Check out the ingredient list on a carton of almond milk and there is one thing in common: There are some gross ingredients in there. I’ve come up with a solution to this problem, which is to make my own homemade nut milk.
I was only making almond milk for a while and started making cashew milk not too long after. I like both, and they each have their own flavor. Almond milk definitely wins for a more neutral flavor and cashew milk most definitely tastes like cashews. If you’re not into cashews I would opt for almond milk. You can even use the leftover pulp from the almonds to make almond meal/flour. Cashew milk doesn’t leave much of any pulp and it is unusable. I have heard of walnut and macadamia milk, too, but have not tried them. Cashews are usually the cheapest.
You can use nut milks for drinking or cooking. I use it for making cream sauces, oatmeal, pancakes, for baking, smoothies, rice pudding, you name it. It will thicken and it won’t curdle, which is nice if you have issues making cheese sauces.
All you need is a decently good blender, some raw nuts (do not use roasted/salted!), and some dates if you want a little sweetness. Some people like to add vanilla which is fine, but I like to use my nut milk for everything from drinking to cooking so I like a more neutral flavor. You can switch these nuts out for macadamias, walnuts, or whatever your heart desires. I do find it necessary to sweeten the cashew milk more than almond, as it can tend to be a little bitter if it’s not in there.
P.S. I have found Musilin cloth (Purchased for cheap in a yard at Joann fabrics – cut it large to line your bowl) to work perfectly for this. Just don’t squeeze the life out of it or you might tear it. I learned my lesson.
Use 4 cups of water if you want it more like 2% milk, or 5 cups for 1%. If you’d like it more thick like coffee creamer, I would go down to 1-1/2 to 2 cups of water
HOMEMADE NUT MILK Makes 4-6 cups
1 cup raw, unsalted nuts (almonds, cashews, macadamias, walnuts, pecans, etc.)
2 cups filtered water for soaking
2-5 cups filtered water for blending (depending on how rich you’d like your milk)
3-4 pitted dates (optional)
Large bowl that can fit your 2-5 cups of water
Mesh paint strainer, muslin cloth (MY #1), jersey knit, or nut milk bag (a regular strainer will not work)
1. Soak nuts in water 4-6 hours. After soaking more than six hours the resulting milk tends to separate and not last as long.
2. Drain and rinse. Add to blender, along with dates and vanilla, if using.
3. Pour in 2 cups of water (add a little bit at first to help get the nuts ground up well)
4. Blend for 2-4 minutes until ground up very finely (depending on your blender it may take longer or shorter)
5. Add 1 more cup of water and blend for a few seconds.
6. Put your choice of strainer into your bowl and pour half of your liquid into it.
7. Pour the rest of your water into the blender and blend to incorporate. Keep doing this until you’ve used up all of your water. Pour into lined strainer bowl.
8. Carefully bring your straining cloth around the liquid to form a bag, twist and squeeze all of the liquid you can get out of it. Squeeze really hard! There’s a lot in there!
9. Pour into sealed containers and keep in the fridge for up to a week.
You can wash your milk strainers and use them again and again! Cashew milk will leave “goop” behind that you will want to discard.
TO MAKE ALMOND MEAL/FLOUR FROM THE PULP
Almond milk will leave pulp behind, which you can then spread thinly on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake on the lowest setting your oven can go (mine goes down to 200F) until all of the moisture is gone. This will usually take at least a few hours for mine.
When all of the moisture is gone toss it into your food processor – Magic Bullet works like magic…like that? 😉 – grind away until it is a fine almond meal/flour. Keep in the fridge and use for pancakes, cookies, or a whole other slew of things.
Note: The leftover almond flour doesn’t have a whole lot of taste to it left, so it is a neutral flour.