How to make, use & store different nut milks

Cashew milk - very smooth and creamy

Home-made cashew nut milk

It’s so easy to make your own nut milk and you’ll also save a ton of cash doing it. Here’s my guide to making three of the tastiest and most versatile varieties: almond milk, cashew milk and coconut milk.

What you need

  • Nuts/coconut
  • Mineral/filtered water
  • Nut milk bag/cheesecloth/muslin/unused, clean nylon stocking

Tip: Be on the look-out for wholesale shops, or buy bags of broken nuts – they’re usually much cheaper than whole nuts, and if you’re using them to make milk, flour or butter, it doesn’t matter if they’re all crushed up.

Almond milk

So much cheaper than buying it ready-made, and you can store batches in the freezer. It has a deep nutty flavour.

What to use it for: Use in tea or coffee; pour over cereal; use in baking or cooking; add to smoothies or raw desserts; use it to make dairy-free yoghurt, or simply enjoy on its own.

How to store it: In sterilised containers in the fridge for 2 to 4 days, or completely cooled and then frozen in batches.

Benefits of almond milk: Low in calories, loaded with vitamins such as A and D, rich in calcium and phosphorus, free of saturated fats and cholesterol and full of healthy fats.

Reasons to make your own: Much cheaper than store-bought; fresher.

How to make it:

(see my step-by-step guide with images here).

Soak 2 cups of raw, blanched almonds in water overnight. Drain, rinse and add to a blender with 4 cups of water. Pulse a few times to break up the nuts, then blend on high speed for ten minutes. Optional: Add honey or maple syrup if you desire a sweeter milk.

Strain through a sieve lined with a nut milk bag and squeeze all the milk out – see below:

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Don’t discard the almond pulp! Instead, spread it out on a baking tray and bake it at low temperature for about 3 hours, until dry. You now have almond meal to use in baking, smoothies or for a protein boost, or you can throw it into your food processor (when it’s cool) and process until you have almond flour.

Cashew milk

One of the creamiest of all the nut milks, and also one of the easiest to make because you don’t need to strain it.

What to use it for: Thanks to its creamy flavour and refreshing taste, many people enjoy drinking it on its own. It can also be used in cereal, hot drinks and smoothies, or to make yoghurt or ice cream. See my coconut and cashew yoghurt recipe here.

How to store it: In sterilised containers in the fridge for 2 or 3 days, or cooled completely and then frozen in batches.

Benefits of cashew milk: You get a big nutrient bang for your buck – iron, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium and zinc – plus loads of protein and fibre.

Reasons to make your own: Can be hard to find in the shops; much cheaper to make your own; always fresh.

How to make it:

Soak one cup of raw, preferably organic cashews in water overnight. Strain, rinse and then place in a blender with 3 to 4 cups of water (depending on how creamy you want it). Pulse a few times to break up the nuts, and then blend on high for a few minutes. Give it a stir to make sure all the nuts have been broken down – if not, process for a few more minutes.

Allow to stand for 15 minutes, then scoop the foamy layer off the top. Drink immediately, use in a recipe or store.

The Blender Girl offers this helpful tip for choosing cashews:

Always purchase from a supplier where there is a high turnover to ensure freshness and quality. Look for plump cashews that are uniform in colour. Avoid the limp and shrivelled ones. Cashews should smell nutty and sweet. If they have a sharp or bitter smell they have gone rancid. To preserve the precious oils, store cashews in a sealed glass jar in the fridge for up to six months. Always soak cashews before using to remove the enzyme inhibitors and make them more digestible.

Coconut milk

This is one of the cheapest nut milks to make and also extremely versatile. I love whipping up a fresh batch whenever I’m preparing the rest of my ingredients for a curry.

What to use it for: In curries (especially Indian, Thai and Asian curries); in desserts – both raw and baked; in smoothies, soups and cocktails; over cereal, in stews and even in breakfast foods. Use it to add an exotic sweet tang to almost anything you like, or use it to make a delicious, dairy-free yoghurt (see recipe above).

How to store it: Fresh coconut is best consumed right away or stored overnight in the fridge. Otherwise, as with other nut milks, allow to cool completely and then freeze in sterilised containers. If you are fortunate enough to have access to fresh coconuts, here’s a great step-by-step guide to making fresh coconut milk.

Benefits of coconut milk: High in vitamins including vitamins C, E and B3, B5 and B6, and contains fibre, iron, magnesium, calcium and phosphorus. It should however be consumed in moderation, especially if you’re watching your waistline. Lower the KJ count by making it ‘lite’ – simply dilute it more.

Reasons to make your own: Much cheaper than store-bought, always fresh, no dodgy additives, preservatives or other unhealthy ingredients; can be lower in kilojoules.

How to make it:

Add 1 cup of fresh grated coconut or dry/dessicated coconut to a blender with 1.5 – 2 cups of warm (not boiling) water. The less water you use, the thicker and creamier it will be. Pulse a few times, then blend on high for about 5 minutes. Pour the milk through a sieve lined with a nut milk bag and strain, squeezing out as much of the milk as you can. Discard the pulp.

Please feel free to share any other nut milk recipes you have, as well as any ideas for using, storing and enjoying your nut milk. Cheers! 😉

Day 83: Dairy-free SCD yogurt recipe – a SUCCESS!

I’ve been promising this recipe for weeks, and I’m sorry it’s taken me this long. This yogurt is smooth, tasty and BEST of all, it has the PROPER yogurt consistency thanks to the addition of gelatine (which in itself has loads of health benefits). What a success – finally it doesn’t feel like I’m eating chewed-up nuts when I have my SCD yogurt 🙂

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This recipe is based on a few different ones that I’ve tweaked/combined, but I mainly used the recipe from Thetastyalternative.com. I’ve included the links at the end.

As always with homemade yogurt, you need to plan ahead: It takes about 30 hours from step 1.

Dairy-free cashew-coconut yogurt – SCD & paleo friendly

Makes 1 litre

1/2 cup cashew nuts

1 cup shredded/desiccated coconut

15ml vanilla extract

15ml-30ml honey

6g gelatine (make sure you have room temperature water on hand too)

Yogurt starter cultures (ensure that they’re lactose free if need be)

Method

Step 1: Soak your cashews in water for around 8 hours. I put them in a sealed container and keep them in the fridge, then rinse them when done.

Step 2. Make cashew milk. Cashews are the most awesome nuts to make milk from because they break down completely – no need to strain the milk. Put your cashews into a blender with 2 cups of water (filtered if you like). Pulse a few times to break up the nuts, then let it run on high speed for a few minutes. Check to make sure the nuts are completely broken down (if not, blend a little more), and then leave to stand for 10 or 15 minutes. Remove the thin layer of foam that forms on top.

Cashew milk - very smooth and creamy

Cashew milk – very smooth and creamy

Step 3. Make coconut milk. Add your coconut together with 2 cups of hot (not boiling) water to your blender. Blend for about 3-5 minutes, until it’s nice and creamy looking. Pour the milk into a strainer lined with cheesecloth or a nut milk bag, and strain it. Then, gather up the bag/cheesecloth and squeeze until you’ve extracted all the milk. Of course, you can use the pulp for cereals, bakes, etc, or dry it out and turn it into coconut flour.

Step 4. Heat your milks. Add 2 cups of coconut milk and 2 cups of cashew milk to a pot (you may have a little leftover), together with the vanilla extract and honey. Heat on a very gentle simmer until you reach 85C (185F). Always remember to stir the mixture well before taking a temperature reading. I use a clay pot for this step. Keep a close eye on the milk and don’t let it overheat, boil or burn.

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Step 5. Cool your milk. Take your mixture off the heat and allow it to cool to 43-49C (110-120F). While you’re waiting (I usually place it in a sink full of cold water and ice packs), mix 6g of gelatine with 75ml room temperature water and let it sponge.

Step 6. Add your gelatine. When the milk has cooled to the right temperature, add your gelatine. Ensure that it is well incorporated by using a stick blender to give it a good proper mix. I always clean my stick blender with boiling water before hand to make sure it hasn’t got any other bits of food/flavour still stuck to it.

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Step 7. Cool again. Place the pot back into the cold water and let it cool to around 38C (100F). Give it a good stir.

Step 8: Add your yogurt starter. At 38C/100F, add your starter to the mixture. You could also use 5 capsules of probiotics instead. Give the mixture another good spin with the stick blender.

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Step 9. Incubate . Pour your mixture into a sterilised container, and place it into your yogurt maker. It will need 12 hours here, so overnight usually works best.

Step 10. Refrigerate. After 12 hours, remove the container from your yogurt maker and give the mixture a good stir to re-incorporate any gelatine that’s separated. Let it stand for about an hour, then put it in the fridge for at least 8 hours.

Your yogurt is ready! I always add honey to mine because I find it quite tart, but it’s not necessary. It’s a delicious, excellently textured yogurt that is a real pleasure to eat. Enjoy!

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Look at that texture!

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Absolutely delicious, especially with a little extra added honey

Check out these great blogs:

– Thetastyalternative for this amazing yogurt recipe which I have shamelessly hijacked.

– WellnessMama for the instructions on making coconut milk.

– Cookies and Kate for the tips on making cashew nut milk.

Day 78: A jar and a spoon…

…is all that’s left of the almond butter I opened… on Friday. This is why I shouldn’t buy things like this! I have absolutely no self control.

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I love nut butters. LOVE. On SCD, particularly the early phases, there’s not much ‘naughty food’ to binge on. Not that nut butter is particularly naughty, but of course it is very high in calories and I suspect nut butters make me bloated.

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And of course, peanuts are illegal on SCD plus they’re not *real* nuts… they’re legumes (neh-neh-ne-nehhhh-neh)

Nuts and an SCD belly

Nuts definitely don’t agree with everyone, and in fact they’re known to cause problems for people with damaged guts. Nuts are very hard to digest, and they can be bloating. They can also cause diarrhoea and/or constipation.

It’s recommended that you don’t introduce nuts (even nut milks and nut butters) until you’ve been symptom free for 3 months (for me, it’s going on 4 or 5 months).

I tested almonds quite some time ago when I first made SCD yogurt on phase 2. The first time I made the yogurt, I used unstrained almond milk which meant it had lots of ground-up almonds in it, and that didn’t agree with me (lots of bloating).

I used strained almond milk next, and I tolerated that a lot better (SCD yogurt recipe here). Since then, over the weeks, I’ve introduced coconut milk, cashew butter and macadamia butter. They don’t wreak havoc on my system and I tolerate them well in small amounts, but I doubt I’m doing my body any favours by clocking a jar in 72 hours!

How well do you tolerate nuts? Any tips or advice? And HOW can I stop eating it like a crazy person?!?

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