This post contains affiliate links.
It wasn’t until just a few weeks ago that I discovered hemp seeds as a vegan source of protein. It may sound a bit hippy-ish or even against the rules, but hemp hearts are completely safe, legal in all 50 states and no medical-use card is required. 😉
There are several breeds of the cannabis plant, and the ones that contain low or nonexistent concentrations of the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are used for hemp seed, hemp oil, wax, resin, rope, cloth, pulp, paper and even fuel.
The seeds themselves have a definite nutty taste and look much like cooked quinoa, except they’re raw. They’re great on salads, in granola bars, and can even be made into hemp butter for those who are allergic to nuts. They’re also an excellent source for non-animal protein – two tablespoons offers nearly 7g of protein!
The nutritional profile is bigger than protein though. Hemp seeds also contain magnesium, phytosterols (plant-based, similar to cholesterol, but shown to help reduce cholesterol in humans), ascorbic acid (vitamin C), beta-carotene (half of vitamin A that provides the orange color in carrots and pumpkins), calcium, fiber, iron, potassium, phosphorus, riboflavin (vitamin B2), niacin (vitamin B3) and thiamine (vitamin B1).
If that wasn’t enough, you can also make hemp milk! It’s another frugal alternative to animal milk, great if you’re not a fan of coconut, and very rich in protein, vitamins, minerals and micro-nutrients.
Commercial Hemp Milk
There aren’t many main stream sources for hemp milk. I may have seen only one brand at Whole Foods and Amazon lists only two. Could it be the negative stigma associate with the term? I assure you, eating hemp will not cause you to fail a urine test. 😉
The ingredients listed in commercial hemp milk are similar to those listed for commercial coconut milk. Like most commercially prepared foods, this is not a good thing.
The two brands on Amazon both list Vitamin A Palmitate (a synthetic form of vitamin A), additional synthetic vitamins and unnecessary sweeteners. Not all hemp milks are created the same though. This brand also has carrageenan, which we discussed here as being directly related to inflammation, and inflammation is turning out to be the root cause of a whole schlew of health issues.
Another downside to commercial hemp milk is that we don’t know the complete processed involved at the manufacturing facility. High temperatures and modern day processes often damage food, causing those amazing nutrients to be lost in the final product.
The Cost of Commercial Hemp Milk
Once glance at this page shows me that hemp milk is NOT cheap. After setting on the brand that DOESN’T contain carageenan, and then sifting through a few of the sellers, the cheapest I could find one quart of hemp milk was for $4.70. Not as expensive as the coconut milk, but still – I’d rather not drink any milk than pay that much for one quart. Fortunately, there’s a healthier and more frugal option. Make your own hemp milk!
Making hemp milk is a very similar process to coconut milk. You can get shelled hemp hearts for as little as $8.50/lb at Costco, or for the way low price of $6.84 on Amazon. That variety is organic too!
It takes 1 cup of hemp seeds to make one quart of hemp milk. That means you’ll spend $1.14 on hemp seeds and the water is free. Wow! That’s a 75% savings over commercial hemp milk! Plus no additives or other icky stuff. Consider me sold.
- 1 cup hemp seeds
- 4 cups filtered water
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- Combine all ingredients in a blender and process for 45 seconds to 1 minute, then repeat.
- Store in a jar, in the fridge. Shake well before using.
For one cup: ¼ cup hemp seeds, 1 cup hot water
You’ll definitely have to taste this milk as you’re making it. Some people may not like the bold taste of hemp, but others who drink nut milk regularly may not notice. I thought the ratio of 1:4 with hemp seeds to water was perfect, but feel free to use more or less depending on what you prefer.
Some recipes recommend adding maple syrup or dates to sweeten the milk, but I’d rather not add sugar – in any form – if it’s not necessary. The vanilla extract and cinnamon were a perfect fit for this ratio and made me – a non-nut milk drinker – enjoy a whole glass!
Not every hemp seed will be ground to a pulp, so there’s the option of straining the milk through a fine mesh sieve or a cheesecloth. The pieces weren’t large enough to deter me from drinking it as is, so you may find yourself not having to strain it after all.
Other non-dairy milk alternatives that may interest you:
What’s your experience with hemp? Have you ever tried it? Did you even know it was safe to consume?
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. By making a purchase through those links, I will earn commission that helps to keep the lights on in the Crumbs house – with no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting Crumbs in this way. Read my full disclosure statement here.