Are you ready to celebrate Canada’s 150th this year? What got me excited about our nation’s upcoming birthday was when my brother-in-law sent me this video produced by President’s Choice food company that reminds Canadians to carve out time to eat together as we celebrate the diversity of our country, its people and the food that we eat.
“When we eat together, good things happen. We share a bit of our lives. We talk, we laugh, and we share the foods we love. We get a little closer... Nothing brings us together like eating together.” ~ President's Choice
This inspired me to consider how I could highlight the many agricultural treasures that our country has to offer. And so, I invite you to join me as I embark on an exciting journey from sea to sea as I traverse this great nation and explore the foods that are grown and raised right here in Canada by our hard-working farmers.
This is the first of 12 feature recipe blogs that I will be posting each month over the next 12 months, as I highlight foods from each province and territory of our beloved nation. (And before you wonder about my arithmetic skills, yes, I do know there are 13 provinces/territories and only 12 months in a year … two of them will be grouped together unfortunately. My apologies!)
Our first stop will be in Manitoba and its great capital city Winnipeg, also known as “Winterpeg” for its frigid temps in the winter! Manitoba is known for many of its natural beauties (as is the case right across our nation) including its parks, lakes and waterways, and not to mention the views of the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) and polar bear sightings up in Churchill. But its culinary gems are not far behind.
But before I get to those, I don’t think that we can forget to mention that Winnipeg is now for the 17th year in row officially crowned as the Slurpee Capital of the world. Can someone please explain this phenomenon to me?
Growing up on hog farm I always knew that Manitoba was a big producer and exporter of pork and pork products. Data from 2015 confirm that pork is the province’s 3rd largest export, just behind canola and wheat, which come out in 1st and 2nd place respectively. However, since I like to celebrate the underdogs I would like to salute Manitoba’s hemp growers and producers of the increasingly popular shelled hemp seeds, also known as hemp hearts, which was the province’s 9th largest domestic export in 2015.
Industrial Hemp Farming
My first encounter with a species of Cannabis sativa came back in public school. My sisters and I grew sweet corn as a summer income project to fund all of our activities. One morning while picking corn in the field we came across some really tall weeds and wondered what kind of weed they were. (My dad gave always taught us the names of the various weeds in the field!) My dad laughed and explained that these were not weeds but marijuana plants and that he was going to have to call the police. I remember thinking that it was too bad we gave those plants away because it sounded like they could have have been an extra income source!
Contrary to popular belief however, hemp is not the same as marijuana. Hemp is a particular species of Cannabis sativa and will not cause a psychoactive effect or false-positive drug test. You're safe to get behind the wheel after your bowl of oatmeal with hemp in the morning.
Since 1998 when industrial hemp was licensed for production in Canada, Manitoba farmers have been quick to realize the potential for this crop. Unlike other crops, the entire hemp plant can be used for both its grain (hemp seed and products) and its fibre (textile and other hemp fibre products). Since the crop is a hardy one and can grow under many different soil and climate conditions, it makes it a versatile crop for areas that have limited cropping options in Manitoba.
It is the grain industry that is driving the development of hemp farming in Canada. The most common hemp product being the shelled hemp seed, or hemp heart. Other products made from the hemp seed include oil, protein powder, flour, alternative milk beverage, nut butter and other products.
Hemp Nutrition Facts
Looking specifically at the hemp heart, it is certainly a nutrient-packed seed! Hemp hearts are high in plant-based protein and high in the heart-healthy polyunsaturated fatty acids linoleic (omega-6) and alpha-linolenic (omega-3) fatty acids, which in a 3:1 ratio. And don’t forget about its plentiful micronutrients, as well as its known antioxidant activity and bioactive compounds that have researched in recent years.
Per 3 Tablespoons (30 grams)
- Calories: 166
- Fat: 15 grams
- Saturated fat: 1.3 g
- Trans fat: 0 g
- Polyunsaturated: 11.5 grams
- Omega-6: 8 grams
- Omega-3: 2.5 g
- Monounsaturated: 1.5 g
- Carbohydrate: 3 grams
- Fibre: 1 gram
- Sugar: 0.5 gram
- Protein: 9.5 grams
- Iron: 2.4 mg
- Phosphorus: 495 mg
- Magnesium: 210 mg
- Zinc: 3 mg
- Manganese: 12.3 mg
How do you eat Hemp Hearts?
Not sure how to incorporate hemp hearts into your diet? Here are a few suggestions!
- Blend them into your smoothie
- Sprinkle them on your salad (or anything else for that matter!)
- Stir into your favourite yogurt or smoothie bowl
- Add them to your cooked oatmeal or into cereal
- Bake with them – homemade cookies, granola bars, muffins
- Last but not least, make some pumpkin hemp pancakes with them :)
Hemp hearts have a really nice nutty flavour to them but when stirred into various dishes (like oatmeal) you don't really notice that they are there at all. Hemp is a great way to get extra protein and healthy fats into your diet or your children's diet pretty quickly.
Be sure to store hemp hearts in the refrigerator once you have opened the package. I like to store mine in a Mason Jar for easy access.
Manitoba Harvest’s Pumpkin Hemp Pancakes
Option to make them both gluten-free and dairy-free
Permission granted by Manitoba Harvest to replicate their recipe from manitobaharvest.com
- 2 cups oat flour (you can just grind up oats to make the flour; use certified gluten-free oat flour if desired)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp pumpkin spice or cinnamon
- 1/4 cup Hemp Hearts
- 3/4 to 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or your other favourite non-dairy beverage)
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips (choose non-dairy variety or skip to make dairy-free)
- Butter or coconut oil for pan
- Combine oat flour, baking powder, sea salt, pumpkin spice and Hemp Hearts in a large bowl.
- In a separate bowl add the pumpkin puree, almond milk, egg, vanilla and maple syrup and stir until it is well combined.
- Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and mix. Fold in the chocolate chips.
- In a large pan, melt the butter over medium heat.
- Scoop about 1/3 cup of the batter into the pan. You can do this two or three times depending on how big your pan is.
- Cook the pancakes until the tops start to bubble and then flip and cook them for another minute or so.
- Drizzle with maple syrup and serve.
*Note: batter thickens if left overtime so best to make all at once. Spread batter out a bit in pan to produce a thinner pancake.
Take it one bite at a time,
- Government of Manitoba. Industrial Hemp Production. Accessed January 24, 2017 here.
- Winnipeg Sun. Winnipeg the slurp capital of the world again. Friday July 8, 2016. Accessed January 24, 2017 here.
- Manitoba Agri-Food Domestic Exports - Top 10 Products in 2015. Accessed January 24, 2017 here.
- Yan, X., et al. Characterization of Lignanamides from Hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) Seed and their Antioxidant and Acytelcholinesterase Inhibitory Activities. J. Agric Food Chem. 2015 Dec 16;63(49):10611-9. Accessed January 24, 2017 here.
- USDA Nutrient Database. Seeds, Hemp Seeds, Hulled. Accessed January 24, 2017 here.
- Manitoba Harvet. Pumpkin Hemp Pancakes. Accessed January 24, 2017 here.