Plentiful Food for the Future: How Hemp Seeds are Made
Brush up on your knowledge and perspective of how hemp seeds are made as the crop makes a tremendous agricultural comeback.
3 Key Takeaways
Hemp seeds (classified as a nut or achene) are seeds or grain of non-drug varieties of cannabis sativa ssp. sativa (CS) crops, from pollinated females of various strains.
Most commercial hemp grain has been sterilized and comes in either full seed, dehulled hemp hearts, hemp seed protein powder, flour, seed cake, or cold-pressed oil forms.
Cold-pressed hemp seed oil isn’t the same as hemp plant or flower-biomass extracts. Commercial seed has little to no cannabinoids. Seed crops focus on seed and fiber, not cannabinoid content.
Introduction: To The Moon Alice!
What’s insane is that out of the massive number of edible plants on earth, a mere handful provides over 90% of human caloric intake. Talk about walking a tightrope...backwards and blindfolded!
These three alone account for the brunt and you know them well:
Rice - 4.3g protein per 1 cup of cooked long-grain white rice.
Corn (Maize) - 5.4g protein per cup of sweet yellow corn.
Wheat - roughly 13.2g protein in 100g of whole-grain wheat flour.
Hemp grain is about to become a whole lot more important to people everywhere. It’s no coincidence the 2018 Farm Bill legalized industrial hemp farming on the federal level for wide-scale seed, fiber, and biomass production in America.
Together with Canada and Mexico, industrial hemp crop acreage is going to explode across the Americas between 2020-2030. No one quite knows the exact numbers yet of course, but growth rates won’t outpace domestic demand for a good while.
Hemp grain will be a huge part of that and the infrastructures for large national supply chains are being built rapidly. Economic and environmental pressures and driving this and it’s going to end up as a huge nutritional benefit for consumers.
Hemp Seed - From Farm to Fork
Core consumer hemp seed products are the crunchy often toasted full seeds with hulls and dehulled hemp hearts by themselves or in other food products (breads, cereals, granolas, etc.), hemp seed milks like almond or rice milk but thicker and creamier, and oils.
Hemp grain crops are usually large-scale, thick-row plots of specific strains of CS. If we look to Canada who’s a long-time producer of hemp seed for food, in 2014 for example they leaned on genetic strains with normal sounding names like Finola, Delores, or Joey. They grow quickly, then are harvested with conventional rotary combines once seeds begin to shatter and moisture is at 22-30%.
From there the grain is further separated from fiber and biomass via machinery, then isolated and cleaned to remove 99.9% of any residual plant matter. No different than any other commercial bean or nut.
Color & Appearance
What farmers look for are grayish-brown seeds that have matured to sport dark markings. Seeds which are damaged, weathered, or immature are usually colorless or very light brown and removed through cleaning.
After this the seed can be toasted and covered in chocolate, sent to mills to make flour or protein powders, turned into seed cake for animal feed, and on and on the list goes. Some of the core nutritional tenants are:
Like flax, hemp seed is 35% oil with superior omega 3, 6, and 9 ratios.
Hemp seed is a complete source of all 20 known amino acids.
Edestin and albumin are the two main proteins in the seed: highly bioavailable.
Hemp seed contains vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6, C, D and E; highly bioavailable.
The Multi-Purpose Environmental Angle
As a consumer, when you support a hemp farmer through purchasing hemp seed products, you’re likely also supporting hemp fiber and biomass markets. There’s a lot left of the plant once seed is removed, and all of it can be used to manufacture ecologically-friendly consumer, construction, and industrial goods.
The more hemp is farmed, the more environmental benefits compound through the carbon-capture, reclaiming damaged or nutrient-deficient soil, and displacing conventional fuel or animal protein sources.
Hemp seed is arguably one of the best investments for health and environmentally-conscious consumers. Each purchase makes a difference, displacing conventional plastics, woods, fossil fuels, and far more harmful crops.