Homemade Cashew Milk

Contributor: Avery Geary
Photographer: URB Apothecary
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Have you made homemade nut “plant” milk before?

Using plant milk reflects the versatility of cow’s milk without the dairy proteins and lactose involved. Most people are familiar with lactose intolerance (an allergic reaction to the sugar found in milk), but casein (a protein found in dairy) is a common cause of inflammation and may cause allergic reactions to dairy. (1)

Cashew milk has my heart when it comes to making homemade nut milk. It’s incredibly easy to make, versatile and requires very little time. On its own, nut milk is generally easier on digestion, and tastes great.

With cashews, however, it is best to soak them before blending to make milk. Soaking is the process of submerging any nuts/seeds, grains or legumes in water to improve nutrient bio-availability and enhance digestion.

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Nuts contain anti-nutrients, things that prevent the absorption of nutrients when consumed. A well-known anti-nutrient is phytic acid. In the body, phytic acid acts as an enzyme inhibitor blocking enzymes necessary for digestion of starch and protein. In addition, phytic acid binds to phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, copper, iron, and zinc in the intestinal tract, which prevents their absorption and can contribute to mineral deficiencies (2).

Soaking neutralizes most anti-nutrients, increasing the bioavailability of beneficial nutrients, and improving digestibility by pre-digesting complex starches. If well-tolerated, these foods can be enjoyed as part of a nutrient-dense diet.

SOAKING GUIDE: NUTS + SEEDS

Place 4 cups of raw, shelled nuts into a large mixing bowl.

  • Cover with water and stir in 1 tablespoon of Celtic sea salt.

  • Soak (specific time below)

  •  Drain and then place in a dehydrator, or spread the nuts on a large baking sheet lined with unbleached parchment paper and dehydrate them in a warm oven (under 150oF) for 12 to 24 hours.

SPROUTING NUTS:

Cashew 2-2.5 hours

Almond 8-12 hours

Once sprouted, you can use the nuts to make a nut milk, cream sauce for pasta or blend into a dessert.

In addition to soaking, many questions get asked regarding the nutritional value of plant milk vs. cow’s milk. Compared the cow’s milk, nut milk has many of same nutritional benefits.

Calcium and vitamin D are often two of the most common nutrients asked about. Calcium is widely present in many plant-based foods, most commonly seen in dark leafy greens, broccoli, fermented soy products, and seeds. Getting 15 minutes of sunlight exposure daily will provide you with adequate amounts of vitamin D. Vitamin D supplements are an alternative for those who are advised to limit their sun exposure or who don’t receive enough sunlight during colder months.

Regarding protein, there isn't as much protein in nut milk compared to cow’s milk. Within your overall diet, aim to get protein with each meal.

If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below :)

Homemade Cashew Milk

Homemade cashew milk is my favorite dairy-free nut milk. It’s super easy to make and unlike almond milk, you don’t have to strain it.

Prep-time: 2 hours (includes soaking)

Cook time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw cashews soaked overnight, drained and rinsed

  • 4 cups water

  • 1-2 tbsp maple syrup (or honey)

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • pinch of sea salt

Instructions:

  1. Soak cashews, drain and rinse.

  2. Add the cashews and water (plus any sweeteners) to a high-powered blender.

  3. Blend on high for a minute.

  4. Pour into a storage container and refrigerate.

Store in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.