I wanted to take some time to thoroughly explain the most efficient way to make nut milks. I know that this is the topic of tons of other blogs, but some of them tend to leave out important details or steps. Here, I will go over how to make the perfect nut milk, and explain why some steps are more important than you may think!
Step 1) Choose which nuts/seeds you will be working with. The possibilities are endless, you can use almost ANY nut/seed you have on hand (cashews, sunflower or pumpkin seeds, Brazil nuts…). For the following example, I had just bought organic almonds and walnuts, so I made a combination nut milk using both!
Step 2) Soak your nuts! Soak the nuts in filtered water to get them soft, plump, and ready to milk. You should ALWAYS add about a teaspoon of sea salt during the soaking phase. Nuts and seeds have anti-nutrients (phytates, tannins, goitrogens) and enzyme inhibitors, which make them hard on our digestive systems. Salt neutralizes these inhibitors, allowing our bodies to fully access the nutritional benefits of the nuts/seeds! Exceptions: hemp seeds, shredded coconut, and oats; if using any of these, skip steps 2-3. The soaking time varies between nuts/seeds being used. See below for a link to The Blender Girl’s page, where she details the importance of soaking, and also posted a chart for how long different nuts or seeds should be soaked. I soaked mine overnight, for about 10 hours.
Step 3) Rinse the nuts in a colander and discard the soaking water. It contains all of the harmful enzyme inhibitors mentioned above, so you want to rinse VERY thoroughly until the water runs clear.
Step 4) Blend the nuts with fresh filtered water. I use a Vitamix, but any blender will do! Add 2-3 cups of water (depending on how thick you want your nut milk) for every 1 cup of nuts/seeds. In this batch, I soaked 2.5 cups of nuts, and added 6 cups of water (this was the PERFECT amount for a completely full Vitamix). Blend for 1-2 mins (depending on quality of blender), until you can tell that the nuts are fully incorporated.
Step 5) Strain the mixture with a cheese cloth (or nut milk bag).
Step 6) Add in any flavor enhancers of your choice. For this large batch, I added 1 tsp of vanilla extract and 1 Tbs maple syrup. After straining, you can even blend in some dried lavender flowers, dates, or raw cacao powder. Adjust to your own taste and see what you like!
Step 7) Pour into container for storage. Will last about 3-5 days refrigerated.