutrients and a bit of a crunch. Now you can eat chocolate that's healthier.


Hemp Chocolate products New Zealand



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