Thursday, March 17, 2011

Vegan Milk Part I: Hemp

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Before I was vegan, dropping cow's milk from my diet was one of my biggest fears. I was a cow's milk junkie. I drank easily 4-6 litres a week. I drank it with everything, put it in my coffee, black tea, cereal. I assumed when began the 30 day vegan challenge that I would last maybe a day or two and would never get close to making it a month. I discovered after making the switch that it wasn't milk that I needed so badly. I was just thirsty. I switched milk for water as my go-to drink and it worked like a charm.

Once I had committed to being vegan, I started looking into non-dairy milks to introduce back into my diet. Soy, rice, almond, cashew, coconut, hemp.. the options go on and on, but then I found the drawback.. Vegan milk is really expensive! It was time to look into a cheaper alternative. So here we are... homemade vegan milk.

I wanted to venture into this one slowly since I have never tried it before and I am not sure that I can get the taste to be as good as the pricey store bought products. I was looking for the easiest of the easy to start with and after a bit of research, I think I found it - Hemp milk!
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Unlike many other vegan milks, you do not have to soak the hemp prior to processing it. To me, this makes it so much easier because you really just put everything in a blender and the strain it through cheese cloth. Remembering to soak things prior to blending is really difficult for me!

So, let's get to it.. the recipe:

Hemp Milk
  •  1/2 cup shelled hemp seeds or hemp hearts
  •  2 1/2 cups of water (This can be adjusted if you want it thinner or thicker)
  •  1-2 dates (or any other sweetener, maple syrup or agave would work well)
  •  1/4 tsp (or less) of salt
  •  Cheese cloth

Put the hemp hearts and the water into a blender and blend at highest speed for about 2-3 minutes or until it is frothy. Add in the sweetener, salt and if you want a touch of vanilla. Continue to blend for another minute or so. I don't think you can over blend.

Set up a large bowl with a strainer inside it and cheese cloth in the strainer. Carefully pour the milk on to the cheese cloth being careful not to pout to fast. Let the milk strain through and once it slows down, pick up the ends of the cheese cloth and squeeze the milk down and through the cloth. When you get it all strained the cheese cloth will have gritty pulp from the seeds that you can toss out.

The set-up for straining

That's it! Chill it and then test it to make sure the sweetener was enough. I don't like to add too much to milks and find the natural flavour is what should stand out. If the milk is sitting for a while, it will start to separate. Just shake before using. It should last about 3-4 days in the fridge.

Hemp milk has a nutty and very earthy flavour. I find it is really good in coffee and tea, or on its own. I find that many recipes say to steer clear of hemp milk in baking, but I think it would work just fine. It is a bit thinner than a soy milk, but could probably be used anywhere that calls for non-fat.

Hemp milk is a good source of protein (about 5g) and iron. It does not have a lot of calcium in it. One glass has 110 - 150 calories approximately, depending on how much water you use.


Coming up next... Almond Milk!


  1. 1/4 tsp of self? Ew!

    Do you think this would be good with overnight oats? I'm using soy and it's not as good as almond.

  2. First, yes.. a bit of salt or self will do just fine :)

    For the overnight oats... I shall experiment. I think it would work, but you might want to lessen the amount of water so it is a bit thicker.