If you buy a lot of nut milk, you might want to consider making it yourself. Though it may seem like a tricky undertaking, making nut milk from scratch is actually incredibly easy. I wan't expecting it to be so straightforward when I decided to give it a try myself, but I was pleasantly surprised by how simple the whole process was, especially after having had an extremely not simple experience making homemade yogurt.
To be honest, the hardest part of the whole shebang was walking to and from the grocery store to get nuts—seriously. From there, it was a cake walk. With some help from water and a blender, I'd successfully made three different kinds of freshly squeezed, totally legit nut milk in less than 24 hours. Here's how you can do it to according to what I learned and some tips from an expert.
You can turn any nut into milk.
According to Greg Steltenpohl, CEO of Califia Farms, you can make milk out of practically any nut: almonds, cashews, macadamia nuts, and peanuts are some of the most common varieties used, but you can get more experimental with Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, or even oats. For this, I decided to make almond milk (a classic) and hazelnut and walnut milk.
The process is the same no matter what type of nut you choose.
Once you've picked your nuts, you need to let them soak. "This is an important step," explains Seltenpohl, "[because] it breaks down the nuts."
Start by placing a cup of your chosen nuts in a bowl or another food storage unit and completely submerging them in water. Then, cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a cloth and let it sit in your fridge or (if you don't have enough fridge space) at room temperature on your counter for at least 8 to 12 hours. I let mine sit for 24 hours and the results were smooth and luxurious, but if you can't wait that long, your milk will still turn out fine.
After they've soaked, drain and rinse them and blend them with fresh water.
Once the waiting is over, you're just a quick blend away from the freshest nut milk of your life. Drain and rinse your soaked nuts, then add them to a blender along with 2 cups of water. In general, the ratio to follow is 1 cup nuts to 2 cups water. Pulse the blender a few times until the nuts are broken up slightly, then let it blend for 3 minutes without interruption. The resulting liquid will appear smooth even though it's full of pulp.
Strain the mixture through a cheese cloth until the "milk" is separated from the pulp.
If you can't find a cheese cloth, Seltenpohl says you can use a pantyhose instead (really!). I wasn't able to track down any cheese cloths but what I did find (a reusable coffee filter made from cloth) did the trick.
Now here comes the fun part: After you pour the nut milk blend into the cheese cloth, you have to gently squeeze it to filter it out the milk. Basically, you have to milk it, kind of like you would a cow (not that I have any cow-milking experience). So the next time someone tells you you technically can't "milk" a nut, you can tell them they're wrong, because I did!
Keep squeezing the blend until the milk is completely separate from the pulp. You should have about two cups of nut milk by the time you're finished.
Save that leftover nut pulp for another project.
Before you toss that leftover pulp, consider saving it, because it's still full of the nutrients that make nuts great, like fiber and protein. Try adding it to granolas, blending it into smoothies, baking it into pancakes, muffins, or waffles. You could even use it to make a very nutty pizza crust.
Finally, refrigerate the finished product and it will last you three to five days.
If you refrigerate your fresh, homemade nut milk in an airtight container, it'll last you up to 3 to 5 days, says Seltenpohl.
You're probably wondering how my nut milks turned out, and I honestly couldn't tell you the difference between what I made and a nut milk you'd buy at the store. I used the same exact method on my walnuts (result: light and a little tangy), hazelnuts (result: sweet and creamy), and almonds (result: silky and oh-so almond-y) and each different milk turned out excellent in its own right. They were rich, smooth, and totally authentic—definitely not a hard nut to crack.