August 16th, 2007
I’m totally on a nut milk kick. I have been drinking soy milk constantly for at least the last 11 years and the past few years we’ve been ordering dried soy milk powder from Sammi’s Best. By buying it dehydrated, one 4 lb jug of the powder is equivalent to 22 quarts of soy milk. That’s 22 aseptic containers of space that are not wasted on a truck and do not end up in a landfill. If there’s space on the truck, then more can be squeezed on the truck bed, hence saving that silly old gasoline everyone worries about. It’s totally win-win, especially in that you can make as much or as little soy milk as you need. No more containers going bad. Plus, we bring the powder backpacking with us and do a little instant soy milk to put into oatmeal or granola.
But I have since changed my soy milk ways since husband has been diagnosed with hypothyroidism. In one piece of literature, it is suggested that soy in unfermented forms (milk, tofu) can actually aggravate the condition and counteract treatment. Tempeh and miso are not a problem because the fermentation breaks them down a bit and the body is able to process it much more effectively. Not wanting to aggravate husband and personally seeking soy alternatives for myself (I don’t want to rely on one bean for all my protein intake, that also is not desirable), I have discovered the beauty of making my own nut milk. I do not like sunflower seed milk. Almond milk is okay. Homemade pure hemp milk is, well, earthy. (I am trying but can not duplicate Living Harvest hemp milk, THE best hemp milk on the planet-husband can drink a quart of chocolate in a day). I think the fattiest, creamiest milk so far has been with cashews. Don’t worry, it’s good fat!
It’s so fun and I can add all the little boosters that I want to. I have played around with the Not Milks cookbook, but her recipes are mostly flavored and make me think of smoothies. Plus she calls for lecithin, which I do not have in my cupboard. It’s an interesting book and has a great basics section on making nut milks. Overall, I have found developing my own recipe with her basic technique makes the best cashew milk that one can have. I recently had a friend visiting from Africa and she was more in shock than anything that I could make milk out of nuts. She told me after trying my cashew milk she couldn’t stop thinking about it all day and is currently devising an electricity-free way to repeat it in Africa. I hope it works out because her access to goat’s milk is NOT the same as cashew milk.
Here’s my recipe, let me know what you think.
Yield: about 2 quarts, depending on how much you water it down.
- 1/2 cup raw cashews (buy bulk and store in the fridge)
- 1 Tbl flax seeds, ground to a powder
- 1/8 cup shelled raw hemp seeds (optional, but i like my omega’s)
- 3-4 cups h20
- 1 Tbl vanilla extract
- sweetener of choice (evaporated cane juice, agave, honey, rice syrup) start with 1/2 cup, then add more
- Bring water to a boil and remove from heat. Set aside.
- Place the cashews in a blender and blend until they are powdery. You may need to shut it off and scrape it well to get all the chunks ground.
- Add flax and hemp and blend again.
- With the blender on, pour in 1 cup of hot water and keep blending until it’s a creamy puree.
- Continue to add water (my blender can only handle 3 cups) and blend until emulsified.
- Add vanilla and sweetener and blend well. Taste and add more water/sweetener to your liking.
It keeps in the fridge for about 5 days, but it’s so quick and easy to make there’s no need to make a huge batch. I go though about this volume at a time and use it in muffins, breads, sauces and of course, cereal.
Using real sugar will make it taste more like store-bought soymilk. Rice syrup is an interesting flavor on its own; I would recommend using half rice syrup with half agave or evaporated cane juice.