Sustainability, taste, animal welfare—there are so many reasons to opt for plant-based milks over dairy. And now there is a new variety for you to try. Potato milk is trending as the newest non-dairy darling, and building a reputation for sustainability. It may soon be available locally, creating even more competition for the oat, soy, and nut milks we’ve grown to love. But is it worth switching over?
Potato milk 101
In its purest form, potato milk is a wholesome blend of peeled, cooked potatoes and water. To jazz up its earthy flavor, many DIY recipes also call for a little salt, sweetener, and vanilla.
Like other plant-based milks, potato milk is vegan (unless sweetened with honey). It doesn’t come with the concern of hormones or antibiotics that are often linked with drinking non-organic cows’ milk. Potato milk is also free of soy, nuts, gluten, and casein-free, which is a plus for anyone with food sensitivities.
Thanks to Professor Eva Tornberg at Sweden’s Lund University, who developed the technology to blend potato milk and rapeseed oil into a creamy, shelf stable vegan drink, commercial potato milk products have gone viral across international markets.
Nutrition pros and cons
The potato’s reputation as a “bad,” carb-heavy food is undeserved. Nutrition experts agree that potatoes can be extremely nourishing. They are chock-full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, most notably iron, potassium, vitamins C and B6, and polyphenols.
When a potato’s flesh is cooked and blended with the cooking water, many of its nutritional benefits go right into its milk. In terms of calcium content, potato milk is on par with cows’ milk. It also offers more iron than some non-dairy milk products.
Compared to other milks, there are a number of nutritional pros to drinking a cup of potato milk:
- only 70 calories and 2 g of sugar
- 30 percent of the recommended daily calcium for adults
- 14 times more iron than in a cup of dairy milk
- zero fat and saturated fat
According to University of Virginia’s GI Nutrition Support Team, potato milk is most comparable to rice milk in terms of its core nutrients. But don’t let the low protein to carbohydrate ratio of potato milk turn you off. Eating precooked potatoes in a chilled form, such as its milk, adds healthy resistant starches to your diet. Studies show that resistant starches help lower the impact that carbohydrates have on your blood sugar and may improve the way your body metabolizes sugars and fat.
The biggest driving force behind potato milk’s popularity is its reputation for sustainability. Fans of potato milk report that it has a lower carbon footprint than dairy, adding up to an emission of only 0.27 to 0.31 kg CO2e/kg.
Because potatoes require far less land and water to grow then raising a healthy milk-producing cow, they have a much lower impact on the environment than dairy. Compared to many other ingredients that form the base of non-dairy milks, potatoes tick a lot of sustainability boxes. Evidence shows that growing potatoes:
- requires 50 percent less land than oats
- uses significantly less water than growing nuts, including almonds
- emits 69 percent less CO2 than rice
If you are thirsty for a cold glass of ready-to-drink potato milk, or craving its foamy froth in your dairy-free latte, then ordering online is currently your best option. While commercial products are making waves in stores across a few European countries, it is not yet available in Canada or the US.
Another potato milk perk is that it is easy to make at home. As a result, a wealth of potato milk recipes have become available online, giving local potato milk enthusiasts the know-how to make their own. With a few simple ingredients and a blender, you are only steps away from enjoying your own DIY potato milk—and feeling good about your commitment to heathy and sustainable eating.
DIY potato milk
Making your own potato milk is fun and easy. You can customize this basic recipe by adding your favorite spices, natural extracts, or nut butters and flours.
4 cups water, divided
1 large potato (about 1 1/4 cup diced)
Pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
2 Tbsp honey or other natural sweetener (optional)
Peel and dice potato. Heat 3 cups water to a boil, then add potato and salt. Cook until tender. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly before transferring potatoes and cooking water to a blender. Add remaining cup of water and optional ingredients (if using), then blend on high for about 5 minutes. Strain through a cheesecloth and store in the fridge until cold. Enjoy!