When I first stopped drinking dairy milk, I wondered how I’d cope. After I learned how easy it is to acquire all the calcium we need from plant sources, I still worried: what will I use to douse my morning cereal? To lighten my coffee? In my baking? As it turned out, not one of those things was an issue, and I easily replaced cow’s milk in every case (well, except coffee. . . I don’t drink that any more, either).
If you’ve been thinking about incorporating more non-dairy milk into your diet or if you already use milk alternatives, nothing tastes better than homemade milk. It’s easy to make—and incredibly economical, too!
Fresh nut and seed milks offer a vibrant, clean flavor that can’t be matched by the carton stuff. Here’s how to fill your fridge with milk galore.
All Purpose Nut and Seed Milk
This recipe works with: Almonds, Hazelnuts, Brazil Nuts, Pecans, Sunflower Seeds and Pumpkin Seeds
What you’ll need:
- 1 cup raw natural nuts or seeds
- 4 cups filtered water, plus more for soaking
- Pinch of fine sea salt
- 1 Tbsp agave nectar, maple syrup or 4-6 medjool dates, pitted
- A fine mesh sieve
- A cheesecloth, nut milk bag (found at health food stores), or new, clean pantyhose (leg only)
- Add-ins, if desired: vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, etc. –it’s up to you!
What you do:
Soak the nuts or seeds overnight, covered in filtered water, at room temperature. (If soaking more than 8 hours, place in the refrigerator and soak up to 48 hours). Drain, rinse well, and place in a high-powered blender with remaining ingredients. Blend until perfectly smooth, 1-2 minutes.
Place your cheesecloth, nut bag or pantyhose over the top of the blender and secure well (an elastic works). Pour through the cloth into a bowl until it stops dripping. Then remove elastic and squeeze our any remaining milk through the cheesecloth. Adjust sweetness and seasonings.
Pour the milk into a clean glass jar and store in the refrigerator. Makes about 3 cups. This will keep, covered in the refrigerator, up to 3 days. But trust me, it won’t last that long!
Small Seeds: Smaller seeds like hemp, flax or sesame don’t require soaking at all—so you’ll have almost-instant milk! To make hemp, flax or sesame milk, simply blend 1/2 cup seeds with 3 cups water in a high-powered blender for 1-2 minutes, until very smooth and creamy. Strain if desired (it’s not necessary, but if you’re accustomed to the texture of regular dairy milk, you’ll want to strain it, using the method above). If the milk is too creamy for your taste at this point, add up to 1 cup more water. Enjoy! Store as above.
Insta-Milks: In a pinch, you can use all-natural raw almond butter or tahini (basically just pureed almonds or sesame seeds) and water. Blend 1/3 cup butter per 3 cups water—voila!—rich and creamy, non-dairy milk. Store as above.
Rice Milk: Once you’re comfortable with the entire process of making your own milks at home, you might like to venture to rice milk, a slightly more complicated process. Here’s how you do it:
What you need:
- 1 cup cooked brown rice (about 1/2 cup uncooked; cook first)
- 4 cups filtered water
- Pinch fine sea salt
- 1-2 Tbsp agave nectar, stevia to taste, or other sweeteners (see above)
- Optional add-ins: cinnamon, ginger, or other spices to taste
What you do:
Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender until smooth; strain and store as above.
Once you taste how delicious these freshly-made milks are, you may never go back to store-bought!