If you’ve ever made your own batch of nut milk (or seed milk) at home, you know how proud you are the moment you’re finally finished. You’ve strained the nuts from the nut milk bag or cheesecloth into a nice glass pitcher, and marvel at your dairy-free beverage you’ll be able to enjoy at home. No store-bought options, no additives, and the whole process wasn’t as big of a deal as you imagined it to be. But let’s be honest … how many of us have the leisure of time to go about making homemade nut milk on a consistent basis? Hardly many, most likely. If we did, the non-dairy milk industry wouldn’t be (thankfully) thriving and sales wouldn’t continue to skyrocket.
The Purpose of Soaking and Sprouting Nuts
But soaking nuts is important for optimal digestion, blending, and to get the most nutritious out of homemade milks. So we shouldn’t just skip it altogether when using whole nuts and seeds. Hemp seeds are one of the only seeds that don’t require soaking of all seed-based milks since they’re simple to digest and are easy to blend, but almost all other nuts and seeds should be soaked at least 8-12 hours before blending them with water and straining them to make non-dairy milk at home. This breaks down some of their cells walls that can be a bit tough on the stomach, releases their natural enzymes, and it even makes the blending process easier too. It’s simple enough, but somehow still not mainstream for a very good reason.
The truth is that hardly any of us have enough time on our hands to be able to make homemade nut milk all the time from soaked or sprouted nuts. While it’s not excessively time-consuming, the soaking process takes a good 12 hours or more so you have to remember to do that first, then there’s the straining of the nuts and seeds, and while there are many uses for nut pulp so it doesn’t go to waste, it can pile up quickly in the fridge if you’re not eating it within a few days before it goes bad. Plus, nut pulp can be a bit heavy on the stomach in such dense amounts, so it’s not something you probably normally want to reach for when you make all your dishes.
So what’s the answer? Should we just make store-bought options all the time? Not necessarily. While several brands on the market are of a great quality, there is another option that’s really so simple, most people overlook it altogether. It will also still allow you to get the benefits of soaked, homemade raw nut (or seed) milk at home, without all the other steps.
The Easiest Way to Make Your Own Raw Nut Milk At Home … “Cheater’s” Nut Milk
The answer? Raw nut butters. It’s really that easy.
Raw nut and seed butters are already soaked and sprouted (check with each brand to make sure) before they’re cold-ground into butter. While you can use roasted, raw nut butters create a better milk, but both will work. The soaked raw nut butters makes them easier to digest, more nutritious, and to be honest, not as gritty as many of the natural or roasted varieties out there. You can easily blend just 1/2 cup of any raw nut or seed butter out there with 3 1/2 cups of water and achieve the same results as if you used 1 cup of nuts with 4 cups of water (the nut butters are a bit denser so you need less).
What about cost comparisons? Most people realize that organic, cold-milled raw nut and seed butters cost around $10-12 a jar, on average, some more, some less (buying online is more affordable). A pound of organic almonds is roughly the same, but likely more expensive if they’re organic and raw. And since most of us have nut butter lying around anyway, it’s easy enough to keep on hand for quick milks.
Here’s how to do it:
Homemade “Cheater’s” Raw Non-Dairy Milk
- 1/2 cup raw nut or seed butter (almond, cashew, hemp, tahini, walnut, pecan, Brazil nut, cacao)*
- sweetener of choice (optional: use 2 drops liquid vanilla stevia, a date, a dried fig, or 1 tbsp. maple syrup if needed)
- 3 1/2 cups cold, filtered water
- tiny pinch of sea salt (optional, but adds a little flavor and will preserve it a little longer)
- Add the water to a high-speed blender (household blenders may work just as well since nut butter is already ground).
- Blend for 2 full minutes on high to make sure it’s all whipped together.
- Store in a glass pitcher; will keep up to 3-4 days in the fridge (but it will likely be gone way before that!).
*Notes*: You can also use peanut butter to make peanut butter milk (though it won’t be raw, it will still be tasty), but do not use coconut butter since it is hard at room temperature and when blended with cold water will harden again, even if softened. To make your own coconut milk, see this recipe here.
There are so many ways you can use this delicious drink; smoothies, oatmeal, sauces and dressings, baked goods, entrees, in place of dairy milk in any recipe … the list goes on and on! See some tips for which milk to use where here.
You can also check out 7 Delicious Things to Make With Non-Dairy Milk You Haven’t Tried Yet for more ideas to put this beverage to use. And, if you’d still like to go the old-fashioned route and sprout your nuts anyway, see all of our delicious nut milks you can try at home.
Now, see how easy that was? You can have the best of convenience and homemade non-dairy milk just by thinking outside the box a little more often … making a plant-based lifestyle simple is what it’s all about!
Lead Image Source: Flickr