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Hemp Seeds

Hemp Seeds 101 – The Basics

Hemp seeds are interesting little seeds that have a strong nutritional punch to them. If you want an easy way to boost the health benefits of your foods, include some of them in whatever you want and your body will thank you for it. The following is a comprehensive article covering all about hemp seeds.


Hemp Seeds 101 – The Basics

About Hemp Seeds
Hemp seeds are the seeds of the plant family, Cannabis sativa. They are the same species classification as the cannabis/marijuana plant, but are a different variety. So, they are completely different plants. Hemp seeds do not cause any mind-altering effects.

Hemp seeds have a mild, nutty flavor and the hulled seeds are sometimes referred to as hemp hearts. They can be eaten raw, cooked, or roasted. Hemp seed oil has been used as food and medicine in China for over 3,000 years.

Nutrition Tidbits and Health Benefits
Hemp seeds are very nutritious. They are about one-third fat, being rich in the omega-6 fat, linoleic acid, and the omega-3 fat alpha-linolenic acid. They have a ratio of 3:1, omega-6 to omega-3, which is considered to be the optimal ratio for health.

They are also a great source of protein, Vitamin E, and the minerals phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron and zinc. About one-fourth of the calories in hemp seeds comes from protein. Furthermore, the protein in hemp seeds is considered to be almost a complete protein, containing all the essential amino acids, which is unusual in plant foods. (They are a little short in the amino acid lysine to have the complete balance of amino acids that humans need to be considered “complete.”) Two to three tablespoons of hemp seeds provides about 11 grams of protein. They are also a very digestible protein, being better than many grains, nuts and legumes.

Hemp seeds may help reduce your risk for heart disease. They are rich in the amino acid arginine, which produces the gas nitric oxide in the body. This gas makes your blood vessels relax and dilate, thereby reducing blood pressure. Increased arginine intake has been shown to correspond with lower levels of C-reactive protein, an inflammation marker associated with increased risk for heart disease.

Hemp seeds and hemp seed oil may also improve skin disorders such as eczema, atopic dermatitis, and acne. Studies suggest that the immune system works at its best when the omega-6 and omega-3 fats are properly balanced. Recent research has shown that eczema is actually an autoimmune condition. Because of the optimal balance of essential fatty acids in hemp oil, studies have shown that the oil may relieve the dry skin and itchiness of eczema, reducing the need for skin medications, and helping to correct the condition internally.

Studies have shown that the high levels of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) in hemp seeds may reduce the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) in women. Women experienced reduced breast pain and tenderness, depression, irritability, and fluid retention associated with PMS. Studies indicate that the high GLA content of hemp seeds may also reduce the symptoms experienced during menopause. The oils in hemp seeds produce prostaglandin E1, which reduces the effects of prolactin, the hormone that appears to cause the symptoms experienced during PMS. During menopause, the oils in hemp seeds may help to regulate hormone imbalances.

Whole (unhulled) hemp seeds are also a good source of fiber, both soluble and insoluble, which helps to improve digestion and cleanse the colon. Whole hemp seeds are crunchy and are more shelf-stable than the hulled version. It is noteworthy that sometimes the hull can get stuck in teeth or dental work. Hence, some people avoid the whole seeds for this reason. Hulled hemp seeds do contain some fiber, however, they do not have the colon-cleansing effect of the whole seeds because the outer hull which contains most of the fiber has been removed.

How to Select Hemp Seeds
When buying hemp seeds, look for those packaged in air-tight, opaque containers that will protect them from light and air. Look for a “best by” date and opt for the freshest you can find.

How to Store Hemp Seeds
Once opened, store your hemp seeds in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer, where they will keep for about a year. If kept on the pantry shelf, they may last only three or four months before starting to go rancid. If you notice any “off” smell to them, throw them away, as they have started to spoil and should not be eaten.

Quick Ideas and Tips for Using Hemp Seeds

Here are some simple ways to include hemp seeds into your diet…

* Sprinkle whole or shelled hemp seeds onto cereal, hot or cold.

* Add a spoonful of hemp seeds to yogurt for a nutty flavor and nutritional boost.

* Add hemp seeds to a smoothie.

* Add some hemp seeds to baked goods when mixing dry ingredients.

* Sprinkle some hemp seeds onto a salad of any type.

* If using whole hemp seeds, grinding them in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle can help to make them more digestible.

* Hemp seeds are completely gluten free, so those who are sensitive to gluten can freely eat them.

* Add hemp seeds to breading mixture when coating foods for frying or baking. Or, simply use hemp seeds in place of bread crumbs when mixing breading ingredients.

* Make hemp seed milk in the same way you would make your own almond milk.

* Use hemp seed oil only as a “finishing” oil, rather than cooking with it or heating it in some way. This will maintain the quality of the fatty acids, and avoid breaking them down from the heat. Use hemp seed oil to make salad dressings, add flavor to cooked vegetables, and drizzle over popcorn, pasta dishes, cooked grains such as rice, or even pizza.

* Sprinkle hemp hearts (hulled hemp seeds) on cooked vegetables of any type.

* Add some hulled hemp seeds to burgers of any sort, meat or meatless.

* Add some hulled hemp seeds to soups, sauces, stews, tomato sauce, pesto, and casseroles for a little nutty flavor and nutritional boost.

* Add hemp hearts to any chia seed pudding.

* Add hemp hearts to pancake or waffle batter.

Foods That Are Known to Go with Hemp Seeds
Protein, Nuts, Seeds: Almonds, beans (white), cashews and cashew butter, eggs, walnuts

Vegetables: Bell peppers, cabbage, carrots, celery root, mushrooms, onions (green), squash (winter), vegetables (in general), watercress

Fruit: Avocados, berries (in general), blackberries, lemon, lime

Grains and Grain Products: Baked goods, breading (for meats, fish, poultry), cereals, grains (whole), noodles, oatmeal, popcorn, rice

Dairy and Non-Dairy: Cheese (cottage), yogurt

Other Foods: Chocolate, oil, vinegar (esp. white wine)

Herbs: Cilantro

Hemp seeds have been used in…
Baked goods (breads, cookies, muffins, piecrusts, quick breads), cereals (hot and cold), chili (vegetarian), dips, granola, pestos, pilafs, salad dressing, salads (green), smoothies, soups, spreads (i.e. chickpea), stir-fries, trail mixes, and veggie burgers

Recipe Links

18 Creative and Delicious Hemp Seed Recipes https://ohmyveggies.com/hemp-seed-recipes/

Hemp Seed Recipes: How to Use Hemp Seeds https://www.thespruceeats.com/hemp-seed-recipes-3376948

39 of the Best Hemp Recipes Ever (and Why Hemp is a Super Healthy Food) https://www.kindearth.net/39-of-the-best-hemp-recipes-ever-and-why-hemp-is-a-super-healthy-food/

11 Delicious Hemp Seed Recipes https://hempseedhealth.com/hemp-seed-recipes/

Gluten-Free Vegan No-Bake Hemp and Chia Seed Bars https://thehealthyfamilyandhome.com/raw-hemp-and-chia-seed-bars/#wprm-recipe-container-143126











Page, Karen. (2014) The Vegetarian Flavor Bible. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company.


About Judi

Julia W. Klee (Judi) began her journey enjoying “all things food” in elementary school when she started preparing meals for her family. That love of food blossomed into a quest to learn more and more about health and wellness as related to nutrition. She went on to earn a BS Degree in Food and Nutrition, then an MS Degree in Nutrition. She has taught nutrition and related courses at the college level to pre-nursing and exercise science students. Her hunger to learn didn’t stop upon graduation from college. She continues to research on a regular basis about nutrition as it relates to health. Her hope is to help as many people as possible to enjoy foods that promote health and wellness.

Sugar Snap Peas

Sugar Snap Peas 101 – The Basics

Sugar snap peas are absolutely delicious, whether enjoyed raw or lightly cooked. They’re sweet, crunchy, delicious, and nutritious. AND the pods are edible, so you don’t even need to shell them! Simply give them a quick wash and pop them in your mouth…oh so good! If you haven’t tried them, please do give them a whirl. Below is a lot of information about these delectable goodies from what they are, to how to cook and flavor them, to suggested recipes, and much more.


Sugar Snap Peas 101 – The Basics

About Sugar Snap Peas
Sugar snap peas, also known as snap peas, are members of the legume family. They are a cross between snow peas (flat pea pods commonly used in Asian stir-fries) and garden peas (shelled, and used in “peas and carrots”). Unlike garden peas, the whole pea, pod and all, of snap peas can be eaten. It is crunchy and sweet. They have tough “strings” at the seams of the pod that some people prefer to remove before eating the whole peas. Snap peas can be eaten whole, raw or cooked.

Nutrition Tidbits
Snap peas contain Vitamins K and C along with a variety of B-Vitamins, folate, iron and beta-carotene. They are a good source of fiber as well. One cup of snap peas has only 41 calories, no fat, and 3 grams of protein.

How to Select Sugar Snap Peas
Look for snap peas that are bright green, smooth, and without blemishes. Avoid those that are spotted, discolored, or wrinkled.

How to Store Sugar Snap Peas
Depending upon how old they are when you purchase them, snap peas can keep for up to five days in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Discard any that have become soft or discolored.

How to Preserve Sugar Snap Peas
To freeze sugar snap peas, wash them well and remove the ends and strings if desired. Place them in boiling water for 1-1/2 minutes, then immediately place them in a bowl of ice water for 2 minutes. Remove and allow them to drain well. Place them on a tray and freeze for one or two hours, so they are frozen separately. When frozen, place them in freezer containers or bags and return them to the freezer. They will keep well like this for 8 months.

Some people choose to freeze snap peas without blanching, by simply placing the washed peas (that have been frozen individually on a tray) in a freezer bag and storing them in the freezer. If you choose to do this, use them within 4 to 6 weeks. If frozen that way, the longer they are stored, the more they will lose their color, flavor, and nutritional content.

Can they be eaten raw?
Snap peas can be enjoyed raw or cooked. The pod is edible, so you can just pop the whole thing in your mouth and enjoy the natural sweetness and crunchiness of the pea for a snack or in salads.

Quick cooking methods such as stir-frying or blanching snap peas will help to maintain their sweetness and crunchy texture.

How to Prepare Sugar Snap Peas
Of course, give your snap peas a good wash before using them. Some people prefer to remove the ends and the string that runs along the seam on the pod, although this step is not mandatory. They can be enjoyed whole or cut as needed for your recipe.

Cooking/Serving Ideas
Sugar snap peas can be eaten raw as a snack or used as a healthful and crunchy addition to any salad. They can be steamed, blanched, boiled, braised, sautéed, stir-fried, or added to soups, pasta dishes, and casseroles. To keep the crispiness of snap peas, eat them raw or cook them very briefly.

Here are some easy ideas for using sugar snap peas:

* Eat them raw as a simple snack…delicious!

* Slice them and add them to your favorite salad for sweetness and crunch.

* Sauté your sugar snap peas and top them with a little lemon zest, salt and pepper.

* Lightly coat them with olive oil, sprinkle them with garlic powder and roast at 400°F for 15 to 20 minutes (turn once during roasting), until they are as crisp and brown as you like. Sprinkle with a little Parmesan cheese and enjoy!

* Add them to a chicken or beef stir-fry dish.

* Stir-fry sugar snap peas with shredded carrots, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, and a little tamari. Serve over cooked quinoa, then top with a little lemon juice or white wine vinegar, and toasted pepitas.

* Add them to your favorite stir-fry noodle dish.

* Add sugar snap peas to orange stir-fried chicken served over rice.

* Add them to your favorite vegetable stir-fry combination.

* Slice sugar snap peas and add them to a veggie pizza.

* Add them to a salad with strawberries, avocado and walnuts on a bed of mixed greens. Top with a lemon honey vinaigrette. (See recipe link below.)

* Blanch peas for 1-1/2 minutes, then cook them for 2 minutes in a bowl of ice water. Drain then transfer them to a bowl. Top with your favorite Italian salad dressing. Enjoy!

Herbs/Spices That Go Well With Sugar Snap Peas
Basil, butter and browned butter, chervil, chives, cilantro, cumin, curry powder, dill, garlic, ginger, horseradish, marjoram, mint, mustard (Dijon), parsley, pepper (black), sage, salt, scallions, shallots, soy sauce, sugar, tarragon, thyme

Foods That Go Well with Sugar Snap Peas
Proteins, Nuts, Seeds: Beef, cashews, peanuts, peas, pine nuts, pistachios, sesame, tofu

Vegetables: Asparagus, bell peppers, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, chiles, fennel, mushrooms, onions, radishes, water chestnuts

Fruit: Lemons

Dairy and Non-Dairy: Cheese (ie Parmesan), coconut milk, yogurt

Grains: Noodles, pasta, rice, whole grains of any sort

Other: Miso, oils, vegetable stock

Some Suggested Flavor Combinations:

Try sugar snap peas with…
basil + garlic
chiles + garlic + lemon
cumin + thyme
dill + olive oil + scallions
garlic + lemon zest + pasta
garlic + mushrooms
garlic + pine nuts
ginger + sesame oil
lemon + mint
mustard + olive oil + vinegar
noodles/pasta + peanut sauce + soy sauce
sesame oil + sesame seeds

Recipe Links
Black Pepper and Garlic Sugar Snap Pea Pasta https://www.slenderkitchen.com/recipe/black-pepper-and-garlic-sugar-snap-pea-pasta#recipe

Snap Pea and Japanese Eggplant Stir-Fry https://www.slenderkitchen.com/recipe/snap-pea-and-japanese-eggplant-stir-fry#recipe

Garlic Sugar Snap Peas https://www.slenderkitchen.com/recipe/garlic-sugar-snap-peas#recipe

Sesame Sugar Snap Peas https://www.slenderkitchen.com/recipe/sesame-sugar-snap-peas#recipe

Citrus Shrimp Salad and Sugar Snap Peas with Romaine Hearts https://producemadesimple.ca/citrus-shrimp-salad-sugar-snap-peas-with-romaine-hearts/

5 Easy Lunch Ideas with Sugar Snap Peas https://producemadesimple.ca/5-easy-lunch-ideas-sugar-snap-peas/

Scallop Fettuccine and Sugar Snap Peas https://producemadesimple.ca/scallop-fettuccine-sugar-snap-peas/

10 Minute Sugar Snap Peas With Lemon https://www.asweetpeachef.com/sugar-snap-peas/#wprm-recipe-container-20390

14 Spring Sugar Snap Pea Recipes You Need to Try This Season https://www.delish.com/cooking/g74/sugar-snap-pea-recipes/

Asian Been with Sugar Snap Peas https://www.thechunkychef.com/asian-beef-sugar-snap-peas/#wprm-recipe-container-8743

Summer Strawberry, Snap Pea, Avocado, and Walnut Salad http://healthcheflindsey.com/summer-strawberry-snap-pea-avocado-and-walnut-salad/

About Judi
Julia W. Klee (Judi) began her journey enjoying “all things food” in elementary school when she started preparing meals for her family. That love of food blossomed into a quest to learn more and more about health and wellness as related to nutrition. She went on to earn a BS Degree in Food and Nutrition, then an MS Degree in Nutrition. She has taught nutrition and related courses at the college level to pre-nursing and exercise science students. Her hunger to learn didn’t stop upon graduation from college. She continues to research on a regular basis about nutrition as it relates to health. Her hope is to help as many people as possible to enjoy foods that promote health and wellness.






Page, Karen. (2014) The Vegetarian Flavor Bible. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company.

Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti Squash 101 – The Basics

If you’re avoiding traditional pasta for whatever reason and are missing it, have you tried spaghetti squash? It’s a nutrient-dense food that is low in calories and carbohydrates. It’s easy to cook and can be used in many dishes that call for traditional pasta noodles. Give it a try sometime! Below is a lot of information that can help as you explore this versatile food.

I hope this helps!

Spaghetti Squash 101 – The Basics

About Spaghetti Squash
Spaghetti squash are members of the Cucurbitaceae family. They are cousins with pumpkins, zucchini, and gourds. They are also known as vegetable spaghetti, noodle squash, mandarin squash, and vegetable marrow. Historians have found written records of the use of spaghetti squash in China from the early 1800s. It has since become popular around the world as a low-carbohydrate alternative to traditional spaghetti.

Spaghetti squash are small to medium in size with an oblong shape and are heavy for their size. The flesh is thick, dense and moist, and separates into long, translucent strings that look similar to pasta. When cooked, the flesh is tender and has a slight crunch and mild flavor. Spaghetti squash is often paired with marinara sauce, meatballs and Parmesan cheese, making a delicious mock spaghetti meal.

Nutrition Tidbits
Spaghetti squash is a nutrient dense food, meaning it is high in nutrients relative to its low number of calories. It is a good source of fiber, Vitamin C, manganese, and Vitamin B6. One cup of cooked spaghetti squash has a mere 42 calories.

Spaghetti squash is also high in antioxidants, particularly beta-carotene, known to help protect our cells from free-radical damage and ward off chronic diseases.

How to Select a Spaghetti Squash
Choose squash that are firm and free of spots and cracks. They should be heavy for their size. If possible, choose one that still has a bit of stem attached, as it can help prevent bacteria from entering the squash.

How to Store Spaghetti Squash
Store unwrapped squash in a cool, dry, and well ventilated place for up to 3 months, depending upon how old they are when you buy them. The ideal storage temperature would be 55 to 60°F. If you refrigerate them, they will keep for 1 or 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

To store cut squash, tightly wrap the cut section in plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator and use it as soon as possible.

How to Preserve Spaghetti Squash
Cooked spaghetti squash strands can be stored in the freezer for up to 8 months. It’s helpful to remove any excess water first. Place the baked squash in a colander over a large bowl. Cover and place it in the refrigerator overnight. This will help drain off any excess water. Then carefully place the drained strands in a freezer bag and squeeze out the air, or place them in an air-tight freezer container. Store in freezer.

How to Prepare Spaghetti Squash
Preparing a spaghetti squash is easy. Simply wash it, then cut it in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds by scraping them out with a spoon. Place each half, cut side down, on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and roast at 400F until fork tender. The time will vary depending upon the size of the squash.

When tender, remove from the oven and allow it to cool slightly until it can be comfortably handled. Then turn it over and loosen the squash strands with a fork. Remove them to a bowl and proceed with your recipe. The squash strands can be flavored to your liking and eaten right away without further cooking, if desired.

If you prefer not to cut the squash, simply wash it then poke holes in it with a sharp knife. Roast on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet or pan at 400F until fork tender. Allow to cool until it can be handled. Cut the squash in half and remove the seeds. With a fork, release and remove the strands and prepare as desired.

Cooking/Serving Ideas
Use cooked spaghetti squash strands as if they were cooked spaghetti. Their use is only limited to your imagination!

For a decorative way to serve spaghetti squash, reserve the halved shells after removing the strands. Prepare your recipe, then use the shell halves as serving bowls.

Simple serving ideas:

* Toss the cooked squash strands with your favorite tomato sauce. Add meat of choice, if desired, and sprinkle with cheese. Serve in the shell halves for a decorative touch!

* Combine cooked squash strands with your favorite stir-fried veggies.

* Toss cooked squash strands with your favorite pesto. Top with cut grape tomatoes and your favorite cheese.

* Sauté chopped garlic in butter or olive oil. Stir in cooked spaghetti squash strands until heated. Remove to a serving platter and sprinkle generously with Parmesan cheese.

* Sauté cooked squash strands in some butter or olive oil with a mixture of fresh basil, parsley and chives. A touch of garlic would be a nice addition. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Top with Parmesan cheese, if desired.

* Toss cooked squash strands with steamed broccoli, a little olive oil, and a sprinkle of lemon pepper. If desired, top with Parmesan cheese.

* Spread cooked spaghetti squash strands on an ovenproof baking pan. Top with tomato sauce and your favorite pizza toppings. Sprinkle with some oregano and mozzarella cheese. Bake at 400F until the topping is hot and cheese is bubbly, about 20 minutes.

* Incorporate cooked spaghetti squash into your favorite pasta casserole in place of the pasta.

Suggested Flavor Combos:
* Spaghetti squash + balsamic vinegar + kidney beans

* Spaghetti squash + basil + garlic

* Spaghetti squash + basil + tomatoes

* Spaghetti squash + brown butter + hazelnuts

* Spaghetti squash + garlic + tomatoes

* Spaghetti squash + mozzarella cheese + tomatoes

* Spaghetti squash + mushrooms + onions

The following tips for cooking spaghetti squash were provided by https://producemadesimple.ca/spaghetti-squash/

* If you roast spaghetti squash whole (not cut it half), make sure you poke a few holes in it with a fork for the steam to escape or you just may end up with a squash explosion to clean up!

* 1 pound of squash yields about 1-½ cups cooked spaghetti squash.

* Microwaving spaghetti squash will yield a softer “pasta” with shorter strands, while baking squash will yield more of an al dente bite to the squash with longer strands.

* Check the doneness of squash by pressing on the skin. It should give slightly when the squash is tender and cooked.

* If you don’t have a sharp knife for cutting the raw squash in half, you can pierce the squash a few times, the microwave it on high for 2 minutes. It will be easier to slice this way before roasting.

Herbs/Spices That Go Well With Spaghetti Squash
Basil, bay leaf, black pepper, cilantro, garlic, ginger, parsley, pesto, salt, rosemary, sage, soy sauce, sugar, thyme

Other Foods That Go Well With Spaghetti Squash
Proteins: Bacon, beans, eggs, lentils, pork, sausage, seafood, toasted nuts, walnuts

Dairy: Butter and browned butter, cheese, cream

Vegetables: Bok choy, broccoli, carrots, fennel, mushrooms, onions, parsnips, peppers (bell and chiles), scallions, tomatoes, zucchini

Grains: Bulgur, quinoa

Other: Oil, lemon, vinegar

Recipe Links
68 Healthy Spaghetti Squash Recipes That Are Full of Flavor https://www.countryliving.com/food-drinks/g2682/spaghetti-squash-recipes/

23 Spaghetti Squash Recipes That Will Make You Forget You’re Eating Veggies https://www.delish.com/cooking/g3001/spaghetti-squash/

Our Top Spaghetti Squash Recipes https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/photos/top-spaghetti-squash-recipes

50 Ways to Cook Spaghetti Squash https://aggieskitchen.com/50-ways-to-cook-spaghetti-squash/

About Judi
Julia W. Klee (Judi) began her journey enjoying “all things food” in elementary school when she started preparing meals for her family. That love of food blossomed into a quest to learn more and more about health and wellness as related to nutrition. She went on to earn a BS Degree in Food and Nutrition, then an MS Degree in Nutrition. She has taught nutrition and related courses at the college level to pre-nursing and exercise science students. Her hunger to learn didn’t stop upon graduation from college. She continues to research on a regular basis about nutrition as it relates to health. Her hope is to help as many people as possible to enjoy foods that promote health and wellness.








Page, Karen. (2014) The Vegetarian Flavor Bible. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company.