In terms of popularity, hemp seed oil might not be on the same level as olive oil or even coconut oil, but it has both culinary and beauty applications.
What Is Hemp Oil?
Most hemp seed oil is raw (made from raw hemp seeds), cold-pressed, and unrefined. Too delicate to handle any heat, it makes a flavorful finishing oil for lightly drizzling on soups or entrées.
How to Use Hemp Oil
Hemp seed oil is darker and more intense than the neutral oils you might be used to, such as vegetable oil. It also has a low smoke point, which means it starts to burn at a low temperature, which negatively affects the flavor. In other words, hemp seed oil does not make a good choice for frying.
Hemp seed oil is perfect for being drizzled on rice or grain salads such as tabbouleh, used as a dip for toast points, or as part of a blended sauce such as a vinaigrette, hemp pesto, or even homemade mayonnaise. Add a small amount to a smoothie or drizzle it on top of hummus, a plate of pasta, roasted vegetables, or a bowl of soup.
What Does It Taste Like?
Hemp seed oil tastes a bit like walnuts or sunflower seeds, making it ideal for use in salad dressings or as a bread dip. However, because of the strong flavor, hemp seed oil is not suitable for anything sweet or delicate that might get overpowered. You might want to mix it with a milder oil in a sweet salad dressing such as a raspberry vinaigrette.
Recipes With Hemp Oil
Hemp seed oil is not heat stable, so it's best used in uncooked applications.
Where to Buy Hemp Oil
Well-stocked grocery stores in the United States, including some of the big-box discount chains, should carry at least one brand of cold-pressed hemp seed oil; you may find it on the shelf with the other cooking oils or with the refrigerated health food products. Natural food stores also stock it and you can order it online. Refined hemp seed oil doesn't make a good choice for the kitchen; it loses most of the nutritional value, along with its flavor and color, during processing.
Once opened, hemp seed oil needs to be stored in the refrigerator or freezer and should be used within three months. Unopened hemp seed oil can be kept in the pantry; refer to the "best by" date on the package for the shelf life.