How to: Make Nut Milk

I’ve made milk without lactating or stealing from other mammals.  Life is good.  This is a seriously easy recipe.  Too easy.  I must be cheating somehow.

Kris and I completed a 2 week body cleanse, 2 liquid meals a day, only 1 solid, with some pretty strict restrictions on allowable foods.   We’re hooked on making smoothies for breakfast now.

One of the key ingredients for smoothie yumminess is homemade nut milk or nut mylk for the vegan fans.  It gives a protein boost and a creaminess to the smoothies.

This is so easy.  Try it; I dare you.

3 ingredients and you’re done.  4 if you include time.

We’ve got nuts,Not metaphorical nuts.  We’re at Garden of the Gods by the way.

Literal nuts.  Any kind, except peanuts.   I don’t know why that is.I used 1 cup, raw, unsalted walnuts.  We’ve done almonds and cashews with the same process; everything is equally delicious.

One key factor about the nuts is the higher the fat content of the nut, the creamier the milk will be.  Cashews and macadamia nuts are the highest in fat content, so they will have the smoothest, richest nut milk.

Ingredient #2: water. 3 cups.  Fresh filtered water if you can.  This will soak the nuts.

3rd ingredient, a high powered blender, like a Vitamix.  OK, this isn’t a real ingredient, but once you use one, you will never go back to regular blenders.  A high speed blender will vastly destroy or improve your life, maybe both, depending on if you are a pessimist or optimist.

Yes, of course you can use a regular blender.  We did for a while until miraculously we managed to convince my mom that we could swap our blender for her high speed Vitamix, just for the 3 weeks to complete the cleanse.  She doesn’t know that we stopped after 2 weeks.  I hope she’s not keeping track.

Here’s the process:

Place 1 cup of nuts in 3 cups of filtered water.Let soak for 3-8 hours.  You’ll notice the water become yellowish.  If you’re using almonds or cashews it becomes more murky.

Why soak?  Soaking nuts improves their nutritional content.  Many nuts (seeds too) have enzyme inhibitors meaning they are naturally prevented from releasing all their nutritional goodness unless they have enough moisture.  Soaking the nuts helps release these enzymes, making the nuts release more vitamins and become easier to digest.

After 1 hour you’ll see some nuts sink to the bottom and a yellowish color form in the water.Here’s after 2 hours.  More of the same sinking and yellowing.After 3, you’ll notice the nuts look lighter and fluffier.  It doesn’t seem that nuts can be fluffy, but they just look perkier and more alive.Drain the nuts in a sieve.

What’s a sieve you may ask?  A fancy cooking term for a device that’s let’s you strain out very small pieces.  People often use these for powdered sugar or to sift flour.  Some people call it a sifter.Place soaked nuts in blender.  Add another 3 cups of filtered water.  NOT THE SOAKING WATER.  There’s a time to be frugal and a time to get new stuff.  This is a time to get fresh water.  Blend until a nice frothy liquid.

Strain the bits and pieces of nuts through a fine mesh sieve.

If you want to get rid of even more of the little chunks of nuts, use cheesecloth over the sieve.  This is how I like to do it.There you have it, walnut milk or mylk.  This is delicious, nutty, slightly sweet, more delicate than milk.  It is much more watery than milk.  I don’t drink it plain from the container; it is an ingredient for smoothies, maybe baking, but I haven’t tried that.  Sounds cool though.

If you want it even creamier, add less water and more nuts.  Try a 1:2 ratio of nuts to water.  This recipe is 1:3, 1 cup of soaked nuts for 3 cups of water.

If you’d like it a little more sweet, add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1-2 teaspoons of agave nectar (a raw sweetener) or honey.  Also good,  a ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon.  If you’re in a bind or really don’t care about going all raw vegan, I suppose white sugar would be ok, but we’re trying to go unprocessed here.

Raw, pure milky goodness.

 

 

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Jamaica Summer Cooler

Get ready for the most delicious and refreshing drink for those hot summer days.  Agua de jamaica (pronouced huh-my-ka) is a fresh Mexican juice made from dried roselle flowers, called jamaica in Spanish.  The deep garnet red color will make you go wild, and its tangy taste resembling cranberries will make you swoon.

While studying abroad in Mexico, I discovered aguas frescas, fresh juices available on every street corner.  In the heat of a summer day, friends and I would walk out to the main plaza, order an agua fresca, sit and watch the world go by or watch the stray dogs and old men with cowboy hats take naps around the park.  The juices were served in tall plastic bags with a straw.  Wrapping the bag around the straw held the juice in place so we could suck it up.  Agua Fresca flavors ranged from watermelon (sandia), strawberry (fresa), horchata (a cinnemon rice drink), and, always my favorite, jamaica.  This is a very easy recipe with 3 ingredients: water, dried jamaica flowers, and sugar.  Like cranberry juice, jamaica juice is good for digestion and bladders.

Printable Recipe: Agua de Jamaica (Fresh Jamaica Juice)

Start with 2 heaping cups of dried jamaica flowers, available at any Latin market.In a large stainless steel pot, add 8 cups of water and the flowers.Over medium heat, bring the water and flowers to a boil.  Once it reaches a boil, turn off the heat and let the liquid cool down, between 1- 1.5 hours.  During this rest time, the dried flowers will continue to exude their flavor. (Did you forget about the resting flowers?  No worries, I’ve forgotten the jamaica juice for 6 hours before and just added a cup of water to help dilute it.  For each hour and a half that you forget it, I’d add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water.)

Using a colander, carefully drain the juice into a pitcher and discard the flowers.  CAUTION: jamaica juice stains whatever it comes in contact with, so be extra cautious draining it. Dissolve 1 cup of sugar to the juice.  However, this part is completely up to your taste preferences.  I like my juice tangy with a tiny touch of sweet flavor.  If you need more sugar, add it in 1/4 cup at a time, mix, then taste again until you are satisfied.  1 cup is my perfect satisfaction spot.

To serve, fill up a glass with ice cubes, then pour in agua de jamaica.  Relax, rejuvenate, and enjoy.  Feeling extra special?  Add springs of mint or a lemon slice.  Drink it plain or use it in place of cranberry juice in mixed drinks.