How to Use Hemp Seed Oil
Move over olive oil, hemp seed oil is coming for dinner.
Most people know what to do with olive oil. I mean, we’ve all heard so much about the health-giving benefits of olive and the Mediterranean diet over the last two decades that it’s become a staple in our kitchens. Hopefully, too, most of us have moved beyond tossing pasta and salad with the golden-green nectar and experienced the joy of dipping nan or a hunk of rustic peasant bread in warmed olive oil, preferably with a sprinkling of rosemary, basil and/or thyme swimming at the top of the bowl. But what does one do with hemp seed oil?
It might be tempting to joke “put that in your pipe and smoke it” but cold-pressed hemp seed oil shouldn’t be confused with hash oil or the grass-like stuff you baked into brownies when you were in college. This variety of cannabis, specifically Cannabis sativa L., lacks any detectable amount of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, more commonly expressed as THC. However, hemp does contain some stuff that’s really good for you. In fact, hemp seed oil is regarded as one of the most nutritious culinary oils there is.
According to a recent study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, hemp seed oil is rich in fatty acids, particularly linoleic (55%), α-linolenic (16%) and oleic (11%). The oil also contains a variety of cholesterol-lowering aliphatic alcohols. One of these, phytol, is noted for its antioxidant properties, as well as tocopherol, an organic compound that demonstrates vitamin E activity. As if that’s not enough, hemp seed oil also provides β-carotene, vitamins A, C and E, and minerals calcium, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium.
Flavor Profile & Other Characteristics
Hemp seed oil has a bold, rich, nutty flavor. The darker the color of the oil, the more robust the flavor. The deep green color is owing to the high level of chlorophyll present in the seeds. Because the oil contains up to 80% polyunsaturated fatty acids and less than 10% saturated fats, it makes an excellent culinary oil.
One caveat: never use the oil for frying or baking. This is because highly unsaturated vegetable oils, including hemp seed oil, are denatured by heating. which creates harmful trans-fatty acids. Also, once the bottle is opened, it should be stored in the refrigerator.
Combine with herbs and spices and use to marinate vegetables
Use in your favorite salad dressing recipes
Add as a finish to soups, stews and sauces
Toss with cooked pasta
Add to hummus, guacamole, bruschetta and pesto
Use as a dipping oil for breads and crackers
Substitute for olive oil in aioli for dips and sandwich spreads
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