Adventures in nut milk making

I get obsessed easily with making things.

I find something online that sounds interesting, and before you know it, I’ve got a plan for how I’m going to make it. Sometimes it yields something interesting, but most often, because of time constraints, it yields a project that remains unfinished and stashed someplace in a bag at the back of my closet. Shameful, I know.

So, in order to get out of the habit of starting something but not finishing it, I’m taking on smaller projects, usually involving making things that can be eaten. That gives me the extra incentive to finish!

Today I decided, after a few days of perusing (obsessively) the net, to make two kinds of nut milk: almond milk and cashew milk. I wanted to see what I could accomplish with nuts bought at a plain old grocery store and an old but sturdy Osterizer blender. And no, to be clear, I don’t own a Vitamix, though I’m starting to wonder if I should.

To get started, I soaked my nuts about 24 hours, changing the water after the first 12 hours (it was starting to look murky).

 

 

 

Then I got myself some liquid Vanilla Stevia at my local (expensive) health food store, Tau. This tiny bottle cost me 11.99$ but I thought I’d only be using a few drops per recipe, so I didn’t mind the high price.

 

The recipes I read online called for the following ratio of ingredients:

  • 1 cup of soaked nuts (cashews or almonds in my case)
  • 3 cups of filtered water (or more if you like your milk more liquid-y)
  • A few drops of the Vanilla Stevia OR 1 tablespoon of Agave Nectar

I’ve read in quite a few places that it’s a good idea to use spring water or filtered water to get rid of the chlorine present in tap water. This is the filter we bought to filter water we put in our giant humidifier, but I figured I’d repurpose it for my experiment.

And obviously, you need a decent blender. Since I just figured out all this nut milk stuff, I haven’t had a chance to go shopping for a rather expensive Vitamix. Instead, I used my mother’s 20 year old Osterizer, which may look out of date but still packs quite a punch.

 

 

 

Before I even started blending, I set up a glass container with some quadruple-thick cheese cloth fasted with elastics, seeing as I don’t yet have a nut milk bag, which is usually made of nylon and can filter your nut milk quite efficiently.

I think I may have overshot the mark with this container (it’s actually a pasta container) but I wasn’t quite sure what to expect and wanted to have tons of room for the liquid to drain out of the cheese cloth.

 

 

 

 

 

FINALLY, I got to the blending (remember: 1 cup of soaked nuts + 3 cups of filtered water + whatever sweetner you want).

I first blended on the GRIND setting for 30 seconds, making sure to hold the lid down. Then I blended again on the LIQUIFY setting, again for 30 seconds (the lid almost flew off that time!).

Once I was done, I *slowly* poured my liquid into my container. This is what it looked like:

Those who make cashew milk in a Blendtec or a Vitamix have reportd that they don’t need to filter their milk, but seeing as I *only* have an Osterizer, I had to filter. Even so, I found the final texture a bit grainy for my taste at first. Once the milk settled, I noticed sediment at the bottom and then it tasted fine. It wasn’t very sweet so when I made a second batch, I added a bit more Stevia.

I repeated the same procedure for the almonds except that I sweetened with Agave Nectar. Overall, I found that the process using almonds a) yields much less milk, and b) yields a lot more “meal” (the almond residue left behind). I kept the almond mea for future use, though I’m not sure what yet!  The taste of the almond milk versus that of the cashew milk was better, perhaps because of the addition of the Agave Nectar.

My next step will be…to make a dairy-free yoghurt from my cashew milk, using an awesome recipe I found at the Spunky Coconut.

To be continued!