While hemp has been popular for years in trendy clothing stores from the Haight to the Marina, the edible variety is showing up in more food products at grocery stores and natural food markets.
Advertised as the next substitute for soy, edible hemp is high in protein and Omega-3 and -6 fatty acids, and contains all nine essential amino acids.
Although you can’t get high from edible hemp, we couldn’t help wondering if altered states entered into the creation of some of these foods.
HempNut’s Cheese Alternative and Hempeh Burgers were downright inedible. The cheese, speckled with hemp seeds, cut like plastic and stubbornly resisted melting. The burgers, when warmed, gave off an unpalatable aroma that made Food department staffers shudder.
However, the hemp folks do have a good thing in shelled hemp seeds manufactured by HempNut, Nutiva and Mama Indica’s. Similar in size to sesame seeds, shelled hemp has a gentle nuttiness that would taste great toasted or sprinkled on cereal or salads. The seeds are also great additions to Nutiva’s tortilla chips, where they prolong the crispness of the chip.
Hemp seeds have also found their way into energy bars and peanut butter. Though not really enjoyable, we’d pick a spoonful of green-hued hemp butter over a hemp burger any day.
Edible hemp products from HempNut, Nutiva and Mama Indica’s are $1.59-$8 at Whole Foods, Rainbow Grocery, Real Food Co., Wild Oats and other Northern California natural foods markets.
Copyright © 2000, San Francisco Chronicle. All rights reserved.