What are Hemp Hearts?

What are Hemp Hearts - shutterstock_223966585It’s not uncommon to be confused when you initially come across hemp hearts. Most people are first introduced to hemp seeds, and are unfamiliar with hemp hearts. Both appear like seeds, and both come from the Cannabis sativa L. plant. So what’s the difference between hemp hearts and hemp seeds? And what are hemp hearts used for?

Hemp hearts are simply hemp seeds that have been shelled. While you can eat the entire hemp seed, the outer shells of hemp seeds are pretty hard. Some instead prefer the seeds’ soft and creamy insides, which are referred to as hemp hearts. Because hemp hearts offer natural benefits, they are popular as a snack and are often added to different recipes.

While you can buy hemp hearts, they’re often more expensive than hemp seeds. With a little bit of effort, you can shell your own hearts. Lay them out in a single layer on a hard surface like a wooden table. Place a wooden cutting board atop the seeds. Gently tap the board all over using a mallet. This will loosen the shells. Next, toss the seeds into a bowl of water. The outer shells will sink while the hearts will float to the top. Scoop out the hearts and lay them out to completely dry. If you find that some still have shells, you can crack them individually with the mallet.

Hemp hearts are a versatile food with a nutty flavor that can be incorporated into a number of dishes. For breakfast, you can toss them into your smoothies or sprinkle them over your cereal or yogurt. For lunch and dinner, you could sprinkle them onto salads and soups or mix them into your sandwiches. The hearts can also be ground up to make a variety of sauces like pesto and aioli or incorporated into brownie, cake and bread batters.

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