Friday, 11 May 2012

Have you tried Hemp?

Well have you?

One of the advantages of shopping with Ocado (aside from dragging a screaming Baby away from the toy department) is that sometimes they send you through a freebie. This is usually something that relates to your shopping history. There have been some hits and misses, but I'm pretty pleased with one of their latest offerings - a sample of Hemp milk. It's encouraged me to give Hemp a go.

Original version

What they say:
It's made by Good Hemp who describe it as 'creamy' and 'nutritious.' It is, apparently, good for the environment and healthy - low in saturated fat and cholesterol free. They say that it naturally contains Omega 3 and 6. One serving (250ml) is supposed to supply 50% of our daily recommended intake of Omega 3 and 38% of Omega 6. If you want to know more about the nutritional values of Hemp, Wikapedia is a good place to start!

What does it contain?
This might seem silly, but it's not just Hemp! It contains: Water, Rice, Grape Juice, Calcium (from seaweed), Sucrose, Sea Salt, Natural Flavouring (?) and Vitamin D2. The actual Hemp content is 2.5% of Hemp extract (equivalent to 10% Hemp Seed).

Daily allowances (adults)
One serving (250ml) of the Good Hemp Milk contains the following: 

38% of your RDA Calcium and Vitamin D2.
4% of your RDA Sugar
9% of your RDA Fat
2% of your RDA Salt

Allergy advice
It says it is free from allergens, then goes on to list specifics - soya, gluten, dairy. 

The Initial Taste Test
Well... at first I think it's okay. I can detect a tang of something, but I'm not sure what. To begin with I don't get the 'creamy' claim, but after a few sips, it comes through and then I realise that I'm not that keen on the flavour.

Further trials
Initial taste test out of the way, I give it a go with a bit of puffed wheat cereal. Seems that funny flavour still comes through. In porridge, the Hemp milk makes it fairly creamy, but gives off a slight smell and the funny flavour becomes a bit more apparent. I'm really going off it. And also, I'm not sure if I'm imagining it, but I think my head feels a wee bit swimmy. I'm thinking to myself, 'Hemp is a narcotic. They have made sure it's safe, right?' However, I feel it is only fair to press on and give it a try in tea or coffee, to see if that improves my impression of it at all.

In tea, and coffee that distinctive flavour, which I'm guessing is Hemp, is there again, along with the creaminess. I'm just remembering that although I usually love cream... not so much in tea!

When I tried frothing it, for my morning coffee, it only produced a very thin layer of froth, which dissipated quite quickly. 

After my first sip of the coffee, The Hub saw my face and wouldn't even try it, so I don't think we'll be using it in baking!

Any indication of suitability for young children?
No. So, to be on the safe side, I would presume that as with other milk replacements (unless you've been advised otherwise by a Healthcare Professional, such as a Doctor or Dietitian) it's probably fine to use in cooking (with children over the age of one) but not as a main milk drink. 

On the allergic side of things, I haven't had any bad reactions to Hemp, so far, but haven't really tried it enough to know whether that would remain so in the long term (some reactions take a while to show themselves). 

Okay, so I don't like it, is the bottom line. That is, I do like the creaminess - something that is missing in most other milk substitutes. It could be OK, if it wasn't for the rather unpleasant after taste. I'll stick to black coffee for now, I think - mainly because hemp has a distinctive flavour that (for me anyway) takes some getting used to! Having said that, I wasn't of a fan of rice milk, because of the after taste I got from it, but lots of other people are fine with it, so don't let me put you off! If you have tried it or do try it, let me know what you think! 

Update 2015: 
There is a new version of Hemp milk now blended with coconut. I've not tried it yet, but am intrigued!

Related posts about dairy substitutes can be found on our blog, under the heading 'Dairy Substitutes'.

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