As we move towards making sustainable processes the new normal, there is so much to take into consideration. Even as the masses begin to take to plant-based alternatives to replace milk, cheeses, and protein, not all of those alternatives are as sustainable as one might imagine they are (see: the great almond milk gate!) Enter Elmhurst 1925: With their unique HydroRelease™ method, Elmhurst has been able to produce a huge variety of nut milks you never knew existed, while maintaining sustainable production methods along the way. To get to know more about their production process, we spoke to food technologist Shashank Gaur – read all about it ahead.
Because plant based milks are just that, plant-based, the consistency often differs largely from that of traditional cows milk. In turn, companies often have to add ingredients you don’t want in your milk in order to give it that proper feeling. According to Gaur, “other companies use milled flours, paste, and powders, where the heat from the milling process results in protein denaturation (just like what happens to liquid egg when heated) and the formation of protein-fiber aggregates (intertwined large structures) that are insoluble in water. Therefore, they need to use gums, emulsifiers, and stabilizers [in order] to suspend the protein-fiber aggregates to create a pseudo mouth-feel.”
On the other hand, Elmhurst 1925’s method allows for that creamy feeling without any additives – in fact, all of their product offerings contain six ingredients or less (but more on that later). Gaur informs us that the HydroRelease™ milks “the grain, nuts, and seeds at low temperatures to liberate (aka release) the fat, protein, fiber, and other components in their natural form. [Overall,] the process prevents the formation of [those] protein-fiber aggregates and [instead] results in a natural, smooth, and creamy emulsion system.”
One trend in the world of wellness is looking to eliminate random additives from our diets. Not only does Elmhurst 1925 stray from using gums, thickeners, and emulsifiers of the like, but they use the most minimal component – water. According to Gaur, “Elmhurst uses very few simple ingredients depending on the final use of the product. While our unsweetened line only uses two ingredients – water and nuts, some products contain additional ingredients to satisfy the requirements of a broader consumer base. For example, cane sugar is added to some products to provide a sweetened alternative and to improve flavor, mouth feel, and stability. Natural flavors are added to balance the raw, green, and nutty flavor of the ingredients.”
Minimal Carbon Footprint
Even though plant-based milks have a far smaller carbon footprint than that of traditional cow’s milk, Elmhurst 1925 takes it one step further by utilizing the whole grain, nut, or seed, with no byproduct left behind. As Gaur explains, “The HydroRelease™ method is a zero-waste method because we utilize all liberated fractions including the fat, protein, starch, and fiber to create beverage and beyond beverage products.” To top it off, there are also a number of sustainable steps being taken to make their production and even post-consumer efforts more Earth-friendly: Sustainable hydroelectric power is the main source of energy in the production facility (so the factory quite literally runs on the natural flow of a neighboring river), aseptic processing and packaging allow the product to be transported and stores at an ambient temperature without the use of energy intensive refrigeration systems, most of the water used in the process stays within the product as they do not practice drying and reconstitution, all ingredients are sustainably sources, and the Elmhurst 1925 Milked cartons are 100% recyclable, caps included.
Feature Image via Camille Shaw
This post was sponsored by Elmhurst 1925. However, we believe in providing authentic opinions and thoughts about all products or services.