Monday, February 4, 2013

Homemade Cashew Milk and Why Almond Milk is Dangerous

We have tried every kind of milk known to mankind. We don't drink soymilk anymore because of the many health concerns surrounding soy. Rice milk is gross, coconut milk is...coconutty. Hemp milk is weird, but not bad. It's just too expensive. While I sometimes use organic half and half in my coffee, as a former vegan I just can't bring myself to actually drink a glass of cow milk. It creeps me out.

Almond milk is definitely our favorite. However, there are so many additives in it that we only drink it occasionally, as a treat with cookies or for cereal. After doing some research for this article, I don't think we will be drinking it at all anymore. Do you want to know why? Well I'm going to tell you anyway. Carrageenan is a food additive that is an ingredient in many "health" and organic foods. It's safety has been a hot topic for awhile now, but recent studies have found a definite link between carrageenan and cancer. You can read all about it here.

So, it will be homemade nut milks for us from now on. We have made almond milk before, but it always seems a little bitter to me. I've read that it's better if you blanch the almonds first and peel the skins off, but I'm just too lazy to do that. The best alternative we have found so far is cashew milk.

Making cashew milk is super easy. Soak some cashews overnight to soften them and start the sprouting process, which increases the nutrient content. This step is not essential, so f you forget to soak them, don't worry. Put them in the blender with just enough water to cover them. Blend on high for a minute or so until you have cashew cream. Then slowly add more water and blend, repeating until you have your desired thickness. We usually end up with about 1 cup cashews to 3 cups water. The bubbles will settle after it sits for awhile. You can strain it through a fine sieve or nut bag if you want, but I usually don't. Shake it up each time before you use it. Sometimes I make it pretty thick and use it for coffee creamer. It's fabulous. It tastes nutty and sweet and if you use it right after blending, it leaves foam on top just like a coffee shop cappuccino. Yum!

We had scraped the bottom of the barrel of bulk cashews, so we had lots of crumbs.

This is the cashew cream.