Homemade Cashew Milk (Chocolate and Plain)

As I was writing this title, I realized that I could have made the plain milk a vanilla milk but I will say adding pure vanilla extract to milk really turns me off. I added it once to oat milk and it was just terrible. I think vanilla is best added to baked goods or even oatmeal but less is definitely more-and it's not something to add to milk. But that's just my opinion. I made this milk because I ran out of store bought and I'm a coffee freak lately. I had no desire to hit the store today so I decided to make use of the big bag of cashews in my cupboard and make homemade milk. I didn't sweeten the plain milk but I did sweeten the chocolate milk and I'm going to keep it in the fridge for when I want a sweet treat!

Time to milk the cashews! Sorry I had to say it. So, milk is a funny thing. Doctors tell people they need cow's milk for calcium and strong bones but that isn't true (kale has crazy amounts of calcium). It's funny when you see almond or soy milk in someone's fridge along with cow's milk and, when asked, they say the almond milk is used just for smoothies. Why not make it easy on yourself and just buy the almond milk for everything? I think people are reluctant to ditch something that they've heard for years is healthy. We've heard forever that you need milk for strong bones and teeth and our parents made up drink it. Same thing with meat, it's hard for some people to give up meat because of the taste or the fact that it has iron and they aren't sure how plant-based foods can supply iron. I am vegan for 6 years and have not suffered from iron deficiency. In fact, I have run more miles as a vegan than I ever had as a vegetarian or pescatarian. People come to veganism in their own time, I supposed, and my hope with this blog is that I help people make the transition if they wish.

I made both flavors of milk with one batch of cashews, blended twice, it's easier and you can keep using the same cashews (i.e. less waste). However, after I strained the milk, I did put the cashew meal in a freezer bag for compost. I didn't soak the cashews overnight because I needed the milk today but I would recommend soaking the cashews while you sleep or for at least 2 hours. I mentioned that I didn't sweeten the plain milk however, it turned out so fantastically rich and creamy and I didn't miss any sweetener. Only use raw cashews for this recipe; no roasted or flavored ones.

Plain Milk
2 cups of soaked, raw cashews
3 cups of filtered water
A pinch of sea salt

Chocolate Milk
Cashew meal from the plain milk
1 cup of water
2 tbsp of cocoa powder
2 tbsp of maple syrup

Make the plain milk first. Soak the cashews in hot water for about 2 hours. Or soak them overnight. Then rinse well and place in your blender. Add the water slowly, use just enough to cover the cashews. Add the sea salt and blend well. Strain through cheese cloth or a strainer and store in a mason jar. Put the remaining cashew meal that is left in your straining device back in the blender and cover with a little bit more water, just enough to cover the cashew meal. Add 2 tbsp of unsweetened cocoa powder and 2 tbsp of maple syrup to make your chocolate milk. Blend well for a while, strain the milk again and store in another mason jar. Use in a recipe or discard the cashew meal for compost. You can use the cashew meal in a smoothie.

Note: I strained the milk twice. I have a Ninja blender and I don't think it blends as well as say a Blendtec so you may need to strain your milk twice. It's still quick and it will have less sediment on the bottom.

You don't end up with a ton of milk but you will have enough for coffee. Homemade milk doesn't yield enough to fill the half gallon you would get at the store but you can control what you put in homemade milk and you don't have all the preservatives. Just go buy some cashews, that's all you need for this. Or almonds.

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