DIY: Cashew milk and Walnut milk

I like soymilk, especially on cold cereal. As a drink, though, soymilk has a less than desirable soy after-taste. I could make my own soymilk, but the commercial product is readily available and inexpensive. So I’ve opted for some more interesting and unusual types of homemade milk substitutes: cashew milk, and walnut milk.

My basic recipe for both types of ‘milk’, cashew or walnut, is as follows.

6 oz. of cashews or walnuts (raw)
4 cups bottled water
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

Soak the nuts in an excess of water overnight in the refrigerator. On the next day, pour out the water and rinse the nuts. Next, put the nuts in a pan with fresh water, and raise to a boil. Set aside, covered, for 1/2 hour or so. This step makes the nuts softer and easier to blend. It also kills any pathogens in the raw nuts. Strain the nuts again, and add them to a blender with 3 cups of bottled water. Blend well.

To strain the nut mixture, I’ve tried using a fine cloth, such as a flour sack cloth or cheese cloth. This approach works. But I find it easier to use a fine mesh strainer (the metal kind). The particles of nuts that did not liquefy get caught in the strainer not only because of their size, but also because they are wet and adhere together. After most of the liquid makes its way slowly through the strainer, I press the mixture with a meat pounder. Next, I empty the nut paste that remains into a clean container, add 1 more cup of bottled water, and stir. Straining the mixture a second time completes the process.

The result is about 4 cups of nut milk. I add 2 to 4 tablespoons of sugar and 1/4 teaspoon of salt to improve the taste. But you can substitute honey or agave nectar or brown sugar, and adjust the amount of sweetener to your taste.

Cashew milk tastes like liquid cashews, and walnut milk tastes like liquid walnuts. The milk is a little gritty, if you drink it straight up. If you let it settle and chill overnight, the taste is much improved. Both types of milk are excellent on cold cereal, especially nutritious-but-bland flakes of various kinds. It makes the flakes taste like cashews or walnuts. The cashew milk was creamier and a little better tasting, in my opinion. Enjoy.

– Thoreau

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