When I first started making my own coconut milk, no one else was doing it (or so it seemed).
It was about twelve years ago when there was no internet or You Tube to show you how. There was also no such thing as a paleo diet, and you rarely heard of people intentionally avoiding dairy.
To make the coconut milk, I put raw shredded unsweetened coconut in a blender with boiling water. Then I turned the blender on high until the water moistened the coconut enough to make milk which took about a minute. Using a fine sieve, I’d strain the milk and discard the pulp. And voila, coconut milk!
Having to use boiling water made it somewhat inconvenient and hazardous. One time while at my parents house and not using my Vitamix, the hot water exploded out of the blender and all over my chest, burning my skin. I can laugh about it now, but back then I wondered what the hell I was doing making coconut milk!
Today it’s super exciting that there so many varieties of milk on the store shelves – coconut, hemp, cashew, and almond. It shows how many people are embracing a dairy free lifestyle – whether they are vegan, paleo,or have food allergies/sensitivities.
Making your own nut milk is super easy and much more delicious than store bought versions that have added preservatives, additives and sugars. Nut milk is a fantastic alternative to dairy and also much healthier than rice (higher glycemic) or soy milk (can be genetically modified and disrupts hormone levels).
The trick is to soak the almonds or cashews (macadamia’s don’t need soaking) to help reduce the phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors while also preserving the nutrient value of the flavanoids in the almond skins. Soak them in a glass bowl, covering nuts completely with water. Add 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt or a teaspoon of electrolyte ( I use body bio electrolytes). Soak for 8-12 hours and then rinse well. Blend immediately to avoid mold growing on the nuts.
More recently, since I’m avoiding pecans, coconut, walnuts and almonds, I’ve become obsessed with cashew milk. It is super creamy and maintains its consistency bette other nut milks.
Sound too complicated? It’s really not once you get the hang of it. As well as being healthier than store bought milks, it tastes better and will also save you some money.
Basic Nut Milk
4 cups filtered water
1 cup soaked cashews or almonds
3 dates, soaked for an hour or so then pitted (optional)
1 teaspoon pure GF vanilla extract
Place nuts in blender (I use a vitamix) with 1 cup of water. Blend until creamy. Add remaining water and blend again for several minutes until smooth. If using almonds, strain milk and set aside pulp. If using cashews do not need to strain. Pour into air tight containers, I use Ball jars and store in fridge for 4 −5 days.
If using almonds, save the pulp and use in recipes in place of almond flour.