Hemp: a sustainable, healthy and versatile plant used in the Salt kitchen
Each year we hear more about the promising medical and culinary opportunities of hemp, thus it’s becoming more evident than ever that by having neglected this beneficial plant, we rid ourselves of something truly valuable.
One of the most crucial pillars of Salt’s culinary philosophy is that everything we might need in the kitchen is at our fingertips, and can be found in nature. This sentiment works the other way around as well: everything that is edible, available and has been used by our ancestors for centuries should be included in our kitchen practice.
Hemp, a plant that used to be widely utilised in gastronomy and as animal fodder, by today, is mostly famous for some of its species containing THC. Due to this psychoactive compound, the plant is under strict regulation which has been making it hard for the valuable plant to be cultivated during the past decades. Today, in all of Europe, hemp only grows on 60-70,000 hectares of land, while until the 1970s, the plant was cultivated on 80,000 hectares just in Hungary.
It would do us all good to be more open towards hemp. The plant is found all around the world and has over 3,000 bred species. All 89 species that can be legally grown in the European Union contain less than 0.2% THC and, therefore, cannot be used as a drug. Contrary to hemp’s bad reputation, due to its health benefits and versatile usability in the kitchen, it is a great addition to a healthy diet.
Feel free to call hemp a superfood, however, it is far from solely something that you can eat. Hemp can be used to produce textiles, biodegradable plastics and even biofuels while it is also one of the plants that can be cultivated in the most sustainable way. Growing hemp requires less pesticides and water than other plants. As part of rotational crops, it can regenerate the soil and prevent the spread of diseases among other plants. What’s more, hemp can absorb more CO2 than any other plant or forest in the world, hence it’s called a carbon-negative plant – a quality that puts it in the spotlight for industrial uses as well.
Today, hemp is being rediscovered by the contemporary culinary world. Eating hemp seeds regularly is not only a very pleasurable experience for their delicious buttery taste but it’s also beneficial for being outstandingly rich in plant-based proteins, fatty acids and vitamin E. When pressed, hemp produces a high-quality oil that resembles olive oil and tastes delicious. Hemp leaves, with their strong, yet pleasant taste, can be integrated into our everyday diets fermented or brewed as tea.
Due to hemp’s unique qualities and sustainable nature, at Salt’s kitchen, we experiment with the plant in many different ways.
The Hungarian company – Cannada Drops – supplying us with hemp was founded in 2022 with the aim to make hemp known and accepted once again and help find its well-deserved place in gastronomy and especially in contemporary Hungarian cuisine. During the spring and summer seasons, the company cultivated hemp especially for the kitchen of Salt both in greenhouses and out on the fields.
At Salt, we use their high-quality hemp and hemp-based products that meet all the requirements of our kitchen in many different forms.
Salt hemp leaf: sourced from the fields just outside of Budapest, the leaves travel to our kitchen in less than an hour where we ferment them and add them to our kimchi that is used as a garnish for our pork chops.
Salt CBD: The CBD resin used in some of our juices is lab-tested to be THC-free and is extracted through a super gentle process.
Even though we are just at the beginning of our journey to rediscover hemp in Hungary as well as in Salt, we are very excited to see what the future holds. Since every part of hemp is usable, it is very likely that hemp will become a staple in our kitchen to be used according to our philosophy.