Nut milks are in right now – tasty, healthy and 100% vegan. Want to know how to make your own?
It’s great that we live in an age where so many different types of food are available to us. I’ve read accounts of older foodies and/or health warriors who could only get hold of olive oil in tiny bottles from specialist pharmacies during the 80s. Imagine! And whatever we can’t find in shops, we can get online. Milk is one thing that’s gone through some major changes recently: the explosion of dairy-free milks on supermarket shelves is huge and the varieties are constantly increasing.
While the convenience is great, and recognition of the needs of those who don’t consume dairy is positive, I can’t say I’ve ever bought these milks. Unfortunately, I’ve found the majority of the products on shelves contain added sugars and a whole range of other chemical ingredients. Carrageenan is one such ingredient that’s added to many non-dairy milks, and studies have controversially linked this to potential gastrointestinal inflammation diseases.
It’s actually quicker to make your own nut milk than to pop to the shops for a pint of the white stuff. Even if the shops are on your way home, it can be quicker to make your own than wait in the queue! Not only is it super fast and unbelievably easy to make nut milk at home, the taste is beautiful. There’s a freshness you can’t get from the pasteurised cartons of non-dairy milks and you can add other flavours, such as vanilla or cocoa, to suit your own tastes. Here’s my go-to recipe for almond milk that I make a few times a week, as well as some fab variations.
- 1 cup measure of almonds (must be plain, unsalted and unflavoured.)
- 1.5 litres water.
- Blend the nuts and the water together for a minute or two in a regular blender or 30-60 seconds in a high-speed blender.
- Pour into a large jug over a sieve. Done!
- As there are no preservatives, there will be a bit of separation so the milk will need a quick stir before using each time.
- You can use a muslin cloth or a specialist ‘nut milk’ bag to get a more pure milk with no almond bits in at all.
- This recipe makes a luscious, thick and creamy milk. For a lighter consistency (and to make your ingredients go further), use either a quarter cup less nuts or 250 mls more water.
- Experiment with other nuts. I LOVE cashew milk for baking and Brazil nut milk for general deliciousness. Hazelnut milk is insane made into a hot chocolate!
- If you can find them, use ‘activated’ nuts which are available online and in health food shops. ‘Activated’ means they have been soaked and dried before sale; a process which reduces phytic acid and makes the nuts more digestible when eating. You can also emulate this process at home by soaking the nuts overnight in water (or while you’re at work) before draining and then following the recipe, but it’s not vital for making milks.
- I like to make plain milks as I use them in shakes/smoothies/baking or dessert recipes and I add other flavours then. If you want to drink this milk straight or add it to cereal/porridge, you can add flavours you love during the blending stage of the recipe, such as vanilla bean or even cocoa powder for chocolate milk at the ready!