Almond Milk & Protein Bars

Our extension class on Friday morning began investigating MYLK – that’s milk with a difference. The students were amazed to discover we could come up with 24 different types of milk – whereas in their grandparents’ day there was only one type, pasteurised unhomogenised dairy milk, which the milkman delivered in glass bottles with cardboard tops. Then we looked at WHY we have so many different types of milk today. The reasons are many – from lactose intolerance to increased understanding and knowledge about the best sources of calcium for our bones. We saw how milk is produced by many animals for their young, and how cows’ milk is perfectly designed for baby calves (who double their weight in 47 days), rats’ milk for baby rats (who double their weight in 4 days), and human milk for human babies (who double their weight in 180 days). An interesting fact is that humans are the only species to drink milk past the baby years, and to drink another species’ milk.


We then experimented with making our own almond milk. Different groups tried various amounts of water and either 1 or 2 medjool dates for sweetening. We blended 1 cup of pre-soaked almonds with the water, vanilla and the date (or two) until it made a creamy white milk, then strained it through muslin to produce a delicious milky liquid. We all tested each outcome and evaluated the texture and flavour. Perhaps surprisingly, every student in the class agreed that almond milk is “yum.” (We also unanimously agreed homemade almond milk is yummier than store-bought.)

Our second class enthusiastically made protein bars, some adding orange rind to their recipe. The nuts, seeds and dates were blended with pea protein powder and then pressed into trays and left in the freezer during lunch break. Afterwards each tray of bars was carefully measured up and sliced into 24 bars (quite a mathematical task!), which were individually wrapped and tied with string. The end result was tasted and declared a winner by all the students. One highly efficient group had enough time to experiment with making peanut butter bars as well – some topped with cranberries and some with carob chocolate chips. The latter proved to be the most popular. Next we will experiment further and develop our own brand of protein bar …

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