Hello lovelies! In my effort to reduce our waste I looked into my blue recycle bag and saw what seemed to take up the most space and it was tetra packs. Cartons. Mostly of almond milk.
Then I went on a picnic with a friend and we talked about how thirsty of a crop almonds are and how much water they need to grow and I got to thinking that maybe if I could find a lower waste DIY milk I would give it a go.
My first thought was Oat Milk. Oats are relatively cheap, but I tend to use milk on homemade granola made with oats and I didn't want to over-oat myself by having too much of a good thing at all once as that tends to give me tummy ache. Plus you have all this oat pulp that you strained out that you have to either dump or find a use for. When i looked into the logistics of buying a nut milk bag (or nut sack bag as my friend Jo refers to it as) and thought about the act of straining anything through a fiddly bag, it just sort of took the wind out of my eco-sails.
I needed something relatively cheap and extremely easy.
Then I thought of Cashew Milk. Cashews are something I can buy in bulk. They are soft and creamy and blend well. There is no need to strain.
Cashew milk for the win.
I scored some 750ml Kilner-type bottles at Poundland that were the perfect container. I had hoped to buy the cashews in the zero waste shop but they were nearly 3 times more expensive than buying them in a bag by the kilo at Grapetree. I have reused that nut bag as a rubbish bag in the bathroom. That's the best I can do for now.
I have not sterilised the bottles, just washed them in very hot soapy water right before i added the milk and all has been well. The cashew milk only lasts 3-5 days in the fridge anyway. A word of warning--it does separate, but just give it a shake before you use it and all is well.
I am still experimenting with how I make it. But this amount is just right for one person using milk daily for granola and the occasional date and banana smoothie to use up within 5 days.
I am thinking about supplementing. Maybe a brazil nut or two and possibly added calcium powder. We use calcium carbonate (limestone flour) for the snails and so why couldn't I add some to the milk? The one we buy for the snails is 100% pure with no additives and i read online that 1/2 tsp per litre gives you the equivalent calcium as cow's milk. The snails are EXTREMELY delicate and this has been fine for them, so why can't we eat it? The calcium we buy for the Bronte snails is THIS ONE. It says it is for reptiles and poultry. There is a food grade one HERE if you are squeamish about the animal one but it costs 3 times as much.
This is the recipe I use. It works well for me. I soak the cashews for a few hours beforehand. Partially to make blending easier and partially because it makes the vitamins and minerals more bioavailable. Just soak for a few hours, then drain and rinse well.
1/3 to 1/2 cup soaked cashews (1/3 cup is more like the watery texture of semi-skimmed milk, 1/2 cup thick and creamy like whole milk--can you guess which one I like best?)
3 -4 cups water (I use 3 cups as that's how much I can drink in 3-5 days)
4 pitted dates (soaked as well if not really soft)
pinch of salt
Blend in a blender until smooth. Decant in a clean bottle and refrigerate. Use within 5 days.
That's it. It takes no more than 5 minutes to make. Tastes amazingly thick and creamy. Cheaper than store-bought milk.
It will also be quite foamy when you take it out of the blender...but that settles down. Although the froth probably would be lovely in a hot coffee if i were allowed to have caffeine. Which I am not after eating a box of chocolate covered coffee beans at work recently and things went badly wrong. But that's a tale for another time.