Hello! Welcome to my New Year's resolution. Just a little introduction and we'll get down to the fun stuff. I'm 25 years old and have been married to The Hubby for almost five years. We have a son, BuggaBoo, who just turned two, and Baby due mid-February sometime. BuggaBoo and I are vegan, The Hubby is 98% vegan. Our family belongs to the LDS faith. We love being thrifty and creative in finding solutions to our everyday dilemmas. The Hubby has been bugging me for a while to start a blog and keep track of what I do in hopes that it could help/inspire others, so here we go!
This morning BuggaBoo and I rolled out of bed late due to the fact that it's New Year's Day and we stayed up until 1:00am. I woke up before him and as I lay there nursing him I made plans to make some new cloth diaper covers. BuggaBoo has almost grown out of his current size and a lot of his vinyl covers have ripped. I was even thinking about how best to set it up into a tutorial to make into a blog post. However, BuggaBoo had different plans…
He decided he needed some milk. He needed milk Right Now. And I was silly and didn't make any last night. So today you're getting a how-to on making nut milk from scratch and you're just going to have to wait for the diaper cover tutorial. Sorry.
Step One: Get your toddler helper.
Step Two: Gather your supplies. What you see here, from left to right, is:
Raw sunflower seeds
Calcium citrate pills
Oster 18-speed blended (specific brand not needed)
Never-been-used canning lid with ring
Glass quart jar
Not pictured: Pan large enough to hold one quart of water and a heat-proof, water-proof glove. I use a canning glove, but a CLEAN dishwashing glove may work.
Step Three: Fill your quart jar with water. Pour the water into a saucepan and heat to a boil. Do the following steps while you're waiting for the water to boil.
Step four: Measure your nuts. This small cup holds a half a cup. It's hard to tell but I'm using a mixture of sunflower seeds and cashews.
Step Five: Put two calcium tablets in the coffee grinder. I like to put them in first so they break up more easily.
Step six: Put the nuts in coffee grinder.
Step seven: Let the toddler helper grind the nuts. He'll find this very exciting. Grind as finely as you can without turning your nuts into nut butter.
Step eight: Put the ground nuts into the blender and add about 1 ½ c of boiling water. Starting slowly mix the ground nuts and water in the blender. Be careful! You're working with very hot water to help the calcium dissolve. If you are skipping the calcium you can use just hot water. After the ground nuts are mixed with the water stop the blender and add the rest of the water. Again, starting slowly, blend the mixture. Get your blender up to the highest speed it has. Blend for two minutes.
Step nine: While the milk is blending get your cheesecloth ready to strain the milk. Also get your glove ready.
Step ten: Pour the milk into the cheesecloth-lined bowl.
Step eleven: Strain the milk. Even with my glove on the milk is very hot. Please do not burn yourself or your toddler helper. If you don't have a heat-proof glove wait for your milk to cool before straining it. I push my milk through the cloth to speed the process but I end up with a slightly gritty product. If you want silky smooth milk let it drip naturally or strain it twice. You can also double up your cheesecloth.
Step twelve: Pour the milk into the quart jar and add a small pinch of salt. Put the lid on tightly and shake it up. Use a lid that has never been used for canning. You can use this lid repeatedly, so don't throw it away. At this point store the milk in your fridge or…
Step thirteen: Console your toddler helper when he discovers you didn't buy bananas this week.
Step fourteen: Let him drink some milk!
I make my nut milk from a mixture of raw cashews and raw sunflower kernels. I'm slowly building up to using 100% sunflower seeds, but the taste is rather strong so we'll see how far I get. Using sunflower seed milk is just fine for cooking, it mellows the strong flavor. So far I use a 50/50 mixture for drinking. You can use any nut or seed to make milk. Lots of people love almond milk but I don't use them because A) They are more expensive than cashews and B) The Hubby's mom has an almond allergy, so we like to be careful.
I also add two calcium citrate tablets to the nuts to fortify the milk. Two tablets have 500 mg of calcium, or half of your daily allowance. That would mean a cup of my milk will have at least 125 mg of calcium, excluding any calcium I get from the nuts. A cup of non-fat cow milk has 300 mg per cup.
I buy raw cashew pieces at Winco (a local bulk grocery store) for about $2.80/lb. Raw sunflower kernels are $1.10/lb. I think the calcium citrate ran me $10.00 for 300 tablets, but I'm not sure on that one yet. I need to find the receipt. I use a half a cup of nuts for a quart of milk. If I used 100% cashews it would cost me $0.43/quart for the nuts and about $0.07 for the calcium, a grand total of $0.50/quart. If I use a 50/50 mix of nuts and seeds the price drops to $0.36/quart, including calcium. If I use 100% sunflower seeds the price is $0.22/quart, once again including calcium.
I add a little bit of salt to my nut milks. Why? Well, cow milk has 127 mg of sodium per cup, and if you don't add salt to your milk it will taste a bit "off". Is this bad? No, you can certainly get used to unsalted milk, which I plan on doing very soon. You may notice that I didn't add flavorings or sweeteners to my milk. Feel free to add any flavoring you want. Surprisingly lemon flavoring goes well with cashews. We just want BuggaBoo to appreciate the taste of natural food, so we don't flavor a lot of things.
Last quick note: This milk will separate in the fridge. Just shake before using. Also, if you use sunflower seeds the milk will take on a curdled appearance in the fridge. Once again, a good shake takes care of that problem.
So, let's see… Introduction? Check. Long rambly post? Check. Lots of pictures? Check. I think this post is done! Thanks for reading and enjoy any milk you make.