Hemp is fast-growing, thrives in a variety of soils and doesn’t require fertilisers or pesticides. While not currently one of the most commonly-consumed seeds, they have been a part of the diets of people in China and India for many centuries.
They are the same species as cannabis (marijuana), but hemp seeds don’t contain THC, the compound that causes the drug-like effects of marijuana. The small, crunchy seeds have a soft, buttery texture and are rich in omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids (good fats). They also contain protein, fibre and various vitamins and minerals, which justifies the recent re-discovery of these nutty flavoured seeds. A small serving of only 30 grams provides one gram of fibre, nine grams of protein, and a good source of iron. Hemp seeds are available in various forms: as oil, a milk substitute, flour and in many products (including dips, sauces, soups, crackers, biscuits, breads and salads). They can be eaten raw, made into hemp meal, sprouted or made into powder.
Hemp was one of the first plants to be spun into usable fibre, roughly 10,000 years ago. It goes beyond being a nutritional food source, as it can be refined into paper, renewable plastic, clothes and biofuel.