Hemp is a variety of the Cannabis sativa plant. It has been cultivated widely as a cash crop for thousands of years. Hemp has many uses: the fibrous part of the plant is used to make ropes, paper and clothing. Now hemp oils, plastics and building materials are also available. Hemp seeds are considered highly nutritious and are used in a range of health products from energy bars to hemp seed milk.
Carbon tests show that hemp crops existed as far back as 8000 B.C. In the United States in the 18th century, farmers were ordered to grow hemp or face jail. Hemp was an important crop until the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act and later the Controlled Substances Act ended the cultivation of hemp in the United States. According to the health food site, Mahalo, Canadians were producing hemp seed milk back in 1873.
Although the hemp plant is closely related to the marijuana plant, its seeds do not contain any psychoactive substances, such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and are completely safe for consumption. Hemp is currently not a legal crop in the United States; however, hemp seeds are available from Canadian and European sources, and ready-made hemp seed milk is available for sale in the United States at health-food outlets.
According to to the "Hemp Line Journal," hemp seed is a near-perfect food with a balanced ratio of amino acids and essential fatty acids that boost the immune system, preventing conditions ranging from cardiovascular disease to cancers. It contains:
-- nine essential fatty acids
--six essential fatty acids
--Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, C and E
--Phosphorus, calcium, potassium, magnesium, silica and iron. (See References 5)
In addition, hemp seed protein is considered the most digestible form of protein for humans. Hemp seed milk is an ideal beverage for people who are lactose intolerant or have nut allergies, and anyone who wants a complete immune system-boosting food source. According to the Nourishing Gourmet website, hemp seed milk causes less gas and bloating than soy milk.
Hemp Seed Milk Recipe
To make hemp seed milk you will need a juicer suitable for nuts or a blender, one cup of shelled hemp seeds and five or six cups of water. Combine the hemp seeds and water in a blender. Blend on “high” speed for two to three minutes until creamy. Add honey, maple syrup, dates or other fruits to sweeten it, if desired, and blend again. Strain through cheesecloth for a thinner, smoother drink.
Hemp Seed Storage
Store hemp seeds to protect them from moisture. The seeds develop mold if kept in a damp environment, making them unsafe to use. However, hemp seeds stored in a dry place, in a well-sealed container, last for 12 to 24 months. Hemp seed milk keeps for one to two days kept in the refrigerator.