Station: [14] Seeds and Oil

Hemp seeds are tiny nuts produced by the female flowers after pollination. Hemp seeds can be used like grain – milled and baked into bread, for example. The seeds are also very rich in oil, so they can be pressed to extract hemp oil. In the past, hemp seeds were left over when the fibres urgently needed by the shipping industry had been processed into ropes.

Hemp used to be regarded as poor people’s food, and apart from a few traditional dishes, it has completely dropped off the menu. Hemp seeds have quite a hard shell, and the oil has a particular flavour that doesn’t appeal to everyone. Yet both the seeds and the oil are especially beneficial to health. Hemp oil is rich in unsaturated fatty acids. As more people become increasingly health-conscious, foods prepared with hemp oil or hemp seeds are gaining in popularity.

Here, in our showcase of curiosities, you can see hemp-biscuits, even a hemp pizza. But (zögerlich) – could that be more of a publicity stunt hinting at the fact that hemp is an intoxicant?

Yes, because the appeal of anything that’s banned even plays a role in advertising. Unfortunately, it’s a distraction from the rich nutrient content of hemp. But if you look more closely, you’ll find spreads and other hemp preparations with a high proportion of hemp oil or seeds. In that instance, hemp isn’t present for the publicity, but because it’s really wholesome food.

However, the food sector is tiny compared to industry. There, renewable raw materials are gaining in importance, and hemp oil can play a major part. Like crude oil, hemp oil can be refined and processed into fuels and plastics – and engines running on hemp oil are carbon neutral.

All depictions: © Steffen Geyer