Q: I recently saw hemp milk in the grocery store. What is hemp milk?
A: Hemp "milk" is a beverage that is made by blending hemp seeds in water and then filtering the liquid from the solids, much like how almond milk is made, according to Angela Brickner, registered nurse at Firelands.
It has a nutty flavor like almond milk and a creamy consistency.
Hemp milk is gaining popularity similar to other dairy alternatives including soy, almond, rice and coconut milks.
Many people are choosing a vegan diet or are lactose intolerant or do not consume dairy products and this is just one of the many alternatives to cow’s milk.
Hemp seeds come from a specific variety of the cannabis plant.
Many people have the misconception that all hemp plants are the illegal cannabis (marijuana), but they are not all the same, kind of like a house spider is not the same as a black widow spider.
As a matter of fact, ‘marijuana’ cannabis has to be specifically cultivated to have high concentrations of the mind-altering chemical in the marijuana plant called THC.
Hemp is not grown in the US, but is grown legally in many other countries including Canada where most of the hemp products sold in the U.S. are imported from. It is very disease resistant and has been used for many things for centuries including rope, paper, fabric, and its seeds for food.
So, why the buzz?
People are discovering the health benefits of hemp seeds that rival flax seed, quinoa and soy.
The plants are also disease resistant so it takes fewer pesticides to maintain quality (organic uses no pesticides).
In some studies, hemp seeds have been shown to help improve immunity by increasing the amount of globulin protein the body needs. The seeds are high in protein, have the correct 3:1 omega fatty acid balance, and have 20 amino acids including all nine of the essential amino acids.
There are many hemp food products, such as tempt (hemp milk) that are on the market and sold in stores. They are typically found in health food stores like Whole Foods, but some major retailers are now selling limited hemp products.
Many of the processed packaged varieties may have several added ingredients including natural thickeners, vitamins and minerals. If you want just simple hemp milk you can make your own:
1 cup shelled hemp seeds (you can find them at health food stores or order them online)
5-6 cups filtered water (use less water for thicker consistency, more water for thinner consistency)
OPTIONAL: Honey, agave or real maple syrup (add a small amount of either of these for a slightly sweeter taste)
Blend the ingredients at a high speed thoroughly in a blender until creamy
Strain the liquid through cheesecloth or a straining cloth into a bowl and then into a sealed container. Refrigerate for up to three days; it will separate so you will have to shake well before using.