In the last five years or so, I’ve really slowed down my consumption of store bought nut and seed milk. I used to buy it all the time and drink it daily, but those days are long gone. Now I’ll keep a small container of it in the fridge in case I need to bake anything, but that’s pretty much the only time I use it. Have you ever read the ingredients on the back of a box of almond milk? Even the freshest, organic brands still have preservatives. The unsweetened ones are bland, but the sweetened ones have too much added sugar. The packaged stuff just doesn’t do it for me anymore. I’ve moved on.
I’ve come to realize that the only way to drink nut and seed milk on it’s own is to make it yourself. The flavor is better, there are more nutrients and no sugar, and I know I’ve said it a million times, but it’s so rad when you know you’re no longer a slave to packaging and processed foods. Learning to make your own nut and seed milk is so fundamental and so easy- you’ll wonder why you never did it before.
You have so many options when it comes to flavor; almonds, cashews, macadamia nuts, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, flax seeds, walnuts, hemp seeds, etc. I usually buy all my nuts and seeds in bulk; the prices are more reasonable and there’s less plastic waste which is always a plus. Store nuts and seeds in the freezer prior to soaking to elongate their shelf life.
Today I’ll be making Brazil Nut milk, since it’s my absolute favorite. Brazil nuts are a rich source of protein, vitamins E and B6, magnesium, calcium, potassium, iron, zinc, copper, phosphorus, selenium, thiamin, niacin, pantothenic acid, and folates.
Here’s what you’ll need:
1 cup raw Brazil nuts, soaked
3 raw Dates, pitted and soaked
3 1/2 cups Filtered water
1/2 tsp Alcohol free vanilla extract (or a whole vanilla bean if you’re feeling fancy)
pinch of Himalayan salt
Bowl – for soaking*
Cheesecloth (or Nut Milk Bag) – for straining
Here’s what you do:
Soak the Brazil nuts for at least three hours in a bowl covered with plastic wrap, or a Tupperware container in the fridge. For optimal results, I usually soak Brazil nuts from 8 hours to overnight, but if you’re short on time, three hours is the bare minimum. Soak the dates for about an hour. Drain the soaking water and rinse dates and Brazil nuts in cool water.
Throw all the ingredients in your blender. Blend on high for a few minutes. Once everything has converged, slowly pour the contents from the blender into a bowl through the cheesecloth to strain, being careful not to let any ground up nuts fall into the milk. This will be a little more difficult with the cheesecloth than the nut milk bag. You may want a friend to help keep the cheesecloth from slipping, otherwise, your milk might end up a little gritty. You will need to gently squeeze the cloth to get all the milk in the bowl.
The nut pulp can be used for any number of things- in homemade granola, protein bars and cookies, or it can be dehydrated and used as a nutrient-dense gluten free flour substitute. Although, if you use dates as a sweetener like I do, you’ll have to account for a few chunks of dried up dates in there. (See above.) I try to never waste the leftover pulp, I paid for the nuts and soaked them for hours- I want my money’s worth.
From here, taste the milk to see if it needs any more sweetening. If so, pour in a small amount (about 1-2 tsp) of agave nectar or 100% Pure grade A maple syrup and pour it back in the blender to mix for a few more seconds. Now it’s ready to be poured into a jug and served. That’s it! It’s so easy to make and so versatile, you can experiment with any number of flavors. Make chocolate milk or coffee or strawberry, use flax seeds or cashews or peanuts. It’s hard to go wrong.
This is so delicious and good for you, it’ll seriously blow your mind. And the flavor gets better as it cools in the fridge. It can be enjoyed for 3-5 days, be sure to shake the milk before drinking, separation is natural.
*A note on soaking- I know I’ve mentioned this in the past, but your nuts and seeds must be soaked prior to consumption. This is due to nuts naturally growing with enzyme inhibitors that are supposed to keep them from sprouting prematurely, but when eaten, can have adverse affects on your digestive system. Soaking your nuts and seeds in warm water will not only remove these inhibitors, but will encourage the growth of positive enzymes, and raise vitamin B levels in your nuts and seeds. Every nut and seed has it’s own minimum amount of soaking time, see below.
Almonds: 8-12 hours
Brazil Nuts: 3 hours
Cashews: 2-4 hours
Flaxseeds: 1 hour
Hazelnuts: 8-12 hours
Macadamias: 2 hours
Oats: 6 hours
Pecans: 6 hours
Pistachios: 8 hours
Pumpkin seeds: 8 hours
Sesame seeds: 8 hours
Sunflower seeds: 8 hours
Walnuts: 4-6 hours
Soaking times seem really intimidating, but I get ahead of the curve by always having at least one cup of nuts soaking in my fridge at all times. Having a cup of soaked cashews ready to go for any sauces or milk that you want to make is incredibly convenient, it can turn a 4 hour prep time into 5 minutes.