Plant-based Mylk: Easy Homemade Almond + Cashew Recipes
There are a multitude of reasons to make your own plant-based mylk at home. I'm sure by now you've realised it can save on a heap of unnecessary packaging! It's also really fresh, healthier and a little kinder on the environment. I also find that cutting down on the amount of mylk I consume is really beneficial - it saves me money and packaging, and uses less products from large monocultures that use a heck of a lot of resources to produce! (Almonds are a particularly intensive industry, where water usage and honey bee use and abuse is rife). I have made soy milk in the past but find it's quite labour-intensive and the flavour isn't so great. I LOVE the taste of my own nut mylk though, which I make with either almonds, cashews, or a combination of the two. You could easily make this with hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, oats (without soaking) or whatever high-fat, creamy nut or seed takes your fancy. You can also play with consistency - the less water, the creamier the mylk.
Nut and seed mylk doesn't quite contain the protein content that dairy and soy milks do, making it less ideal for curdling into buttermilk, which is important to know for some vegan recipes. It also has a fairly low calorie and nutrient content - all the more reason to use up the pulp! But more on that later.
Here's my basic nut mylk recipe:
1 cup raw almonds, or cashews, or half-half
Pinch of mineral salt
One pitted medjool date, or a tsp of maple syrup (you could also use sugar, agave, rice malt syrup)
1L filtered water
A good blender, food processor or Thermomix
Nut mylk bag or cheese cloth
1L bottle or jar with lid (or two 500ml)
1) Soak nuts in a bowl of water in fridge overnight. (If you forget to do this, you can use boiling water over cashews for about two hours)
2) In the morning, strain and rinse nuts (pour water on the garden or lawn) and add to blender. Add date or sweetener of choice, salt and 1L of water. Note that if you've put the nuts in first, then topped with water to a written measuring line on the blender, you'll need to go over the 1L line as the nuts take up some volume. Also sterilise your jars now - I put both glass and lids in the over at 100 degrees Celcius for 15mins.
3) Blend on high speed for 30s until well blitzed, then blend on medium speed for another 90s until creamy.
4) Over a clean bowl or jug, pour mylk and pulp through a nut mylk bag or cheese cloth and strain well. Save the pulp!!! It's fantastic for baking, thickening soups or sauces, or making fermented nut cheese (more on that in a post to come!). Freeze if you know you won't use it straight away.
5) Pour strained mylk into sterilised bottles/jars (don't worry if they're still hot when pouring) and transfer straight to the fridge, where it will last 5-7 days*. If you've never tasted it fresh, now's the time to have a try - it's delicious! Keep your nut pulp in a sealed container in the fridge for a week, or in the freezer for up to three months.
*You will know if your mylk has started to go off - it smells a bit funny, tastes sour, and becomes slimy and thick. You can also freeze half of your mylk if you know you won't drink it within the week.
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