While at the grocery store recently, I picked up a box of almond milk thinking that I hadn't tried it in cereal in quite some time and that it'd be nice to have around the house. I turned the box over to check out the sugar content and discovered a whole array of other ingredients and preservatives that I never realized were in most store-bought nut milks. It was time to make my own. Once you make homemade nut milks at home, you'll likely stop buying them at the store. They really are so, so simple and it's nice knowing exactly what's in them and being able to completely control the amount of sweetness on your own. That's the upside.
The downside is you do have to soak the nuts for at least 6 hours and preferably overnight, so plan ahead. And because there aren't preservatives to keep it shelf-stable and fresh, it's really only good for 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator. This hasn't been a problem in our house; we've been using it in cereal and adding it to coffee in the morning.
A Few Tips When Making Homemade Nut Milks
1. Sweetening: I actually tend to like my nut milks not too sweet, but adding 1 to 2 tablespoons of honey or agave is nice as is 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. A lot of folks blend in 1 to 2 sweet Medjool dates for natural sweetness.
2. Straining: For many nut milk recipes, you'll see the need for a "nut bag." This is essentially a bag made of a substance much like a super fine weave cheesecloth. You don't need this! I promise. Use a good-quality cheesecloth draped over a colander and you're good to go.
3. Leftover Pulp: After making your homemade nut milk, you're going to be left with a few cups of perfectly good pulp. Some recipes instruct you to toss it. I can never stand to do so, so I dry mine out on the lowest setting of my oven (170°F in my case) with the oven door cracked ajar. This takes 6 to 7 hours and is obviously not ideal in the hotter summer months, but it results in really delicious almond meal that you can use in cookies, breads, and muffins. If you'd rather, it makes pretty great compost for the garden instead.
Try a Recipe:
• Homemade Almond Milk - Lovely Morning
• Homemade Cashew Milk - Alana's Pantry
• Creamy Chocolate Hazelnut Milk - Always Order Dessert
• Spiced Hazelnut Milk - Roost
• Homemade Pistachio Milk - Food Babe
Do you ever make nut milk at home?
Related: Almond Milk: What Does it Really Taste Like?
(Image: Megan Gordon)