Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Camel Milk

Last weekend I was sitting in a majlis with a bunch of friends when one of the guys came by with a bottle of camel milk. He'd been out in the desert at a camp, or maybe it was a farm, anyway wherever it was there were a bunch of camels with them so the milk was fresh.

Now I've been in the Middle East a long time but surprisingly I had never tasted camel milk before. I recall I once tried a chocolate that had been made with camel milk but that's not exactly the same thing. It is not as common as you might think and is something that I’m guessing you'd have to search around for. A couple years ago I remember an article in the news about a company that was selling cartons of camel milk to grocery stores and I made a mental note to keep my eye out for it but never saw it.

So I got to try a small glass of camel milk. My only concern was that it was likely unpasteurized given that it was fresh from a camel at a camp. Drinking unpasteurized milk, of any herd animal, does carry some risk of bacterial infections and so forth (I also did some internet research and saw that there could be an increased risk of acquiring MERS from drinking unpasteurized camel milk but the link between the two is not conclusive).

Oh well, I drank the cup of milk and was . . . a bit underwhelmed actually. I was expecting a different taste to it but in truth it tasted like a slightly watery skimmed cows milk. Yes, I know skimmed milk is already watery but this tasted a touch lighter than that. Other than that the taste was similar. You could've told me it was skimmed milk and I probably wouldn’t have questioned it. Nothing exciting I’m afraid.

As for nutrition it has some differences in nutrient levels when compared to cows milk but nothing super-healthy (although it is apparently lower in lactose so I suppose that’s a benefit for people who are lactose intolerant). [Some info is here and here.]

That’s one more thing off the bucket list. I wouldn't have an issue drinking it again but I would prefer if it were pasteurized first.


Fred said...

Congrats for being open minded and adventurous enough to try raw camel milk!
The taste of the milk depends on the camel's diet. Sometimes, the milk can taste strong and salty. Camels are the only mammal that can drink salty water.
And it is actually very rich in vitamin C and iron and other vital minerals.
Last, the pasteurized version found in supermarkets - definitely safer - is free of hormones, unlike most pasteurized industrial cow milk.

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