supplies needed -
nut milk bag (often found at your local health food store), or a clean cotton or muslin cloth bag
optional: fine mesh sieve (I just use this to rest the nut milk bag on as I’m straining the milk)
1 cup nuts or seeds
4 cups filtered water, plus more for overnight soaking
optional: 1 tablespoon natural sweetener, to taste (maple syrup or honey are my favorites)
optional: spices like vanilla extract, cinnamon & cardamom powder
Soak one cup of nuts overnight in plenty of filtered water.
The next morning, strain off soaking water and rinse the soaked nuts well.
Add the rest of the ingredients to a blender: soaked nuts, 4 cups filtered water, a pinch of sea salt, 1 tablespoon sweetener, and a splash of vanilla & pinch of cinnamon powder
Blend on medium for a few minutes, until mixture is white, frothy, and well-ground.
Strain milk through a nut milk bag, and squeeze every last drop of your precious milk out of the pulp.
In my home, one batch of nut milk never lasts more than 3 days. Whatever I don’t drink right away, I keep in the fridge. It will separate and this is completely normal! Just give it a good shake before drinking.
This means I don’t quite know how long it will last, though once I forgot to refrigerate a jar and it ended up just smelling sour like yogurt or kefir. As someone who makes fermented foods and drinks regularly, I’ve learned to really trust my nose. My unofficial advice: if it smells bad, rotten, or repulsive… don’t consume it! ;)
I’ve made nut milk out of almonds, cashews, pecans, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and walnuts. I imagine other nuts and seeds would work, I just haven’t tried it yet. So far, my favorite combinations are cashew milk and almond-pecan milk.
I use nut milk in coffee, chai, baked goods, oatmeal, and on its own: warmed with added spices and herbs, or cool.
B O N U S - as a barista, this homemade nut milk steams like a dream!
why make your own?
Store-bought nut milk is often filled with stabilizers, emulsifiers, gums, and preservatives, not to mention canola oil. I like to stay away from ingredients that “my grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.” This is advice comes from one of my favorite food advocates: Michael Pollan in his mini book ‘Food Rules’.
I find that a lot of nuts I find in stores are rancid. I like being able to choose the quality of nuts I buy. Tip: keep nuts in the refrigerator to keep them fresh. Bonus points to all the health food stores that sell & store their nuts in a refrigerator!
By soaking the nuts overnight, you reduce and hopefully eliminate the presence of phytic acid in your homemade nut milk. I’m not sure if large companies making shelf-stable nut milk are including this step. Phytic acid is a natural and very beneficial coating on seeds (including grains, nuts, etc), locking in nutrients until the seed is ready to sprout and grow. In our bodies, however, it can cause digestive stress, wear at the gut lining, contribute to increased food sensitivities, and prevent optimal nutrient absorption. Traditional preparations of foods (“slow food”) always include soaking or otherwise processing all seeds to make them more digestible. Some other examples aside from soaking are roasting, sprouting, or fermenting (think sourdough bread). A great resource in this area is Sandor Katz’ “The Art of Fermentation.”