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Nut milk and Oat Milk are healthy and delicious. Right now, there is some controversy regarding calling the liquid produced by grinding nuts, oats or other ingredients as milk, – the producers and sellers of milk from animals are asking that the name be changed and that nut and other non-dairy milks are not shelved next to dairy milk in supermarkets.
But for the moment I will keep that name, as it describes its appearance and use quite well. For example, the name coconut milk is well accepted and never confused with dairy milk. Non dairy milks are quite easy to make – fore example, nuts are soaked, then ground with water, sieved and stored. Various drinks can be made with these milks, and today I include a nut milk with dates and vanilla. Delicious.
Non dairy milks can be used as a substitute for dairy milk and cream in recipes including soups, baked goods and shakes. The milk can be sweetened with a variety of natural sweeteners including vanilla, honey, and pitted dates.
Having a high speed blender is not essential, but it does help as it grinds the ingredients to a finer powder than lower speed ones. But quite adequate milks can be made in other blenders and also food processors.
Similar recipes include Making Nut Butters.
Almond Milk: Take 1 cup raw whole almonds and soak at least 4 hours or overnight. Drain the almonds and add to the blender with 3 cups fresh water. Beginning at a low speed, gradually increase the speed to high. Blend for 1 – 3 minutes or until completely smooth.
Strain the milk if desired, and to stabilise it, heat it over medium heat and stir constantly to 71C. This will keep in the fridge for 1 week. Shake or stir well before using.
Notes: Use skinned almonds for a light coloured milk, or leave the skin on for a darker colour. Go unsweetened for a natural almond taste, or sweeten with sugar, maple syrup, dates or your favourite sweetener.
Save the pulp – use it as a facial, or dry it out and make almond flour with it. To make almond flour from it, dry on an oven tray in a 80C oven for 2 hours or until no longer damp (squeezing the pulp in your hand – if it feels damp, continue drying the pulp). Place back in your blender and blend blend on high for 20 seconds until it is powdery. (You may also be able to make almond butter with it.)
A fine meshed sieve, fine cheesecloth or special nut bag is best for straining to produce a very smooth milk.
Other nuts: The general method for other nuts is the same, but the amounts of water used might vary. For example, for Cashew Butter, use 3 – 4 cups water to 1 cup of cashews. There is no need to strain cashew milk. Rice syrup is a good sweetener this milk, and purchase broken cashews – they are quite a bit cheaper than whole cashews.
Take about 4 Tblspn soaked almonds and blend with water, stoned dates, honey and vanilla essence for a beautiful almond nut drink. Sprinkle cinnamon over the top.
Blend whole almonds with milk instead of water, sugar to taste and a dash of orange flower water.
Oat Milk: Take 1 cup rolled oats and soak at least 4 hours or overnight. Drain the oats and add to the blender with 3 – 4 cups fresh water and a pinch nof salt. Beginning at a low speed, gradually increase the speed to high. Blend for 1 minute – it does not have to be completely smooth. Line a sieve or other strainer with a double layer of muslin, thin towel or old clean T-shirt and strain. A nut bag can be used if yours does not let too much residue through. Store in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Notes: Don’t over blend as it can make the oat milk a little slimy. Do not heat the milk as it becomes gelatinous, as you can imagine with oats.
Blend the oats with several pitted dates, cinnamon and a little vanilla. Honey or maple syrup can be added.
A handful of berries is wonderful in this shake.