Over the last decade hemp seed oil has become a staple on supermarket shelves for its natural ability to improve immune system functionality, its brain health and wound healing capabilities, and its strong anti-inflammatory effect. All benefits that arise from its natural production of gamma linolenic acid and the essential fatty acids omega 3 and 6.
Having gained some of the earliest licences for hemp seed production for the 2001/2002 growing season, Canterbury company Midlands Nutritional Oils has established itself as a market leader when it comes to hemp seed oil, and with the recent law change is continuing to pave its way forward.
‘The local production of hemp seed oil has been legal since 2002,’ explains Sales and Marketing Manager Nigel Hosking, ‘and since then we have seen a significant rise in the awareness of the health benefits associated with hemp seed foods.’ Unlike its more controversial cousin, marijuana, there are zero levels of the psychoactive component in these hemp seed foods, ensuring it is a safe and versatile food crop.
Following the change to the Food Standards Code, it then took another 18 months, until 12 November 2018, for the law to come into effect in New Zealand, creating a ‘wave of excitement’ for foodies.
For Nigel, the recent change in law allowed Midlands to increase their offering to consumers and meet a demand in the market. ‘We can now utilise the whole hemp seed and under our new hemisphere brand offer hemp protein, hemp seed flour and hemp seed hulled to consumers to use at home.’
Boasting a sweet nutty flavour, the versatility of these products is endless: they can be added to shakes, protein balls, milk shakes, stirred into ice cream, used as a garnish or mixed through salads as you would any other nut. A delicious balance of sweet and savoury, it is a household winner.
With little to no wastage in its production, it is a highly desirable cropping option. ‘Our local Canterbury climate is perfectly suited to it,’ continues Nigel, ‘and the stigma around growing it has faded in favour of demand.
‘High-end restaurants are now actively seeking it as an ingredient, as are large food production companies and we are thrilled to be able to supply them.’
No longer a ‘watch this space’ product, hemp is guaranteed to be 2019’s super food, with these new products set to be supermarket staples in the same way the oil has become.
For more information, visit midlandsnz.com.
WORDS Lucinda Diack
Hemp Seed Protein Bliss Balls
Makes 12-15 balls
1 cup dates
¹⁄₃ cup cashews, natural unsalted
¹⁄₃ cup almonds, natural unsalted
1 cup new hemisphere hemp
¹⁄₃ cup cacao powder
2 tbsp new hemisphere hemp
2 tbsp cacao butter
1 tbsp maple syrup
1. Cover and soak dates in hot water for 30-60 minutes.
2. Using a food processor, first blend the cashews, almonds, and half the amount of hemp seed hulled. Then add dates, cacao powder and hemp seed protein.
3. Melt the cacao butter and maple syrup together and add to the mixture.
4. Place the bliss ball mixture in a glass or stainless steel bowl in the refrigerator for at least an hour (this makes the mixture easy to roll).
5. Taking a teaspoonful of mixture, form a ball using your hands and then roll in remaining hemp seed hulled.
6. Store in the refrigerator or freezer.