Remember the days when the nightly phrase at dinner was, “Drink your milk!”? Oh, how I dreaded those words. Luckily for me, my mom gave up her attempts to get me to drink milk upon realizing the only way I could swallow cow’s milk was if my glass was filled half way with chocolate syrup. I hated the taste of it, and as it turned out my body was rejecting cow’s milk as well, in the form of exzema and digestive issues.
When I first ditched dairy, non-dairy milk choices were slim. Our local market had a specialty aisle; nestled into the corner of said aisle, were a few dusty cartons of EdenSoy and rice milk from which to choose. Times sure have changed. These days, I am blown away by the array of non-dairy milks available at every store I visit. How convenient!
There are several uncomfortable truths about the store bought nut milks, though; they’re mostly water and thickener, and are often high in added sugar. Homemade nut milk only takes a few minutes; it’s higher in protein, minerals, and flavor.
Nuts are a great source of protein. Protein is the building block of our tissues, and is reparative as well. Nuts are high in minerals such as: Calcium, Copper, Iron, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Selenium, and Zinc. Minerals are important for nerve and muscle function and immunity. Some are cautious regarding nuts because they’re fairly high in fat. While excess is unhealthy, fat is a necessary macronutrient essential for the good health of our skin and other cells. Fat also helps in the transport of fat-soluble vitamins (A,D,E, and K). Homemade nut milk is creamier than store bought, and making nut milk at home helps you to avoid excess sugar by allowing you to control the sweetness.
After some experimentation I discovered the best ratio was 1/4 cup of cashews to 2 cups of water. The recipe below creates a basic neutral milk for use in sauces, mashed potatoes, baking, cereal, and smoothies. Although, you’ll likely want to skip the vanilla for certain uses! The most commonly used nuts are almonds or cashews. Almonds create a lighter milk that’s lower in fat, but MUST be pre soaked overnight even if using a Vitamix. Cashews result in a richer result and don’t require soaking.
1/2 cup of unsalted (preferably raw) Cashews
4 cups water
1 tsp Vanilla extract (optional )
Place in high speed blender, and blend on high for about two minutes. Chill for 30 minutes before drinking (unless you’re adding it to a hot recipe).
This cashew milk keeps in the fridge for up to five days. Shake before using.