Friday, 21 March 2008

How to make nut milk & three great shakes!

I usually use almonds for nut milk, as they're relatively inexpensive, and, I feel, make a milk that tastes a little like 'that other milk' some of you used to drink...

Almonds are a good source of vitamins (B2, folic acid and E) and minerals (calcium, copper, magnesium and zinc). Also, although nuts in general have a slightly acidic effect on our bodies, almonds are the least acidic nut, and should cause no problems provided we balance with lots of alkalising green leaves.

Do use raw almonds. Luckily, pre-shelled almonds are, to the best of my knowledge, still quite widely available raw in the UK. But, do check 'country of origin', as most almonds from the USA will, sadly (due to a recent FDA ruling), have been pasteurised.

Alternatives to almonds: try brazils or cashews for a 'creamy' shake. But note pre-shelled brazils and cashews, whether sold in supermarkets or health food shops, will not be raw (steamed for shell removal). Buy brazils in shells and shell them yourself. Truly raw cashews can be obtained at various on-line stores, and the best price inc P/P last time I looked was at Funky Raw. Thanks to Chris Carlton from Purelyraw for suggesting a 2:1 ratio of sunflower seeds to pine nuts - works well, Chris!

How to make nut milk

(Recipe makes more than four cups of nut milk, so more than enough for you to try at least two of the shakes that follow!)

  • 1 cup nuts (soaked 4+ hours - aids digestibility)
  • 4 cups water
    Blend until thoroughly blended. Strain into a jug or bowl.
Ah, the straining...
You can use muslin or tights, both of which I experimented with in the early days. However, I can save you a bit of mess in the kitchen by saying that it's much easier to use a nylon mesh bag. 'Nut bags' can be purchased from The Fresh Network for £7.99. But, although these bags are a good 'cone' shape (minimising spillage) they are very expensive. A much better-value option is to buy a pouch of five 'weigh' bags from Onya (share them with your friends!) for £8.50, as used in the picture.

Some people use the pulp in burger, cookie and bread recipes, but mine generally goes on the compost heap.

Nut milk can be enjoyed 'as it is' (perhaps sweetened with dates), is a great base for smoothies and shakes, and can be poured over raw muesli - delicious! I've also used it for soups.

Three Great Shakes
All quantities serve 2. In all cases, it's worth having at hand a little more of each ingredient, so you can customise your shake to taste!

Banana Cinnamon Shake
2 cups nut milk, 2-3 spotty bananas, 2 dates*, 1/4 tsp cinnamon
Blend. Sprinkle a little cinnamon on top.

Strawberry Vanilla Milk
2 cups nut milk, 1 cup thinly-sliced strawberries, 2 dates*, seeds scraped from 1/2 vanilla pod slit vertically.

Chocolate Milk
2 cups nut milk, 1 heaped tbsp raw chocolate powder**, 3 dates*

Soak the dates (I use Medjools) first for 1+ hours until soft; chop and blend with a little water before blending with shake ingredients. The dates will disperse through the mixture better this way, particularly if your blender is anything less than 'high performance'.
**available from various on-line stores, eg Detox Your World.

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