This week I’m talking about nut milk! Commercial almond milk has really taken off in Australia, and whilst I bought it for a while, once you start making your own it spoils you for the store-bought tetra pack variety (and the store-bought fresh almond milk can set you back $8 dollars!) What I particularly like about making your own is that you an adjust the flavour or type of sweetener used, or in my case just make a batch of purely almonds and water! I’m not going to use this space to talk about the effects of soy/dairy milk on your body or the bobby calves (I will let you do your own research), but instead to encourage you to try this recipe as a great low calorie and delicious milk alternative!
It’s super quick to make your own almond milk, you just need to remember to soak your nuts overnight. Soaking makes it easier to blend the nuts and also reduces the level of phytates – the plant enzyme inhibitor that stops the nuts sprouting without water, soil or sunlight. Sarah Britton of My New Roots says that phytates also “prevent our own enzymes from breaking down the food in our digestive tracts, inhibiting absorption of precious vitamins and minerals”, so really it’s better to soak any nuts that you eat (often referred to as sprouting or “activating” nuts). In the photo below, the soaked nut on the right looks so much more delicious, soft and plump than the dried one on the left, it makes sense that it’s much easier on our digestion too.
To peel or not to peel? Honestly, I don’t bother peeling almonds before making nut milk. It’s mainly out of laziness and the fact I make nut milk in the morning before work, but it’s also because I don’t notice a huge difference to the taste when I do. If you would like to peel them, just squeeze the almond between your thumb and forefinger after soaking them, and the skin will easily slip off.
In order to strain your milk you will need either a store bought nut milk bag or a piece of muslin/cheesecloth, but in a pinch you could even use the foot of a new panty-hose/trouser sock! So long as the material is fine and thin it should work. I use a nut milk bag as I find it easiest, you can pick them up for around ten dollars in health food stores or online.
You can also adjust the amount of nuts in your milk depending upon what you’re using it for: use less nuts if you’re making smoothies with your milk and/or wanting to stretch your dollar further, or use more nuts for a richer milk suitable for creaming coffee. I make 1 litre batches which I use in 2-3 days, but if you’re worried about waste, feel free to halve the recipe… That’s another great thing about making your own!
If you’ve ever thought the idea of making your own nut milk seemed too hard, I encourage you to give this recipe a go! It really is super easy and delicious! xx
Nut Milk 101 - Almond
You can choose whatever nut you like here, I prefer almond or hazelnut but you could also use pistachio, walnut, cashew or macadamia nuts. Note that cashews may blend till totally smooth and may not require straining, and that macadamias pulp makes a great ricotta. I’ve suggested 3/4 cup – 1 cup of nuts as that is what I use, the more nuts the creamier the milk. Add flavours or sweeteners as suggested below, or feel free to experiment with your own flavour ideas. Fresh is best, so it’s better to make a smaller batch if you are worried about waste.
Makes 1 litre.
3/4 cup – 1 cup | 110g-150g raw almonds or nut of choice, soaked in water for 8+ hours
1 L | 4 cups water
Optional flavours: vanilla power/extract, dates, maple syrup, honey, cinnamon, cacao, rice malt syrup, etc.
Drain and thoroughly rinse your nuts before placing them in the high speed blender with the fresh water. Blend until they form a creamy milk (30sec – 2 min depending on quality of your blender). Over a bowl, strain the contents of the blender through a nut milk bag, cheesecloth or other thin material. Using your hands, squeeze the bag of nut pulp till as much liquid comes out as possible. Rinse your blender, return the nut milk to it and blend in any additional sweeteners or flavours (or leave plain as I do). Store in an airtight glass jar refrigerated for up to 3 days, best within first 1-2.
Use your remaining nut pulp in my recipe for almond hummus or other dips, smoothies, baked goods, or in one of these delicious nut cheeses by my friend and fellow blogger Dearna of To Her Core. If you use macadamia nuts, I also have a recipe for a great savoury ricotta and a delicious sweet vanilla ricotta. The pulp can also be frozen for later use.