In 2022, will you dare to swap your soy milk for… potato milk?
According to a report by the British retail giant Waitrose on the food trends heading to our plates next year, this culinary irregularity has every chance of finding its way into our coffee cups. Milk from the humble spud is set to be one of 2022's biggest food trends, according to the supermarket's annual Food and Drink report.
Reports reveal that the idea for potato milk came about in 2017 when Eva Tornberg, a food researcher at Lund University in Sweden announced that she would develop a method to extract a surprisingly milk-like beverage from the humble star of so many side dishes. The rich and creamy result came from blending this common root vegetable with rapeseed oil and heating it.
Tornberg's potato milk is now sold in some parts of the world under the brand name DUG. The question that immediately comes to mind is: why? Well, because using potatoes instead of almonds to make plant milk is more environmentally friendly, according to Tornberg.
She told several publications that potatoes saved people from starving during the 19th century and it has everything: good protein, high starch content, and high vitamin C content. Tornberg added that potato milk is currently only available in Sweden, UK, and China, and has been a hit among consumers, and they have nearly run out of stock. She credits the milk's success to its creamy texture and rather neutral taste.
So, what exactly is potato milk?
The exact recipe for potato milk remains a secret (although foodies are showing up with their own unique recipes), but the cloudy liquid is made by boiling potatoes, mixing them with rapeseed oil, and adding natural flavouring and vitamins. You can add it to tea and coffee, drink it cold, or add it to cocktails. You can also cook with it, for example, it can be added to pancakes or cereal, or used to make a sauce. Taste-wise? It is said to be smooth, with a slightly buttery taste, and has a thick, creamy consistency.
Laying out the pros and cons of potato milk, a health expert at Natural Savvy, Andrea Donsky says potato milk has lots of health benefits, especially for anyone who has food allergies or intolerances, including children with autism. Donsky says that’s because potato milk is dairy-free, gluten-free, casein-free, fat-free, cholesterol-free, and soy-free.
“Commercial brands of potato milk are good sources of vitamin D and B12 and are fortified with important vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, C, D, E, and K as well as seven B vitamins, calcium (as much as cow’s milk), and iron. You can use potato milk as an alternative to dairy milk in recipes and for cereal and beverages. Overall, potato milk is an important alternative to dairy milk for young and old alike,” she says.
On the negative side, Donsky says potato milk does not contain protein, and that if you make your own potato milk, it will not provide the same level of nutrients available in the fortified commercial brands.
As mentioned earlier, on social networks, people are already starting to make their own potato milk. Take, for example, the vegan content creator Bianca who is known as The Green Creator on Instagram. She takes on the task by boiling previously peeled potatoes. The spuds are then mixed with almond powder, water, a little vanilla, and sweetener. The potato milk can then be consumed after being filtered. Ever since the introduction of this milk alternative, most people are divided over whether they would be willing to try the dairy alternative.
One person said: "Where does it end though, what are we prepared not to milk."
A second stated: "I'll stay with my almond milk, thanks."
A third struck in: "Potato milk sounds like the most disgusting excuse for a vegetable drink yet." While one other person added: "Give it a try but don't hold up much hope for it."
There is no word yet on when this potato milk will be available on South African grocery store shelves.
This article first appeared in Sunday Insider, November 21, 2021