DIY: Sunflower Seed Milk and Pecan Milk

This post is a follow-up to my previous post on making your own cashew milk and walnut milk. For this article, I’ve simplified and also improved the procedure for making the nut-milk, so that you can get the best taste and the most nutrition. You can use this recipe for many different types of nuts or seeds, but this time around I’ve made two different types of nut milk: one from sunflower seeds and the other from pecans.

6 oz. of nuts or seeds
4 cups water
4 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Soak the nuts or seeds in 3 cups of water in the refrigerator overnight. On the next day, blend the water and nuts/seeds in a blender. Next, transfer the mixture to a sauce pan and heat to the boiling point, then set aside for 2 hours to soak and cool. When cool, pour the mixture through a fine metal strainer, and press the mixture with a large spoon or a meat pounder to extract the liquid. Return the solid remains to the blender and add another cup of water. Blend, and then strain again, to get the most out of the nuts or seeds. Finally, add the salt and sugar, to taste. You can substitute honey, agave nectar, brown sugar, or another sweetener.

The pecan milk that I made has a mild pecan taste, with a nice full pecan aftertaste. Likewise, the sunflower seed milk had a mild sunflower seed taste; it was not overwhelming or unpleasant. Of the four types of nut-milk that I’ve made so far: cashew, walnut, pecan, and sunflower seed, my favorite is the cashew milk, but the sunflower seed milk runs a close second. However, none so far have been satisfactory as a milk substitute for coffee — and I’m not a coffee aficionado; instant coffee tastes just fine to me. However, all of these types of nut and seed milk are excellent on cold cereal.

The sunflower seed milk is the least expensive to make, since sunflower seeds are cheaper than pecans, cashews, or walnuts. You can also grow your own sunflower seeds. You would need to hull the seeds before using them to make milk, though.

In terms of nutrition, I assume that the milk will have a nutritional content similar to the nuts and seeds from which it is made. According to the USDA (http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/list) –

Cashews are about 18% protein and 44% fat.
Walnuts are about 15% protein and 65% fat.
Pecans are about 9% protein and 72% fat.
Sunflower seeds are about 21% protein and 51% fat.

The fat in the sunflower seeds is high in omega-6 fatty acids, while walnuts have good quantities of both omega-6 and omega-3 fat. Pecans are high in mono-unsaturated fat with a good amount of omega-6, while cashews have mostly mono-unsaturated fat with a lesser amount of omega-6 fat. Of the four, walnut milk has the healthiest dietary fat, since it has both essential fatty acids. But sunflower seeds have the most protein and the most omega-6 fat.

– Thoreau

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