Dairy-free milks that I love include coconut, almond, cashew, hemp and oat milk. Almond milk has taken off as somewhat of a trend of late but be warned most store bought versions are far from healthy. If you read the labels many contain oils, stabilisers, agave, maltodextrin and many other unnecessary substances yet only 7% or 8% almond paste! A similar problem lies with tinned coconut milk so make sure you always read the labels first. Usually the tinned Thai organic coconut milk is the one I use and has the highest pure coconut content. For almond milk, Rude Health is the best store bought version I have found and my local health store started stocking it upon request for me so don’t be afraid to ask if you can’t find it in your local store! That being said, homemade is best and to really save your body the hardship of trying to rid itself of any processed nasties later, make your own clean, wholesome version in minutes.
*Tip: If you don’t want to make a whole container your chosen milk but simply want some for a smoothie. Pop a handful of nuts or 2-3tbsp of hemp seeds/oats into your blender with some water the night before. Then when you go to make your smoothie all you need do is add the rest of your ingredients and some more water giving you the whole nutritional value of the nuts and their milk.
Hang on a minute – Before making…The night before you will need to..
Soak any amount of almonds, cashews, oats or hemp seeds – from a handful to a whole bag, depending on how much milk you want, in water overnight. Whatever amount you decide to use, add about three times as much water.
The next day..
Place the soaked nuts, seeds or oats along with their water, a couple of dates/a squeeze of honey and some cinnamon, or cacao powder for your own chocolate milk, in blender and whizz for a few minutes until the nuts are broken down. Continue to add more water until the milk is at your desired consistency; i.e.: thick and creamy like full-fat milk or more liquidised like skim-milk.
Once nicely blended, place a fine-holed sieve over a bowl/jug and begin to slowly pour the milk into the sieve. You will need to stir the mixture in the sieve to push the milk through and move the leftover pulp out of the way. It may also be necessary to remove some of this pulp with a spoon into a second bowl depending on how much milk you have made.
It’s important that you really press the blended mixture into the sieve to squeeze out all the liquid.
Don’t discard the leftover almond pulp. Re-use it in smoothies, use it to make cookies & muffins or mix it with dates and coconut oil to make snack balls. The lady in the video I share below also offers some ideas about what to do with these leftovers.
Some recipes tell you to use a cheese cloth or ‘nut-milk bag’ to make your milk. This is not necessary. The above sieve and bowl method works perfectly OK, but if you do want to buy a cloth, don’t get caught out paying high amounts in a health food store. Instead go to your local fabric store and ask for some muslin cloth fabric. I bought 1/2 sq.metre for just over €1 in Dublin last year.
Once all milk has been pressed from the pulp. Pour your liquid into an air tight container or bottle and store in the fridge no longer than 5days.
Here is a really simple step-by-step YouTube video showing you just like I have explained and she also uses vanilla extract and a pinch of sea salt in her version for an alternative taste: