Hemp seeds. Yes, they're legal and, no, you won't get high. More importantly, these little nutritional powerhouses are rich, nutty, and delicious.
Hulled hemp seeds are soft and somewhat chewy (a bit like cooked quinoa), with a creamy, nutty flavor similar to pine nuts and sunflower seeds. My favorite way to eat hemp seeds is in pesto as a substitute for nuts. They can also be tossed into baked goods and smoothies, sprinkled on top of salads and yogurt, and used to make homemade protein powder and hemp milk.
Although members of the same family, the variety of cannabis used for food and the variety used for marijuana are different plants. So you're not going to get a psychoactive high from a hemp seed brownie. What you will get is a good dose of nutrition: hemp seeds contain all the essential amino acids, which makes them a complete protein source. They also provide essential fatty acids, fiber, and iron.
It's still illegal to grow any kind of hemp in the US, so most hemp seeds are grown in Canada. Look for bulk or packaged hemp seeds at places like Whole Foods, or order them online from a source like Bob's Red Mill. To maintain freshness, store them in the refrigerator or freezer.
Emily Ho is a writer, recipe developer, and educator. She lives in Los Angeles, where she teaches classes on food preservation, wild food, and herbalism. Emily is a Master Food Preserver and founder of LA Food Swap and the international Food Swap Network.
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