Hemp, ancient history
Hemp has ancient traditions in Italy. History says so. Hemp farming was born in Italy around 1300, but numerous sources recount that it had already been introduced in Piedmont and the Po Valley by the Roman legions. But perhaps we can go back even further. Thanks to the discovery of some pollen diagrams in Lake Albano and Lake Nemi, a study conducted in 2002 by the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia showed that hemp was known more than ten thousand years ago. With the Industrial Revolution, its cultivation and processing experienced a real boom, especially in the Emilia and Campania regions. Particularly in Emilia, the volumes of hemp fibre ranged between three thousand and five thousand tons. In 1910, in Emilia Romagna, there were forty-five thousand hectares of land being used for its cultivation. In the fifties, Italy was the second largest producer, preceded only by the Soviet Union. In addition to textile use, it occupied an important role in the kitchen thanks to its healthy virtues. Since the seventies, the costs 43 and the inability to modernize its production have made it almost disappear, but today the attention to its cultivation and processing is growing. It was then a victim of the inability to distinguish between Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica. In the seventies, the laws against drugs also affected hemp farming. Since 1998, the cultivation of industrial hemp has been legal again.
Hemp is an annual crop, and it is environmentally friendly since it does not need a large quantity of water and it does not require excessive fertilization. It plays an important role in nutrition as its seeds are rich in essential fatty acids, such as Omega 3 and Omega 6. Precisely because of this, hemp seeds regulate cholesterol levels in the blood and keep the heart healthy. They are rich in fibre, help maintain regularity, and strengthen the immune system. In the kitchen, mainly hemp flour is used Obtained from the Cannabis sativa seeds, the flour is rich in essential fatty acids, but also in vitamins and minerals, especially phosphorus and iron. It is also a food with fewer calories than 00 wheat flour (about 21 percent less). who suffer from gluten intolerance or allergies, since it is a gluten-free food. If a product involves leavening, it is recommended to use 10 percent of it, mixing it with other flours to obtain the total amount needed for the dough. Thanks to its nutty flavour, it is used to produce bread, sandwiches, sweet and savoury cakes, focaccia, pizzas, cookies, cheesecake, panettone and pasta. It can also be used to thicken puddings and soups, to flour and bread, or as a protein supplement in smoothies or juices. Today we are also beginning to appreciate hemp oil with its nutty flavour. Even if it is not suitable for frying, it is a great ingredient for baked goods. It is considered a health oil, having been declared as anticancer and a valid aid for patients with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
Canafé, a gourmet drink
Near Piacenza, in San Protaso, just a few kilometres from the medieval village of Castell’Arquato, the Landini agricultural business, a family business that deals directly with the cultivation of alternative crops such as flax, hemp and the processing of the harvested products, has launched an innovative product that incorporates the properties of hemp and coffee, reducing the caffeine and its harmful effects: Canafé. More than 50% of hemp seeds are blended with low-roasted coffee. The result is a VeganOk-certified drink, which provides energy even with a low amount of caffeine, less than 1/4 compared to traditional coffee. In addition, the low roasting of the coffee provides lower acidity when compared to the standard. Three varieties of Canafé are offered, similar in taste, but different in the grain size of the grinding. The first type is the classic Moka grind which, when using a Moka pot, releases all the hazelnut aroma of the hemp seeds while maintaining the coffee flavour. The drip coffee grind, known as American coffee, is perfect to ward off the cold and it is recommended after physical activity, for a recharge of energy and minerals. As for the espresso machine, it is a more full-bodied drink, very similar to a classic espresso but with a sweeter aftertaste.
Uses in the kitchen
Hulled hemp seeds can be added to yogurt or salads, or to garnish recipes that have pilaf or basmati rice as a main ingredient. It lends itself to the preparation of vegan dishes (it is more digestible when compared to soy) as well as culinary options suitable for those who suffer from gluten intolerance or allergies, since it is a gluten-free food. If a product involves leavening, it is recommended to use 10 percent of it, mixing it with other flours to obtain the total amount needed for the dough. Thanks to its nutty flavour, it is used to produce bread, sandwiches, sweet and savoury cakes, focaccia, pizzas, cookies, cheesecake, panettone and pasta. It can also be used to thicken puddings and soups, to flour and bread, or as a protein supplement in smoothies or juices. Today we are also beginning to appreciate hemp oil with its nutty flavour. Eve if it is not suitable for frying, it is a great ingredient for baked goods. It is considered a health oil, having been declared as anticancer and a valid aid for patients with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
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