I’ve recently become obsessed with cashews. I’ve been adding them to smoothies, making sauces from them, and even using them in hummus. The greatest thing I’ve figured out how to make so far is homemade cashew milk. As somebody who is sensitive to both soy and almonds, learning to make cashew milk turned out to be a total lifesaver. This stuff is my new favorite “milky” beverage, and it’s super easy to make.
Why make cashew milk, besides the fact that it’s so yummy? Lots of reasons! Cashew milk is a non-dairy milk, which means it contains no lactose. In its most basic form, it’s made from filtered water and cashews. Cashew milk is easily digested by most folks who are lactose intolerant. Because you’re making it at home, you have total control over the ingredients– the sweetness level, the texture, the fat content and the overall flavor. For those who keep kosher, it’s a terrific substitute for dairy milk in recipes that you would like to keep pareve. I much prefer cashew milk to chemical-filled and preservative-laden non-dairy creamers. No strange additives in this milk, it’s all natural!
Cashew milk has lots of health benefits. Unlike dairy milk, it is cholesterol free. Cashews are high in B vitamins, copper and magnesium. They also have a lower total fat content when compared with other nuts. About 75% of the fat in cashews is unsaturated fatty acids, primarily oleic acid, the same monounsaturated fat found in olive oil. That means the fat found in cashews is heart-healthy, and can help lower your risk of stroke and heart disease.
Best of all, I’ve found cashew milk to be creamier than most other non-dairy milks. I love that it doesn’t taste overwhelmingly like cashews… in its pure unsweetened form it makes a fine substitute for plain milk. When using it on cereal or in my tea, I like to give it a touch of sweetness (throwing a whole date into the blender works great, or use honey, stevia or agave nectar). Adding a little vanilla and salt rounds out the flavor. I’ve also added cinnamon and nutmeg before, which gave a nice effect. Depending on what you plan to use your cashew milk for, you can experiment and adjust the ingredients to taste. A nut bag will help you strain the milk to achieve a thin, grit-free texture; if you don’t have one and don’t want to order one, a fine mesh strainer, clean tea towel or multiple layers of cheesecloth will work just dandy.
Have you made your own non-dairy milk at home? Would you like me to post more tutorials on other types of non-dairy milks like almond, coconut and oat milk?
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- 3/4 cup raw unsalted cashews
- 3-4 cups filtered water, plus more for soaking cashews
- 1 1/2 tsp honey or agave nectar, or one whole pitted date (optional)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla (optional)
- Dash salt (optional)
- Place raw cashews in a bowl and cover with cold water. Allow to soak for at least one hour up to overnight, then drain and rinse.
- Combine soaked cashews and filtered water in a blender.
- For a whole milk texture, I use 3 cups of water to 3/4 cup cashews. For a thinner texture, feel free to add more water-- you can adjust the texture to taste. The more water you add, the lower in fat the milk will be per serving; however, you don't want to add too much liquid or it will turn watery. Best to add water in small batches till the texture seems right to you. Blend on low, then slowly raise the speed to high for 1-2 minutes till the milk is completely smooth and no chunks of nuts remain. If desired, add sweetener, vanilla and/or salt to taste, then blend again to combine (if using a date, make sure you blend till it's completely pulverized). Feel free to adjust the sweetness to taste.
- Strain milk through a fine mesh strainer, tea towel, cheesecloth or nut bag into a storage container. A nut bag will work best for keeping your milk smooth and chunk-free. I usually strain the milk into a quart mason jar, which works perfectly with the 3 cup to 3/4 cup ratio of water to cashews.
- If using a mesh strainer, you will need to agitate the solids a bit to let all the milk drip through. I don't scrape them (this can push the solids through the strainer), but I do gently stir and move the solids around to make room for the liquid to come through. Similarly, if using a nut bag, you will need to gently squeeze the bag till all of the milk seeps through.
- Once you're finished straining the milk, you will have a small amount of solids left. I like to mix this light cashew paste with sweetener and a little cinnamon-- we eat it like a pudding. You can also spread it on a piece of toast. It's delish!
- Transfer milk to the refrigerator and chill thoroughly. It should keep for 3 - 4 days if refrigerated. I usually shake mine a bit before pouring to make sure it's well blended.
- Use anywhere you would use milk-- in coffee or tea, on cereal, or as a milk substitute in recipes.