No Cow, No Problem. Learn To Make Your Own Milk
Posted on 08 May, 2016
Milk is no longer a simple, fairly innocuous dairy beverage made by grazing farm animals such as cows, goats and sheep. It can be made from almost anything that can be squeezed, from teats to beans.
The Reason To Move Away From Dairy
The world has been besieged by dairy intolerances due to the quality of our milk. As a result, non-animal milks have become a vogue and healthy alternative that people can tolerate better than cow’s milk.
Why Make Your Own
While the shelves at health stores and supermarkets are stacked with cartons of dairy alternatives, there’s a growing trend to make your own milk.
Basically, there is concern over the growing number of ingredients listed on the packets of commercially available non-dairy milks. Because plant-based milks are becoming popular, many companies making these milks may use dubious ingredients to thicken or sweeten the original milk for flavour and economy.
The solution is to make your own milk from a wide variety of readily available plant products such as legumes, coconut, grains, nuts and seeds including soy, hazelnut, sunflower, pepitas, cashew, oat, rice, almond, brazil nut and walnut.
With enough know-how and practice, making your own milk will become as second nature as dashing out to the corner store to buy some.
If you are using nuts, soak them for 12 hours, discard the water, place the nuts in a strong blender with any flavours you wish to add and blend until smooth. Strain it through fine muslin (you can buy nut milk bags in health-food stores) or put it through an extractor or cold press juicer.
Sweet Almond & Vanilla Milk
Health benefits: Almonds are anti-inflammatory and are high in the antioxidant vitamin E. They’re also a great source of potassium, which is necessary for nerve transmission and the contraction of all muscles including the heart.
Makes 500 ml
- 1 cup almonds, soaked overnight and rinsed (you can use brazil nuts instead)
- 500ml filtered water
- Pinch of salt
- 1-4 dates, soaked until soft
- 2 tsp vanilla powder or essence
Place all of the ingredients in a blender and blitz until well combined, smooth and creamy. Strain the mixture through a nut milk bag and collect the liquid. Once drained, transfer to a glass container and store in the fridge for up to three days.
Uses: This versatile milk can be used to make hot drinks, smoothies, ice-cream and in recipes that ask for animal milk. It also tastes good enough to drink straight.
|Health benefits: This milk is rich in vitamin E and magnesium, which are promoters of good heart health. It’s also rich in minerals, boosts immunity and protects from viral infections.
Makes 350-400 ml
Uses: This is a good option for those who can’t drink soy, nut or cow’s milk as it’s the least likely of milk products to trigger allergies.
|Health benefits: Pumpkin seeds are high in the minerals magnesium, manganese, copper, iron and zinc and the amino acid tryptophan (which creates the feel good hormone serotonin). Zinc assists in thyroid function and the growth of white blood cells, for healthy immune function.
Makes 350-400 ml
Uses: Try it in smoothies, cooking, baking and chocolate milk.
Creamy Cashew Milk
Health benefits: Cashews are high in the amino acid tryptophan and this helps to make serotonin, which is key for development of the enteric nervous system to support digestion. They’re a good source of magnesium, for energy metabolism and nerve function, as well as heart healthy anti-inflammatory oleic fats.
Makes 1.25 litres
- 100g raw cashews (if you have time, soak overnight in 2 cups of water, then drain)
- 600ml filtered water
- 2 dates, or a dash of pure maple syrup or raw honey
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
Place all of the ingredients in a blender and blitz until smooth and creamy. There’s no need to strain. Transfer to a glass container and store in the fridge for up to a week.
Uses: It’s great for thickening smoothies and makes a beautiful, rich hot chocolate.
Don’t Discard The Pulp
After you strain a nut milk, there’s a leftover pulp which is not only filled with nutty goodness but also tastes delicious. There are many nifty ways to use this pulp. You can add it to smoothies and baked goods such as pancakes, cakes and cookies.
Source: Adapted From Author and nutritionist Cyndi O’Meara, founder of the website Changing Habits
Great Books On Making Non-Dairy Milk
by Dina Cheney
by Melissa King
by Rita Rivera
by Lisa Mattes