vegetable - nut, almond, cashew, sunflower seed, sesame seed milks
These recipes are for your personal use only and may not be added in any form to archives or other works.
Nut and Seed Milks
Making milks from nuts and seeds has been documented from medieval times and surely earlier. One of the most well known Spanish nut drinks is made from tiger nuts and is called 'horchata' - a speciality of the Valencian region where I live but it is sometimes also made from almonds as they are grown in abundance here. In most of southern Europe, nut/seed milks are either made at home or commercially purchased.
These are delicious, nutritional non-dairy milks and can be used in baking and cooking as dairy milk and are excellent for those with lactose problems and those who simply prefer not to use cow milk. High in calcium, they are simple to make, requiring a blender or hand-held puree/blender and have an added benefit once they are strained, the by-product remaining is useful for many dishes - an ingredient in meat and non-meat dishes, puddings, cakes or ravioli. I never sweeten mine as they are delicious as is and are in this way more neutral for cooking purposes. However, I suggest honey, maple syrup, fruit syrups such as pear or apple. You can, of course, use soy milk in place of the water for a richer, high calcium product. (Caution: soy products are not a recommended for infants and children. Read my article on soy at www.epicureandigest.com .)
Nut/Seed Milk - basic recipe
a good handful of raw nuts, less for sesame seed (blanch almonds first*)
+- 500 ml. water (or less depending on how concentrated you prefer it)
Blend together until the mass appears smooth and creamy. Strain once through a sieve, then again in a sieve lined with a damp cheesecloth if you prefer it without any traces of nut/seed.
(Generally, the proportions are 1 part nut to 4-8 parts water by volume, not weight. Experiment to find your favourite ratio. When using cashews, start with 1 part to 4 parts water.)
Tip: use 250 to 300 ml. water or Soya for a thicker, cream like product (especially nice using almonds.). Milks do not keep much longer than a few days in the refrigerator, but can be frozen. When using nut/seed milks such as cashew for soups, there is no need to strain the pulp away. Almond milk pulp makes a lovely facial mask and scrub - warm slightly and apply for 20 minutes. Gently rub off. Use it also as a body scrub.
Suggestions: drinks, such as hot cocoa, 'cappucino', healthy milk shakes - try adding a little banana for added potassium and a richer flavour. Create your own delicious versions by combining nuts/seeds, a date or two, carob or other liquids such as coconut milk. In short, anything you would normally make with milk. One of my favourites is almond milk made with 50% coconut milk (using the creamy sort), or sesame milk flavoured with cinnamon. This is especially delicious using about 1-2 t. toasted cardamon seeds added to the sesame before blending. If you have time, I feel that flavours are intensified if you let the blended nut/seed and water mixture sit for a few hours in the refrigerator or even over night before straining. It is not crucial, but it does make a noticeable difference to the end product.
Nuts are a common allergen and often are the hidden - the milks at least - ingredient. Remember this when cooking/baking for guests or taking dishes to a party.
Vary this recipe using any nut, sunflower seed etc. Use raw and not roasted, salted nuts and seeds. Sesame seed should be raw and unhulled. Toasted sesame seed makes a superb milk!
almond milk - use two handfuls to 500 ml. water
sesame milk - start first with a small handful (+- 1/2 cup.)
*Blanching almonds is easy and for me, fun. Just drop almonds in a pan with a little water you have brought to a boil and removed from heat. Allow to blanch for 1 minute (or boil for 30 seconds or so). Pour into a strainer, rinse with cold water. You will find the skins will come off very easily. Just 'pinch' one between your fingers and it will almost jump out of its skin!
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