“Nut milk”. Is that not the most unfortunately titled of all food items? Actually… it might just be pipped by it’s cousin “Nut Cheese”. Putting immaturity aside for a second though this is seriously awesome stuff and has become my obsession since my clean living revolution (read about that here). My milk of choice would have to be almond. Nut Milk is super easy to make and because almonds are naturally so nutritionally dense you don’t need to fortify them with anything… making homemade just as good than store bought. Actually better because you miss out on all the waste associated with packaged milks. If you need more convincing, here are some of the nutritional benefits of Almond Milk;
Low in Calories – Considering nuts are so calorific and full of all those good fats, I was shocked to discover that it is low in calories – around 60 per 250mls (compared to 426 for the equivalent serve of cows milk!)
Easy to digest – Free of lactose, casein, gluten and soy making it the best choice for your non-dairy dairy!
High in protein
Full of nutrients – Nut milks have no cholesterol and higher levels of minerals and vitamins than other non-dairy equivalents like rice and soy (a avoid soy anyway… for these reasons). This milk is full of vitamin E, manganese, selenium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, iron, fiber and phosphorous. The high levels of vitamin E and flavonoids make it a cancer fighting tonic!
Tastes Delish!!! – Nut milk is a lot milder than soy and is delicate and sweet. It is brilliant in smoothies, baking and all sorts of other recipes (like Chia Pudding – yum!)
Almond milk doesn’t contain much calcium though, so it should not be considered a replacement for your calcium intake.
To make nut milk you need a nut milk bag or material equivalent. I use these Living Synergy nut milk bags which are produced by local raw foodie queen Jen Keenan (of Living Synergy Dunsborough retreats)! You can buy them directly from the link I provided or see the large list of Australia Wide stockists here. They are very reasonably priced at around $17. If you are outside of Australia, Amazon also has an impressive list available.
This being said if you can also make your own nut milk bags out of just about anything. Sew a bag shape out of cheesecloth or muslin or upcycle an old (washed) stocking (panty-hose). I have used the panty-hose trick before when I was making this Coconut and Cucumber Facial Cleanser.
- Raw Almonds (organic if possible)
- Water (filtered if possible)
For every 1 Cup of almonds I use 3 Cups of water.
- Sweeteners – raw honey, agave, stevia, maple syrup, dates
- Raw Cacao – chocky milk!!!
- Spices – cinnamon,cloves, cardamom, cayenne?
- Soak your almonds in filtered water in the fridge for between 6 – 48 hours. The longer the better but if you don’t have time 6 hours is fine.
- Strain the almonds. (I strain into a colander over a bowl and then use the ‘wasted’ water in the garden).
- Place in blender with new water – for every 1 Cup of almonds you make you should add 3 Cups of water. (If you want to make a nice thick almond cream use 1 Cup almonds:1-2 Cup of water)
- Add any additional items to the blender (sweeteners, spice etc)
- Blend on high until the milk is foamy
- Pour blender contents into your nut milk bag or cheese cloth. There are a few ways you can do this – I place the nut milk bag over the top of the blender and pour into a bowl. You could also place the bag or cloth into a jag and fasten with an elastic bag before pouring.
- Squeeze all the pulp in the bag to extract all the milk.
- Store in a glass container with an airtight lid (a sterilized old jar will work just fine!)
Your milk will last between 4 – 5 days in an airtight container.
Now you will notice that you are left with the pulp of the almonds. Now hold your horses… DO NOT THROW THIS AWAY. This byproduct is a versatile base that you can make a whole range of recipes from! Here are three that I have tried, but really the possibilities are as limitless as your creativity!
Almond Pulp Crackers
I made these awesome crackers from a recipe from awesome vegan blog Figgy and Sprout. Served with homemade Baba Ganoush they went down a treat.
See the recipe here.
Raw Almond Pulp Macaroons
Living Synergy (where I got my nut milk bag) provided this amazing recipe for Raw Almond Macaroons. I changed them slightly by leaving out the vanilla bean and using half dessicated coconut and half shredded (both unsweetened) and they are delicious! She the recipe here.
Crunchy Cacao Balls
I then adapted that recipe into my own little nutritious treat! These little balls are delicious.
- Place 1+1/2 Cups of unsweetened shredded coconut, 1/2 Cup nut pulp, 1/2 Cup dates, 1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil and 1 Tablespoon of Raw Cacao into a bowl.
- Get messy and combine with your hands… squish and mix until you can form doughy balls. (or you can use a blender if you are feeling lazy)
- Roll mix into balls and then roll in cacao nibs.
What a resourceful way to get your milk!