Hulled hemp seeds are a trending superfood that you can now enjoy in the form of hemp milk.
Hemp is a phenomenal plant, where every single part has a useful, healthy, and eco-friendly function. From hemp fibers to flower to seed and back again, Popular Mechanics reported there were 30,000 plus uses for hemp in 1938 — and they weren’t even talking about the medicinal and recreational uses. Hemp milk is a product that straddles both of those categories.
Hemp milk is technically a nut or seed milk, created to replace more traditional dairy products. Non-dairy cream, milk, and cheese have started eating into the dairy industries market share in a very big way. As per Reportlinker, the hemp milk market is on track to become a mega non-dairy product, with market expectations of $641.27 million in revenue by 2027.
It’s nutritious, delicious, and most importantly, hemp is a much more eco-friendly option than dairy, and even other nut-milk crops. Plus, it’s affordable. Making nut milk at home is easy, even for non-chefs. Below you’ll find both vegan hemp milk and a vegan hemp cheese recipe worth a taste.
With more people moving away from animal products for health and environmental concerns, hemp milk is here to stay.
How Hemp Fits Into The Vegan Revolution
Hemp milk and other creamy hemp substitutes come from hulled hemp seeds. These are also called hemp hearts, or sometimes just straight hemp seeds. Hemp plants grow hard popcorn kernel sized seeds after flowering, but the hard exterior is inedible and not very nutritious. Any hemp seed product you find in the store contains only the soft, nutrient-dense interiors of these seeds called hemp hearts.
Before there was hemp milk, the most common use for these seeds was in the production of hemp oil. Extracting oils by crushing the seeds produced a clear, healthy fat suitable for cooking and industrial applications. Usually, the leftover material went into vegan hemp-based protein products, like vegan protein powders.
But, these days, all types of protein-packed and plant-based ingredients are becoming non-dairy milks. Soy, rice, oat, and almond are some of the most common non-dairy milks available, and now added to that list is hemp. When blended with water and strained, all of these ingredients produce a creamy, milk-like liquid that works well as a dairy-replacement.
As an article on Bon Appetit details, hemp seeds come packed with “essential amino acids, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids.” As author Christina Chaey said, “As far as the nut and seed world goes, hemp seeds are like the straight-A student who’s also captain of the football team.”
Hemp Milk is An Eco-friendly Alternative
Even if you aren’t on a vegan diet, hemp milk makes for a convincing alternative to the dairy industry — even compared with some nut milks.
Specifically, with dairy, hemp is a far better environmentally friendly option. Dairy and cattle are some of the most significant industrial impacts on the environment. As The Guardian reported, in the “Biggest analysis to date reveals a huge footprint of livestock – it provides just 18% of calories but takes up 83% of farmland.”
Other nut milks, while possibly less environmentally devastating than the dairy industry, aren’t perfect. As an example, the almond industry sprays pesticides. Worse, it rips up comparatively more diverse citrus fields to plant the lucrative nut. As another report by The Guardian tells us, California is currently experiencing a decade’s long drought, which may be tied to the almond industry. The state has diverted and dammed many of the rivers to feed the state’s agricultural sector, including almond orchards.
Hemp demands fewer resources and replaces more problematic crops. Hemp regenerates the soil and is an exciting new crop for it’s phytoremediation characteristics. Unlike soy and rice, hemp isn’t a GMO product. Finally, hemp uses much less water than other agricultural goods. All around, hemp is better for humans and the world around us.
How to Make Hemp Milk
- 1/2 cup hulled hemp seeds (also called hemp hearts)
- 4 cups water
- 1 pinch sea salt
- 1 date, pitted (optional)
- Combine all ingredients into a blender, blend on high for one minute.
- Strain liquid through a cheesecloth into a large mason jar.
- Enjoy immediately as a refreshing non-dairy drink or store in the refrigerator for up to a week.
How to Make Vegan Hemp Cheese
Recipe adapted from Connoisseur Veg
- 1 cup hulled hemp seeds
- 2 garlic cloves
- 3 tbsp. lemon juice
- 3 tbsp. nutritional yeast
- 2 tbsp. Unsweetened hemp milk (see above)
- 2 tbsp. chopped fresh dill
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- Add hulled hemp seeds into a blender or powerful food processor. Blend until it forms a thick paste.
- Add lemon juice, and blend until the mixture turns glossy.
- Add all other ingredients, blend until combined.
- Enjoy spread on toast, crackers, or as a tasty dip for cut veggies.
- Store in the refrigerator for up to a week.
You Don’t Have to Be Vegan to Enjoy Hemp Milk
While vegans may have started the trend towards dairy alternatives, many more people on all sorts of diets have gotten on board. Hemp milk is just another addition to the nut milk pantry, and one that is nutritious, easy to make at home, and perhaps the most eco-friendly out of all the options.