Hemp in ice cream – is that even legal?
Yes, and provided that you use the seeds, it may actually even be healthy for you!
Hemp seeds do not contain (in any significant amounts) the psychoactive substance so often associated with the Cannabis plant. So, what do they contain? It seems that these small seeds contain massive amounts of both essential fatty acids, like Omega 3 and Omega 6, and proteins. Add to that anti-oxidants, fibres and minerals, and you end up with something inherently healthy! The seeds do not contain gluten. Furthermore, although strictly speaking being a ‘nut’ (rather than a ‘seed’), there seems to be little evidence of hemp seed acting as an allergen.
I used peeled hemp seeds, which have a rather discreet, slightly nutty taste. They are quite small and non-obtrusive, so using them in smaller amounts would likely lead to them being barely noticeable. Even when used in some number, like in this recipe, they mainly make for an interesting addition to the texture of an otherwise “plain” ice cream. The altered texture, and the subtle nutty flavour of the seeds, go very nicely together with the main chocolate flavour. Go ahead and try it yourselves!
- 300 ml (1.25 cup) cream
- 400 ml (1.7 cup) milk
- 125 ml (1/2 cup) sugar
- 3 tablespoons corn starch
- 100 gram dark chocolate (preferably 75 % cacao content)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla powder of good quality
- pinch of salt
- About 100 ml (about 0.4 cup) peeled hemp seeds
- Mix 200 ml (0.8 cup) of the milk with the corn starch. Whip together, making sure there are no lumps left. Put aside.
- Pour the rest of the milk, the cream, the sugar, the vanilla and the pinch of salt in a saucepan. While stirring occasionally, bring close to a boil, then add the milk-corn starch blend.
- On low-medium heat, barely reaching a boil, continue to stir for about five minutes, or until the mixture begins to thicken slightly. Add the finely chopped-up pieces of chocolate.
- Continue to stir and cook (close to a boil) until all the chocolate has melted, and the base has thickened even further (5-10 minutes or so).
- Take off from the heat and let cool. Then, chill thoroughly in a refrigerator.
- When chilled, freeze according to the instructions of your ice cream machine, adding the hemp seeds towards the end of the churning (when the ice cream has firmed up but still needs a few more minutes in the machine to be ready).
- No ice cream machine available? This recipe works excellently without an ice cream machine!
- If still-freezing, put the chilled ice cream-base in a suitable covered container and put in the freezer. After 30-45 minutes, take out the ice cream base from the freezer and churn with a fork or other handy tool. Return the base to the freezer.
- Repeat 2-3 times every 30-45 minutes, making sure to churn ever more vigorously the more stable the ice cream becomes. Add the hemp seeds towards the end of the process, churning them into the firmed-up ice cream base.
- Remember to take out the ice cream from the freezer at least about 20 minutes before serving it, to let it soften appropriately.