Early on in nutrition school we did an icebreaker activity that involved sharing a food-related thing they were currently interested in (I was grooving on delicata squash at the time). One of my classmates shared that she was enjoying making her own almond milk which really impressed the teacher. Since there are few things I love more than the attention and approval of a teacher, I raised my hand when she asked if anyone else was in the habit.
That was a big fat lie.
I had made almond milk exactly ONE TIME in my life and it was a horrible experience that I hated every minute of. I’ll save you the gory details but will say that it ended with an exploded nut sack. I promptly returned to buying nut milk from a box.
But as much as I hated making my own, I kind of hated buying boxed stuff just as much. The ingredient lists of commercial non-dairy milk usually kicks off with water, followed by a type of gum or two to thicken it up, lecithin to keep it silky smooth, flavour to make it taste like something since it’s mostly just water, synthetic vitamins to fortify it with at least some nutrition since it’s mostly just water and maybe a preservative to keep it shelf stable.
While there are probably worse ingredients in the packaged food world you’re not getting much else in that box of almond or other nut milk. Recent studies have revealed that most commercial almond milks are made up of less than 2% almonds — which makes $2.99+ a box an expensive habit for water and a bunch of processed ingredients to make it resemble almond milk.
Homemade nut milk starts to feel worth the trouble. Those nut sacks though…
Learning that there are nuts and seeds that blend into tasty non-dairy milks without straining was a revelation. Cashews and hemp seeds are now my go-to’s for homemade milk. At any given time I’ve got cashews soaking in my fridge. And when I haven’t been organized enough to do that I reach for the hemp seeds because you don’t even to soak them!
You’ll have fresh, non-dairy milk in just a few minutes that is full of healthy fat, protein, fiber and best of all flavour, with pretty much zero effort.
UPDATE: Since this post was originally published I have learned that soaking cashews in boiling water for ~10 minutes is just as good as soaking overnight. Simply pour boiling water over your cashews in a bowl, cover the bowl with a plate to keep that hot steam instead, drain, rinse, make cashew milk. Glory hallelujah!
Homemade Cashew or Hemp Milk
Makes about 4 cups
1 cup cashews, soaked for 6-8 hours or overnight OR 1 cup hemp seeds
4 cups water
Pinch of sea salt
Optional add ins: dates, vanilla, cinnamon, maple syrup, cacao powder, gelatin
1. Drain and rinse cashews if using.
2. Place cashews/hemp seeds and water in high-powered blender and blend until smooth. Will keep in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to five days.