A Word of Concern about Silk Milk Products

Last week in the grocery store I noticed with dismay that my favorite coconut vanilla flavor Silk milk had a “new and improved” label on it’s carton.  In my experience, “new and improved” usually isn’t improved.  It’s usually just cheaper for the manufacturer and somehow less than impressive for the consumer.  This time is no exception.

Upon looking closer at the new label, I discovered one glaring change:  cane sugar instead of evaporated cane juice.  What is the difference you ask?  Regular sugar has been whitened by using bone meal.  So, even though evaporated cane juice is more pricey, I made the decision long ago to use it.

In addition to my coconut milk being almost sickenly sweet now (yes, I did buy some before I realized what the difference was), as well as filtered through bone meal, it also is thinner than before.

I looked at the Silk soy in my refrigerator, and it has the same issue.  I do not know about the other Silk flavors and types, but I imagine they have also been changed, or will be soon.  Check yours.  Make an informed choice.  Personally, I will be trying out other brands.

What it comes down to is that the makers of Silk have decided to lessen their production costs at our expense.  They did this once before when the company was purchased from it’s original owners.  With no notice, it went from being organic to non-organic.  I kept buying it then, because it still had better flavor and texture than most others.  This time, I’m not continuing the march into mediocrity.

If you are as unhappy about this as I am, please contact Silk and let them know.  If enough of us complain and take our business elsewhere, perhaps they will listen and go back to healthier options.

Vegan Vanilla Pudding

I love pudding.  Usually I make chocolate pudding though, because I’ve always been a bit timid to try to create a vegan vanilla pudding.  I was afraid it just wouldn’t meet expectations.  I’ve made the Mori-nu mixes and they are okay, but fairly expensive ~ and there is a hint of a tofu taste with the vanilla, in my opinion.  It was just easier to make chocolate.  Chocolate covers just about everything.

I have to admit, I was a Jello pudding fiend growing up.  When we gave up dairy for allergy’s sake I tried to make Jello pudding with soy milk.  What a disaster.  If I recall, I sat down and cried.  (I told you I was crazy about it.)  I didn’t think I’d ever get pudding again.  (This was before finding a chocolate recipe.)  I still have micro-pouts about the pistachio.  I am not sure I will ever be able to make that one happen, especially since the flavoring probably has more to do with chemicals and food coloring than the nuts.

This time, however, I just wanted vanilla pudding.  I decided to be brave and experiment.  I made a big batch ~ hey, if it came out well, I knew I’d have to share!  ;D  It was pretty tasty.  I do think that using your favorite non-dairy milk is key.  If you like the flavor of that milk, then you’ll like the flavor of your pudding.  I’ve recently gotten a new soymilk for hubby ~ the boys and I rotate between it, almond milk, and coconut milk with all of us having our favorites ~ and I’m not sure I am as fond of its flavor as I am of Silk’s vanilla…but all Silk isn’t organic anymore and this one was…and it was cheaper.  I think a better tasting soymilk would have made the pudding top notch.  Anyway…use what tastes good to you.  Your pudding will reflect that.

Vegan Vanilla Pudding

  • 3/4 c. (12 T) packed cornstarch **see note below
  • 1/2 gallon vanilla non-dairy milk
  • 1 c. evaporated cane juice crystals
  • 1/2 tsp. uncut stevia (may use 1/2 c. more cane juice crystals)
  • scant 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 T. vanilla

Mix cornstarch with enough milk to measure about 2 c.  Set aside.  Thoroughly mix remaining milk, cane juice crystals, stevia, and salt in a large pot and heat until nearly boiling, stirring constantly just until the cane juice is dissolved.  Stir cornstarch mixture into the milk, stirring constantly until pudding begins to bubble and thicken.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.  Pour into serving bowl or individual bowls.  Place plastic wrap over the top, allowing it to touch the pudding, to keep a skin from forming.  Cool on rack for an hour or so.  Then chill completely in refrigerator.

Makes about 8 cups.

**A word about thickening with cornstarch….it can behave in a wacky way.  Sometimes it seems to thicken just right and other times it can leave things anywhere from runny to downright sliceable!  I think I’ve figured out that it comes down to how I measure it and how long I cook it.  You can have a lightly fluffed cornstarch tablespoonful, or you can have it packed into the measuring spoon.  Therefore, I have indicated a packed amount of cornstarch in this recipe.  Then you can be certain how I measured it.  I also have indicated that you need to bring the pudding back to a boil for proper thickening and no guesswork.  In this case, I used 3/4 c. (I know, it sounds like a lot of cornstarch doesn’t it?  But it’s really only 12 T ~ there does that sound better? ~ and it thickens a half gallon of milk.)  The resulting pudding was very thick ~ not quite stiff enough to have made a pudding pie with it, but almost.  In the picture, I used the back of a spoon to squish any stiffer portions into a more picturesque texture.   Next time, I’ll reduce the cornstarch to 2/3 c. for a softer texture.  Let me know how it works for you!