Monday, March 30, 2009

The Milkiest Non-Milk

As a vegan who could never stand the taste of soymilk (call me a heretic, if you will), I'm always on the lookout for alternative non-dairy milks. I've tried almond milk, rice milk, oat milk, and 'multigrain milk,' whatever the heck that is. Again and again, I have been disenchanted by watery, sugary, outrageously-priced, extraterrestrial-tasting, concoctions, that nobody, not even horrible, abominable people, like whoever invented the Grapple, should have to put in their morning cereal.

The other day, just as I was on the brink of surrendering the quest for a delectable, milky non-milk, I stumbled upon this blog entry with a recipe for homemade hemp milk. I happened to have some hemp seeds lying around, so I ventured to give it a go.

The result was unexpected: a creamy, sweet-but-not-too-sweet, only mildly-weird tasting brew that definitely topped, in my opinion, any store-bought milk (including store-bought hemp milk). Hemp has a singular flavor that takes some getting used to, but after just a few sips I was won over. My fellow taste-testers shared my enthusiasm.

Nutritionally speaking, hemp appears to outshine soy. A cup of hemp milk has about 14 grams of protein (though this figure varies depending on the brand of hemp seed). Hemp is also rich in Iron, B vitamins, Magnesium and Zinc (though it lacks the calcium and B12 of fortified soymilk). On the con side, hemp is less widely available, as hemp farming is outlawed in the United States (hemp belongs to the genus Cannabis, though it lacks the mind-altering traits of its popular cousin). If you can't find hemp at a local grocer, you can purchase from Amazon, or if you want to support a vegan grocery, from Food Fight, at a slightly higher price.

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