When dry nuts are blended, their fats stick together. The result is nut butter. When nuts are soaked first, however, the fats stay behind in a watery suspension known as nut milk. Almond milk is the most common nut milk, but any nut—including Brazil nuts, cashews, chestnuts, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts—can be made into nut milk. Try almond milk in rice puddings and cocoa, pecan milk over fruit desserts, and cashew milk in pilafs and curries. Nut milk can also be transformed into nut cheese, nut yogurt and even nut ice cream. Learn how to make yummy nut cheese, or check out the book Big Vegan by Robin Asbell.
Easy Nut Milk Recipe
• 1 cup raw or dry-roasted nut pieces (without oil)
• Filtered water
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon or nutmeg (optional)
• 2 tablespoons cocoa powder (optional)
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
• 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
• 1 tablespoon honey (optional)
1. In a lidded container, soak nuts in enough water to cover them by about an inch. Refrigerate container for a minimum of 8 hours, or up to a week. (Drain and rinse nuts then replace water daily if soaking more than 8 hours.)
2. After soaking nuts, rinse them in clean water. Add nuts to a blender or food processor along with 3 to 4 cups of fresh water (use less water for creamier milk). Blend thoroughly. At this point, the milk is entirely usable, but will be thick and slightly chunky. For a finer consistency, strain mixture through cheesecloth, a jelly bag, a cloth sprouting bag or a nut milk bag. (Reserve leftover nut meal for use in baked goods or as a crust for baked fish filets or meat. For best results, first dry out nut meal in the oven on a low setting.)
3. Taste milk and stir in optional sweeteners and spices to your liking, or add flavorings at time of use.
4. Cover and refrigerate; store milk for up to 5 days, stirring before use. Nut milk and extra-soaked almonds also may be frozen for up to 3 months. Makes 3 cups.
Learn more about the benefits of nuts and find more recipes in Nuts for Health.