Ah, spring. It is the perfect time to clear out the pantry and ask ourselves why we use the food products we do. Recent evidence suggests that it is a good idea to ditch that ancient bottle of “Italian” olive oil and go for something more wholesome and real. When we switch to hemp seed oil, here’s what we get to do.
1. Take a Pass on Corporate Shortcuts
For some reason, everyone seems to look at extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) as the go-to for pretty much anything. This is a troublesome assumption, as proven last year. Apparently as much as 80 percent of the Italian olive oil market is fake. That’s not a typo. Yes, as much as four out of five bottles that we Americans buy meets one of the following:
- not made in Italy
- not virgin or extra virgin, as labeled
- not even olive oil
There’s a healthy market out there for EVOO alternatives. Hemp seed oil is just as delicious and far less likely to make one feel like a shill.
2. Avoid the Big-Ticket Allergens
So, for people trying to avoid the social minefield that is EVOO, there are plenty of nut and seed-based oils competing for a corner of the market share. ‘Oh, just grab a bottle of peanut oil!” some consumers say. Until it is time for spring potlucks and summer barbecues, when the presence of such a big-ticket allergen becomes a major party foul. For a nutty taste that passes the “peanut and tree-nut free” test, go for hemp oil instead. It’s an ideal ingredient for salad dressings that comes with no shame.
3. Up the Flavor Profile
When we head to the buffet at a great party in the warm weather, we might see a lot of the common goodies people like to bring: hummus and pita, Portobello mushroom burgers, quinoa and pepper salad, and more. Using the standard oils for these dishes is predictable, if a little boring. Hemp seed oil can complicate the flavor profile, even for simple hummus. A slightly nutty bite (that is not likely to trigger anaphylaxis) is just what is needed to take such a spread to the next level. Although hemp oil has a lower smoke point like other unrefined oils, it is ideal to mix into a marinade or a sauce for after grilling.
‘I love buying food items of questionable origin for a much higher price!’ said no one ever. This year, switching to hemp oil could be the best foodie friend party decision ever.
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