It happened: I’ve started making my own non-dairy milk. Not because I’m worried about additives and toxins, carrageenan, blah blah blah, but because I finally found a non-dairy milk that’s simple to make and tastes good (still shuddering from the oat milk experiment). It’s cashew milk!
It’s not that soy milk or other non-dairy milk is difficult to find. It’s that we go through so much of it. We use milk each day for coffee, baking, and some savory dishes like mashed potatoes. Living in Chicago, I take a train or walk to the grocery store, and half gallons of soy milk are very heavy if you’re carrying several bags of groceries. And back to point one, we use so much that it’s necessary to grab at least two cartons at a time unless you want to make multiple trips to the grocery store per week.
One day in the recent past, it was pouring outside and we were, GASP, out of soy milk. I wasn’t feeling black coffee, and I felt like going outside in the rain even less. I am the type of person who will go to great lengths to make something before buying it, doing an annoying chore, or in a tight situation. Once I sewed a new pillowcase before bed because I didn’t feel like doing laundry. At a former job, I made a tripod out of duct tape and a bucket because the photo studio’s only tripod was out of commission. Creative problem solving, yo. Staying true to this methodology, I decided to try making cashew milk with a bag of cashews I found in the kitchen.
Depending on where you buy your cashews, making your own milk will definitely be cheaper than buying storebought cashew milk, and cheaper, or at least on par with, the cheapest non-dairy milk brands. Cashews are $7-8/lb here, and you’ll get approximately 1 1/2 gallons of cashew milk per pound of cashews, or more if you prefer a thinner milk. 2 out of 2 people who live in this house liked homemade cashew milk better than storebought soy milk. Not bad!
Here’s how to do it…
- Use a high-powered blender like a Blendtec or Vitamix if you have one. It will blend those suckers up completely so you don’t have to strain out chunks. If you’re using a regular blender or food processor, you’ll probably have to strain out chunks through cheesecloth.
- Blend in small batches if you double or triple the recipe.
- Don’t pour too much water in the blender at one time.
- Don’t ask me how I know not to do the things in tips #2 and 3.
Makes 5-6 cups cashew milk
3/4 cup cashews*
5 cups water
2 tablespoons agave, brown rice syrup, simple syrup, or maple syrup
*Use roasted, salted cashews if you want cashew flavor in your milk, or raw if you don’t. Many cashew milk recipes will call for raw cashews, but I like the cashew flavor! Salt helps bring out the flavors, so if you have roasted, unsalted cashews, that’s okay, but try adding 1/4 teaspoon salt to the blender after adding the cashews.
Soak your cashews in water overnight, or at least a few hours before blending. This will soften the nuts and make the smoothest milk possible. Drain and rinse the cashews.
Pour the drained cashews into a blender. Add 1 cup of the water and your syrup of choice. Blend until smooth. Gradually add the rest of the water. Use less water if you’d prefer a creamier milk, or more for a thinner consistency.
Strain your milk through cheesecloth or a sieve if you used a standard blender or food processor and it seems gritty. Pour into a glass milk jug or mason jars and refrigerate. Your milk will keep for 5 days to a week.
See how easy that was? Go forth and make cashew milk!