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Cooking with Hemp

By Pat Rasmussen

Hemp History Week is June 3 - 9 and you can taste hemp foods at the Eastside and Westside Co-ops each day that week from 3 - 7 pm and at the Olympia Farmers Market Thursday through Sunday 10 am to 3 pm. Cooking with Hemp classes will be offered on the weekend through the Co-op and at the Farmers Market.

Hemp is a complete protein, contains all 10 essential amino acids, is a solid source of critical protein for vegans, hemp flour is gluten free, and hemp is rich in Omega 3, Omega 6, vitamins B and E, calcium, potassium and fiber. The Olympia Food Co-op sells many hemp products -hemp seeds, hemp oil, hemp bars, Dr. Bronners hemp oil soaps, hemp protein powders. You can sprinkle hemp seeds on your salads, bake them in breads, put them in smoothies, make your own hemp protein bars and make your own hemp milk.

Hemp History Week is a national week of action to help us remember that hemp was once basic to American farming and life. America's first hemp law was enacted in 1619 at Jamestown Colony, Virginia, ordering all farmers to grow hemp. 'Must grow' hemp laws were enacted throughout Massachusetts, Connecticut and the Chesapeake Colonies.

From 1600 to the early 1800's, hemp was 'legal tender' and taxes could be paid with hemp throughout most of the U.S.. Farmers who did not grow hemp could be arrested and jailed in Virginia.

In 1776, the first and second drafts of the Declaration of Independence were written on hemp paper. In 1777, the Stars and Stripes was endorsed as the Capitol Flag of the U.S.A. and made of hemp fabric. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew hemp on their plantations. Abraham Lincoln used hemp-seed oil to fuel his household lamps.

In 1850, the U.S. census records 8,327 hemp plantations of 2,000 acres or more and an uncalculated number of small hemp farms. The February, 1938 issue of Popular Mechanics ran a story, titled: "New Billion Dollar Crop," saying hemp could "produce more than 25,000 products."

All that changed when powerful corporations like Dupont, that wanted plastics to replace hemp, and Randolph Hearst, who wanted trees to replace hemp for paper, lobbied to get the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 passed to prohibit the growing of industrial hemp. That law is still in effect today. The hemp foods and oils we buy come from Canada, where farmers get $200 an acre to grow hemp, while farmers on this side of the border get $50 an acre to grow wheat and soy.

Hemp for food is from a similar but different plant than marijuana. It's not for smoking. It has almost no THC. Legislation for industrial hemp farming is separate from medical marijuana or recreational marijuana. It's about letting farmers grow hemp for food, clothing, paper, hempcrete and many other uses. Many marijuana smokers don't even know there is a food hemp.

Cannabis has been a sacred plant in Japan for 15,000 years and the Shinto religion is based on it. The priests use the plant for food, paper, clothing, and priests carry branches of it in ceremony.

The industries that want to keep us from growing industrial hemp for food and other uses try to confuse the two to keep industrial hemp from becoming legal although it's a clear difference in reality.

We can bring hemp farming back. This past Washington legislative session saw bills like HB1888 to allow farmers to grow industrial hemp come through and we can make sure they get passed next year. Bills at the national level also appear to be progressing. In the meantime, let's eat hemp!

For more information or to take action go to: www.votehemp.com. For more information about tabling opportunities during Hemp Fest, contact Pat Rasmussen at patr@crcwnet.com, 509-669-1549.

Hemp Milk
Ingredients: 1/4 cup shelled hemp seeds, 1 cup water, flavorings (vanilla, maple syrup or honey)
Directions: Place seeds into a blender and add small amount of water 1 inch above the seeds. Turn blender on at multiple speeds and agitate seeds so they become a thick hemp cream. Then add the rest of the water and either vanilla, maple syrup or honey.

Hemp Ice Cream
Follow the recipe for Hemp Milk but skip the second step of adding more water and consider adding more fruit instead -banana, berries or peaches are ideal. Place the thick hemp milk in a container or ideally in ice cube trays and then freeze for 5 + hours.

Chocolate Hemp Squares
In a double boiler, melt 2 pounds of chocolate chips with cup coconut oil. Add 1 cup each of walnuts, almonds, pecans and hemp seeds - can add other seeds too like pumpkin and sunflower. Spread in a coconut oiled cookie sheet, cool in freezer. Cut in squares. Yum...

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Updated 2015/01/07 21:14:22