I went Costco shopping last week, and picked up a bag of Hemp Hearts. The sample-provider was eager to tout hemp’s nutritional value and tell me just how much protein and macros I get from just sprinkling some in my yogurt. I thought I’d give them a try.
For those who don’t know, hemp hearts are derived from seeds from the Cannabis plant. Besides making weed and health food supplements, hemp is also refined into hemp oil, wax, resin, rope, cloth, pulp, and fuel.
Taste and Texture
Upon opening my massive 28 oz bag, I realized hemp seeds smell a lot more than cashews or peanuts. The smell is dry and complex, like peanut butter or dry wood. The guy at Costco told me hemp hearts taste like chewy almonds, and after I ate a spoonful of them, I’d have to agree–except they’re just as dry as they smell. The lack of moisture resembles that of dried peanut butter or almond flour, though it’s not quite as uncomfortable as a spoonful of cinnamon (yup, tried it after watching Mythbusters).
In terms of texture, shelled hemp seeds are sort of like couscous, granular and almost crunchy. It’s manageable at first, but 2 or 3 spoonfuls in I had to quit. Hemp hearts aren’t something I’d snack on.
Per the Costco employee’s recommendations, I sprinkled about a spoonful hemp hearts into some Chobani blueberry-flavored Greek yogurt (which fyi, is loaded with a whopping 18 grams of protein). Plain yogurt and hemp don’t synergize particularly well.
So why should I eat this stuff in the first place? According to the package, 30 grams of hemp hearts has 10 grams of protein. That’s kind of a lot. Nonetheless, if I’m just sprinkling this stuff into my yogurt, hemp isn’t exactly an abundant protein source. What hemp does have are substantive amounts of minerals, namely phosphorus, zinc, magnesium, and manganese. Also notable are low saturated fat content, high proportion of omega-3 fatty acids, lack of cholesterol and sodium, and high dietary fiber.
Apparently hemp hearts might assist in digestion:
HempHearts.com suggests pairing the seeds with fibrous vegetables such as spinach, carrots, celery, beans or sprouts and avoiding starches to combat potential digestive issues.