Hemp is one of the earliest domesticated plants known. Because of its resistance and speed of growth, it is one of the most environmentally friendly crops as it requires few pesticides and no herbicides at all.
In modern times it has been used to make paper, textiles, biodegradable plastics, construction, clothing, food and fuel and it is recognised as one of the fastest growing biomasses available to us.
The scientific name for Hemp is Cannabis sativa and that brings us to another use that has widely been made of the plant and which has brought its cultivation to disrespect in many western countries in recent years: namely drugs.
Cannabis sativa, however, typically contains only 0.3% of tetrahydrocannabirol which is not really enough to have any physical or psychological effect on us. It is another variety of cannabis called Indica, which is generally used for both recreational and medicinal drugs.
Since the year 2007 various hemp food products have hit the market with ever increasing commercial success and now the prestigious Universita' dei Sapori (University of Flavours) of Perugia, in Italy, has revealed 4 original recipes inspired by traditional Italian cooking based on ingredients such as hemp seeds, oil, leaves or flour.
According to the University hemp has high nutritional values since it is rich in carbohydrates, vitamins, fibres and minerals and is also very good to eat because of its slightly sweet taste, similar to that of hazelnuts.
The four recipes proposed are:
Tortino di zucca in crosta di cavolo verza con fonduta allo zafferano e pesto di canapa (Pumpkin pie in cabbage crust with a fondue made with saffron and hemp pesto).
To make the pesto you need to put the hemp leaves in boiling water and then whisk them together with olive oil.
Vellutata di patate con cannelloni verdi di canapa alle lenticchie e guanciale croccante (Potato cream and green hemp cannelloni with lentils and crispy bacon).
In this case hemp flour can be used together with traditional 00 flour to make the dough for the cannelloni and then hemp seeds can be placed on top together with the bacon
Medaglione di vitello bardato con funghi porcini e verdurine tornite e canapa (Veal medallion dressed with mushrooms, vegetables and hemp).
Both hemp oil and seeds to be used to garnish the veal at the end of the cooking.
Semifreddo al sedano nero e lime con spuma alla canapa e cru di cioccolato (black celery and lime semifreddo with hemp and chocolate foam).
To make the foam infuse the hemp leaves with whipped cream and sugar.
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