Nut milks

DIY NUT MILKS


If you are like me, dietary restrictions make you read labels.  It shocks me to see all of the additives and stabilizers, thickeners, emulsifiers and even sometimes sugar! in a box of 'alternative' milk.  Frustrated, I set out to explore a cleaner option.  When you make it yourself, YOU have control.  What goes in it, how often it's made (so it's fresh!), how much you make each time, flavor blends and flavorings.  Have fun.  You never know what new favorite you’ll discover!  Here’s a few tips I’ve discovered:

Sweeteners:  I prefer a less sweet taste, and while I’m a firm believer that white processed sugar is the enemy it does sometime satisfy a sweet craving if I whirr in a tablespoon or 2 of honey or a medjool date or two (added fiber bonus!)  Some nuts are naturally sweeter than other, so if you’re adding, start with less especially if it's your first time using that nut.  

Straining:  For most, you’ll need a ‘nut bag’ which is just a bag of clean, finely woven material.  Skip it and use a REALLY CLEAN (aka brand new and hand rinsed!) knee high or  cut the leg from an unused pair of pantyhose.  

The Leftovers: Whatever you do, don't toss it!  You’ve got the makings of flour, nut meal, fiber, protein bars (yes, I have recipes for that too!)…just to name a few.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, spread the pulp out in a thin layer and dry for about 6 or 7 hours on the lowest setting of your oven, door ajar.  (overnight is a good time) A food dehydrator work well too.  Use the dried pulp in baked goods, yogurt, granola or veggie burgers. 

These are so easy, once you try them and get one batch under your belt, you'll never buy premade again (except for an emergency!) 


Cashew Milk
originalrecipe from elanaspantry.com

Note: I've made this, it's easy and what started my path.  Why mess with a recipe that works?

Smooth, creamy and naturally sweet, this dairy-free Cashew Milk recipe is a fantastic milk substitute. It’s also super easy to make. Unlike my almond milk recipe, and other nut milk recipes, it does not require a nut milk bag. You simply whip it up in the blender without the hassle of straining out the pulp. For that reason, Cashew Milk is a favorite! I use Cashew Milk in smoothies and tea or splashed over a bowl granola.

It's nice to have a quart of this cashew milk ready in the fridge at all times. This cashew milk has the viscosity of regular whole milk; if you want to make milk with the consistency of 2% cow milk, add another cup of water. For half and half (great for coffee and tea), use only 2 cups water in the above recipe. Cashew milk can be very foamy when first removed from the Vitamix. It will settle nicely after sitting in the fridge overnight.

1 c. raw cashews, soaked overnight
3-4 c. water
pinch celitc sea salt

Directions: 
-Discard soaking water and rinse cashews thoroughly until water runs clear.
-Place cashews, 3-4 c. fresh water and salt in a vitamix.  
-Process on high speed for 20-30 seconds
-store in fridge  

Raw Almond Milk
1 cup raw almonds
4 cups filtered water + more for soaking almonds
sweetener of choice – maple syrup, agave, cinnamon, etc

Soak 1 cup of almonds overnight (or all day) in a bowl of filtered water.
Strain and rinse soaked almonds (they are delicious at this point, try one!). Dump them into your blender with the 4 cups of filtered water.
Blend on high for 5 minutes.

Place the nutmilk bag in a bowl (preferably in the sink), and empty the blender into the bag.

Squeeze the milk through the bag into the bowl (kind of like, I assume, milking a cow?). The almond meal will stay in the bag and you’ll be left with just the yummy milk.

Now rinse the blender and the lid. Pour the milk back into the blender and add the sweetener of your choice. I usually add a few tablespoons of maple syrup, maybe a squeeze of agave, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, and a pinch of sea salt. Blend again for a minute.

And that’s it. Yummy milk alternatives that are  actually better the next day once the foam has settled and the flavors have mixed together. Add it to coffee and tea, eat it in cereal, and drink it by the glassful through the day.

If you DO have a Vitamix of another high capacity blender, you can up the portions of almonds and water so you end up with more milk. I usually use 1 1/2 cups of almonds and 6 cups of water. This fills the Vitamix to capacity, which honestly is a huge plus with this type of blender. So much more space! I used to have to blend the milk in batches, which just made the whole process longer and less streamlined.

And again, just like with the cashew recipe above, if you prefer a 2% type milk, add more water or less, if you'd like a creamer for tea or coffee.  

You can also use the same formula to make milk from different nuts. I’ve make brazil nut milk before and it was delicious too. Make some soon!