With endless varieties of nut milks lining the grocery shelves, you might wonder: “Can I make my own nut milk at home?” Yes you can—and it’s not as difficult as you might think. You can enhance this basic recipe, good for nearly any nut, by adding fresh berries, coconut, or blending varieties of nuts (Cashew-Almond Milk, for example). Start simple and when you’re comfortable with the basic recipe, experiment with flavor.
Nut Milk Basics
- Buy raw unsalted nuts.
- Soak the nuts overnight according to guidelines listed below.
- Drain and rinse the soaked nuts.
- Blend the nuts with fresh, clean water (be sure to use a high quality blender).
- Strain the nut milk. For sustainability, use a piece of clean cotton cloth. It can be washed and reused hundreds of times.
- Sweeten with raw honey, molasses or stevia if desired.
- Chill, drink, enjoy!
A blender is the best tool for this job, but a food processor works too. Nut milk from a blender is a bit creamier and sweeter.
After blending, straining the milk provides the best consistency for a drinkable nut milk.
Some folks prefer to leave their nut milk unstrained, especially those with high-powered blenders, but unstrained milk will separate more in the fridge and will need to be mixed again before serving. Unstrained milk is thicker and creamier than strained.
Another option, for those who prefer a thinner milk, is to add clean water to strained or even unstrained milk. Simply add clean water until the milk reaches your preferred consistency.
Cashew Nut Milk Recipe
To make 2 cups of Cashew Nut Milk:
- 1 cup raw, unsalted cashews, or any raw nuts without skins
- 2 cups water
- Soaking water
Soak the nuts: Place the nuts in a medium glass bowl. Cover with water. Cover the bowl with a cloth and let sit overnight at room temperature or up to 2 days in the refrigerator. The nuts will plump as they absorb water and should feel a little squishy if you pinch them. The longer the nuts soak, the creamier the milk will be.
Drain and rinse the nuts: Drain the nuts through a fine-mesh strainer or colander, then rinse them thoroughly under cool running water. Place the nuts in a blender (or food processor) and add the 2 cups of water.
Blend on high speed: Pulse the blender a few times to break up the nuts, then blend continuously on high speed for 3 minutes. If using a food processor, process for 4 minutes total, pausing to scrape down the sides halfway through. The nuts should be broken down into a very fine meal, and the water should be white and opaque.
Strain out the nut meal: Line the fine-mesh strainer or colander with either an opened nut bag, 2 layers of cheesecloth or a piece of cotton and set over a measuring cup or bowl. Pour the nut mixture through the strainer. Gather the nut bag or cheesecloth around the nut meal and twist close. Squeeze and press with clean hands to extract as much nut milk as possible. You should get about 2 cups.
Refrigerate the nut milk: Store the nut milk in sealed containers in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. If it separates, just shake to recombine. Save the nut meal for another use such as in vegan lasagna, enchiladas, home-made ice cream, cookies and more!
Nut Soaking Guidelines by Hardness
Long-soak nuts (almonds, pistachios, and hazelnuts) need at least 8 hours.
Medium-soak nuts (pecans, walnuts, and Brazil nuts) are oilier and swell up quickly, so require less soaking time.
Short-soak nuts (cashews, macadamias, and pine nuts) have the highest fat content and require only 2 to 4 hours soaking. Do not soak these nuts for longer than 4 hours. Soaking them for extended periods of time breaks down their health-promoting oils.
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