Make Your Own Milk
If you are trying to go dairy free or want an alternative to store-bought nondairy milks, consider making your own! It’s easy to do and much less expensive than buying pre-made versions. Also, store-bought nondairy milks may have preservatives added to give them a longer shelf life. If you make your own, it will taste great and be more nutritious!
Each seed or nut adds a different, unique flavor. Nuts and seeds are great sources of healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and enzymes that help improve digestion.
For the following recipe, you can use almost any seed or nut including (but not limited to):
- hemp seeds
- macadamia nuts
- pumpkin seeds
- sunflower seeds
- Soak seeds. Soak 6-10 hours or overnight, depending on the seed/nut. Soaking the seeds will activate enzymes that aid in digestion and absorption.
- Rinse seeds in a colander. With almonds, you can peel off the skin if you would like your milk to have a white, creamier look to it. You can also sieve out most of the fiber later.
- Place seeds into a blender and blend at high speed. I recommend putting 1/4 seeds, 3/4 part water. You can experiment depending on what consistency you would like — the less water you put in, the thicker and creamier the milk. It also depends on how you want to use the milk. If it is for smoothies, more water may be desirable. Less water gives it a consistency similar to a thick cream.
- Once evenly blended, pour the thick milk through a nut milk bag or a fine mesh strainer into a container or jar. For hemp seeds, flaxseed and other smaller seeds, skip this step because they are less fibrous and you are maintaining more nutrients and fiber in the milk. If you are using almonds or nuts with thicker skins, use a nut milk bag or a fine strainer to get rid of the fiber because the texture will be undesirable.
Tip: Don't throw out that fiber! The fiber that remains from straining the milk can be added to your morning oatmeal, to a cookie or baking recipe, or even used to give yourself a facial or body scrub!
- If desired, sweeten the milk by blending in 1-2 tablespoons of honey or maple syrup. If you want a more natural sweetener, add two to three dates or dried figs in step 3.
- Spice it up! Add cinnamon, nutmeg or vanilla to give it some extra flavor. For chocolate milk, add some cacao powder.
- Drink your nut milk within two days. Since you are not using preservatives or other ingredients to preserve the milk, it will go bad faster. Storing the nut milk in a glass jar helps to ensure optimal freshness.
How to use nut and seed milks:
- To replace cow’s milk
- In cereals and oatmeal
- In smoothies
- In pancake mix
- In any recipe that requires cow’s milk
- Mixed with vegetable protein powder for a high protein snack
By Vanessa Berenstein, MS (’14), Bastyr University 2015 dietetic intern