This blew my mind the first time I made this homemade cashew milk.
You see, I'd had in my head that making your own nut milk was this inconvenient and involved process. I've bought the cheese cloths, nut milk bags and in the cabinet they have sat.
Back in the day, pre-kids, pre a lot of other things... I did make homemade almond milk a time or two.
I hadn't made the attempt in a very long time though...
That is until I learned a little inside secret, a trick, a hack, whatever you want to call it...
which is you don't have to strain cashew milk.
Hello, why hadn't anyone told me this before?!
Why is everyone making almond milk when, hello!, cashews!
This, my friend, is so much easier. so much simpler. so much tastier. and SO much better for you than most of the nut milks out there.
What's Wrong with My Nut Milk?
A few things... now, I'll preface this with, take it for what it's worth. Like everything in life, there are trade offs for convenience. And not having to make your own milk is pretty darn convenient. That's a convenience that I know most of us are not willing to give up. And I don't expect you to either.
I share all this mainly because without information we can't make informed decisions for our health and well being. And I think everyone should know what they're getting and know their options.
- Store-bought nut milks are mostly just water.
As in, you're paying for mostly water. You may remember a lawsuit brought against Almond Breeze almond milk a few years ago for falsely advertising that it was "made primarily from almonds" when in fact it's mostly water.
Kinda funny, cause if you've ever made almond milk or any other nut milk you know this to be true. The ratio is usually 1 part nuts to 3-4 parts water.
2. Take a look at what's in there besides the water and almonds...
Most popular brands like Almond Breeze and Silk, add ingredients like carrageenan, sunflower lecithin and natural flavors for texture and flavor. Carrageenan is a derivative of seaweed that's been linked to detrimental effects in gut health. And natural flavors is an ambiguous term that can be any number of things, including MSG. Now, I'm not say all brands are masquerading MSG as natural flavors. The problem though is we can't know for sure. Take La Croix, the sparkling water drink, whose being sued because their "natural flavors" may not be so "natural."
There are newer brands out now like Malk and Three Trees that are literally just nuts, water and maybe sea salt. These are quite a bit more expensive though, up to $6-7 for about half as much compared to those other brands. Which brings me back to #1... it's mostly water.
3. Like I said, they're expensive.
Especially when you're buying those $6-7 varieties. And when you consider even the ones at $3-4 are mostly water... that's some pricy water!
Bottom line is if you drink nut milk, you can do better at home. Or with a hack.
Now, I'll be the first to admit I'm not over here making my own nut milk every week.
We don't drink it daily though and when we do it's usually in things like a smoothie or baking.
For these uses I've found I don't need to buy a whole carton of it. There's a hack...
Did you know you can add whole nuts or nut butter to a smoothie with water and it's like making instant nut milk?
And for baking, my go to now is canned full fat coconut milk. Depending on what I'm making I can dilute it with water to get the desired consistency.
Let's Talk Cashews...
Besides being the simplest nut to milk, cashews have their own benefits, mostly for the heart and bones.
It's nutrient profile says it's classified as an "excellent" source of copper, which supports several functions including iron utilization, elimination of free radicals, development of bone and connective tissue, and the production of the skin and hair pigment called melanin (whfoods.com).
Cashews are a good source of phosphorous and magnesium, essential minerals for bone health (yes, these are just as important as calcium), as well as manganese and zinc. (Side note: almonds are a great source of calcium so if you were to alternate almond and cashew milk you'd be getting a variety of minerals that support bone health. Or drink your milk with these cookies...)
Studies have linked cashews, along with all nuts, with a lower risk of heart disease. One such study found subjects consuming nuts at least four times a week showed a 37% reduced risk of coronary heart disease compared to those who never or seldom ate nuts (whfoods.com).
Shopping and Storing
The most cost efficient way to buy nuts is in the bulk section of the grocery store. Here you can avoid paying for packaging and buy your nuts at a better price. You're also more likely to find organic here.
You want to make sure wherever you're buying them has high product turnover so you know you're getting the freshest possible. Nuts contain delicate oils that go rancid easily when exposed to light and heat. This is why you always want to purchase nuts raw, rather than roasted. You also want to also make sure they're stored well in store and at home.
At home, store nuts in an airtight container in the fridge. Here they'll last about 6 months. In the freezer they'll last up to a year.
Storing cashews - like all nuts store in tightly sealed container in fridge - keeps 6 mo, freezer for 1 year.
I hope this information is helpful. If you have thoughts or questions about making or purchasing nut milks leave a comment down below.
And if you make the cashew milk come back and tell us how it went and what you thought of the recipe. I really hope you enjoy it!
Homemade Cashew Milk
- 1 cup cashews, soaked 4 hours
- 3.5 cups filtered water
- a pinch of sea salt
- 2 dates (optional)
- ½ tsp pure vanilla extract (optional)
- 1 tsp cinnamon pumpkin spice (optional)
- Strain and rinse soaked cashews. Place in blender along with water, and (optional) dates and spice mix. Blend until liquified. Pour into mason jar and seal with airtight lid. Will keep in fridge 3-4 days.
P.S. All of these ingredients can be purchased at Thrive Market (which is kinda like if Whole Foods and Costco had a baby). You can find all your favorite health food staples and discover the latest ones that have just come out. Use this link and get 25% off your first order.
Megan Adams Brown, CHC, helps people take charge of their health and to start listening to themselves over the latest diet trend to optimize their own wellness, happiness and potential. Her family-friendly meal plans help parents take charge in the kitchen, too. This leads to more vegetables, less junk, and happier, healthier kids and parents. Megan shares kid-approved, allergy-friendly recipes on her blog. To learn more click here.