Have you noticed that a lot of people are moving away from cow’s milk at the moment? When I was doing the smoothie challenge nearly every recipe contained coconut milk, almond milk, nearly anything but cow. I know a lot of that is because people are either trying to eat a more plant based diet or trying to lower their saturated fat or whatever, but when St Helen’s Farm offered us the opportunity to take their ‘vary your dairy’ challenge and give goats’ milk products a go, I was keen to dive in and give them a try.
So, cow vs goat – what’s the difference health-wise?
Well, it’s a pretty well known fact that we should all be consuming less meat and dairy, both for our health and for the planet. A recent article in The Ecologist reported that in Sardinia, where the people regularly drink goat’s milk, people regularly live to be 100 years old or more. It’s also been reported that it has properties that can protect us from Alzheimer’s disease.
Goats’ milk has 15% more calcium, and more vitamins like A, D, potassium, copper, and manganese than cow’s milk, although it has less folic acid, B12 and a bit less zinc. One of the biggest things for me is that the industry is reported to be less damaging to the planet, with goats producing considerably less methane than cows.
But does it taste ‘goaty’? I tried a range of products to find out:
I love my milk. I drink buckets of milky tea every day and I have to say that I actually preferred the semi skimmed goat’s milk to my usual semi skimmed. If you’re a tea lover you’ll know that no cow’s milk alternative actually works in tea (they all curdle and float murkily about in your cup). Although still obviously an animal product, it had a slightly fresher taste (this is apparently because the individual fat globules are smaller), and I thought it was actually sweeter, although I can’t find anyone else that says that, so maybe it was just me.
Goats’ milk yogurt
I tried a range of different goats’ milk yogurts from St Helen’s Farm: from natural fat free yogurt to a particularly yummy thick and creamy live whole milk natural yogurt with a rhubarb and hibiscus, or gooseberry and apple layer. All the flavours were fresh and tasty, although I found the smooth and creamy yogurt stirred with blossom honey quite strong in flavour.
Butters and cheeses
Goats’ milk butter is absolutely delicious – I’m a huge fan of using proper butter, and I used St Helen’s Farm’s award-winning, beautifully packaged butter to spread on toast, as well as to bake muffins. It’s lightly salted and great quality and has a clean, fresh, taste. We also tried the mild and mature goats’ cheeses, which both have a consistency similar to cheddar, and also a light, soft spreadable cheese, which is a blend of goats’ butter and cheese.
We were really impressed with all the products. I was especially taken by the fresh-tasting milk, and there’s something about supporting a smaller industry against the might of the huge UK dairy industry that appealed to me too. I strongly advise that you vary your dairy too. You might be surprised!
Thanks to St Helen’s Farm for the lovely products.