How to make delicious and healthy cashew milk (without all the fillers!)
We interrupt our regularly scheduled quilty/sewing/creative programming to bring you this important news update on homemade cashew milk. Yep, you heard right, I did put those three words together in a sentence and share them on my sewing blog. And I realise they have nothing to do with the process of putting thread to needle and stitching something together, but it’s not the first time I’ve shared recipes on here so bear with me if you will!
Ever since I was a kid dairy has always made me unable to breathe through my nose. I know. Weird. But every time I sit down to enjoy a serving of some delicious dairy-filled morsel – custard or rizogalo, gelati or galaktoboureko, soft cheese, hard cheese… yes all those delicious things we can concoct thanks to the humble cow – I have to decide if the consequence of no nasal breathing for the next few days is worth what I am about to imbibe. When I was younger the gratification of my tastebuds and tummy was high on my agenda. But now, at my older and wiser age of 40, I’m less inclined to just put up with things if I know they can be easily avoided.
Over the years I have tried MANY dairy alternatives. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that if it’s out there, I’ve most likely tried it. Oat milk? Check. Soy milk? Check. Almond milk? Check. Coconut milk? Check. Almond AND coconut milk? Check. Hemp? Pea? Macadamia? Check, check, check. Yep, I’ve tried them all. I’ve read about the benefits and the not-so-benefits. I’ve sampled the heat-treated and I’ve sampled the fresh. I’ve bought the el cheapo $1.50/L brand to compare it with the high-end $5/L organic brand. I’ve read all the ingredients lists and nutrition information.
And this is what I’ve come to.
Nothing beats homemade cashew milk for its taste, creaminess and health benefits.
Benefits of homemade cashew milk
I think we can all agree that homemade anything pretty easily trumps store-bought simply because of the lack of additives and preservatives that are added into most commercial foods to make them shelf-stable and to appeal to our ‘heavily refined white bread’ tastebuds. And cashew milk is no different. You know exactly what is in your homemade cashew milk – raw cashews, a Medjool date and water. That’s it. Vegetable oils to stop it from separating? Nada. Just shake before you serve, folks! Heaps of sugar to give it flavour? Not necessary. It’s full of delicious, creamy, NATURAL flavour because it has a decent amount of cashews in it.
For me, being able to enjoy a cup of tea or coffee every day without a constantly blocked nose is a pretty major health benefit. For my little boys, it means a delicious, creamy milk alternative that they love to drink straight or in a smoothie or hot chocolate that doesn’t give them eczema. For me AND my husband, it means a good night’s sleep because dairy makes my husband snore terribly.
Because I don’t eat much dairy, which as you would be aware is widely considered a good source of calcium, my doctor advised me to take a calcium supplement and so I’ve taken to adding this into the actual milk recipe. The good thing about drinking cashew milk as a milk alternative, as opposed to something like almond milk or macadamia milk is that cashews are rich in vitamin K. Vitamin K is known to promote calcium accumulation in your bones so it’s believed to be beneficial to take these together. Bonus!
(There are many and varied opinions on the necessity of taking a calcium supplement, but as I am not a health professional I’m happy to just follow my doctor’s advice on this one. I have my own opinions and experiences on the importance of diet and movement on our overall well-being but, like I said, I’m not a health professional and I’m not here to advise you on that. Please see your doctor!)
I know some of you may be baulking at the idea of making it from scratch, but honestly, it is so quick to make and you will be in a routine to suit your consumption levels before you know it. For us, I make a fresh batch every second day. The night before I need it, just before I go to bed, I put the cashews to soak in a bowl in the fridge, then the next morning I whip it up while I’m making the family breakfast. Easy peasy.
Homemade cashew milk is good for the back pocket AND the environment
You might think that making your own cashew milk from scratch will cost way more than store-bought cashew milk, but I’m happy to report that it doesn’t. When I was buying store-bought cashew milk it was quite pricey at about $4-$4.50/L. I hate to admit it, but sometimes I’d even drive from one grocery store to another to find it because it wasn’t stocked in my local.
I’ve calculated that homemade cashew milk costs between $2.60 and $3.50/L, depending on where you buy your cashews, the quantity you buy and whether you buy regular or organic cashews. I buy my cashews in bulk which means I can buy them cheaper and reduce waste with less packaging to dispose of. I also reduce waste because I reuse the same glass storage bottle every time I make it.
Homemade cashew milk tastes similar to cows’ milk
For those of you who are still on the fence… Who love your daily intake of dairy… Who can’t imagine life without your daily flat white or latte… Who just love the thought of downing an icy, cold glass of cow’s milk… I reckon give homemade cashew milk a try because you might be pleasantly surprised. Homemade cashew milk has a creamy consistency that is very similar to full cream cows’ milk. Unlike some other non-dairy alternatives, it has a mild, and dare I say it, almost milky flavour. Personally, I find that alternatives such as almond or hemp milk have an overpowering flavour that I find don’t go well with things like coffee or tea.
And the best thing? Let me preface this by saying that I love cheese and custard and things made from milk, but straight up cows’ milk? Rock hard pass. It has all those lovely things about cows’ milk without that terrible coating it leaves on your throat. Or is it only me who notices that? Blergh!
Watch your intake though…
One thing I will say – don’t go chugging this like it’s the latest and greatest weight loss fad because it is quite high in calories and you’ll definitely end up putting on weight. I speak from experience! I have actually started doing half water/half cashew milk in my flat white and it still tastes lovely and creamy but with half the calories.
Homemade cashew milk recipe
I have been making my own cashew milk from scratch for about a year now. Over that time I have played around with the ratio of cashews to water, and I feel like the ratio in this recipe makes a good alternative to dairy. It’s not too watery and after flavour, I think that’s one of the biggest hurdles nut milks have to leap. But, I recommend giving the recipe a try in the ways you would normally drink milk. Too rich? Perhaps try half a cup of cashews to 1L of water. Not rich enough? Pump it up to 1 cup of cashews!
3/4 cup raw cashews (approximately 100g), soaked for 4 hours / or in the fridge overnight / or for last minute milk needs, boil the kettle and soak the nuts in boiling water for half an hour
1 Medjool date, pitted
Drain and rinse soaked cashews. Place in high powered blender (I use a Vitamix) with 1L of water and the date. Blend for 40 seconds, starting on medium speed and moving quickly up to high speed. Strain through a nut milk bag if desired. Store in a glass bottle in the fridge. Use within 1 to 2 days.