Alternatives to dairy products, such as almond milk and cashew nut cream, are becoming more and more popular. I thought I’d see what was involved in making them for myself and discovered that it was in fact remarkably simple.
1 cup raw almonds
1 cup water + extra for soaking
Soak 1 cup of raw almonds in water overnight – the longer you soak them the plumper the almonds get and the creamier the milk becomes.
Drain the almonds and discard the soaking water – this contain phytic acid, which affects the body’s ability to absorb nutrients. Rinse the almonds well under clean running water.
Put the soaked almonds and 1 cup water into a blender or food processor. You can adjust the amount of water to get the consistency you desire. 1 cup approximates full cream milk, 2 cups is more like ‘trim’ milk.
Pulse the blender a few times to break up the almonds and then blend at high speed until the almonds are very finely chopped and the liquid is milky. This can take a couple of minutes or more, and you may want to scrap down the sides of the blender part way through.
Line a sieve with cheese cloth or muslin (I used a clean kitchen multi-cloth) and place over a measuring jug. Pour the blended almond mix through the sieve. Pick up the corners of the cloth and squeeze the almond meal to remove all the liquid. Twist and squeeze the cloth to remove as much liquid as you can. *Don’t throw away the almond meal.
Keep the almond milk in the fridge and use within a couple of days. I like it just how it is, but you could sweeten it if you wanted to.
* you can keep the almond meal and use it in your cooking. You can dry it in a slow oven but I just froze it in 1 cup lots. Use it in baking or add to your smoothies. I made Cherry and Almond Muffins using it and they were delicious!
Cashew Nut Cream
1 cup raw cashew nuts
1/2 cup water + extra for soaking
Pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
Honey, icing sugar or maple syrup to taste
Soak the cashew nuts for 3 hours or overnight.
Drain the cashews and discard the soaking water.
Put the cashews, water, salt, vanilla and sweetener in a blender or food processor and blend on high speed until smooth and creamy.
Put into a container and leave in the fridge for a few hours to thicken up. Use within about 5 days.