Alternative Milks – Cashew, Coconut, and Almond

My husband and I stopped drinking cow’s milk a long time ago. I can’t actually remember the last time I drank a glass of cow’s milk. It’s certainly been over a decade. We switched to cashew, coconut and almond milk mostly. We also experimented with some other alternative milk products like cheese, ice cream and yogurt. On the rare occasions that we ate ice cream made from cow’s milk, my husband usually ended up throwing up later in the evening, Not pleasant – and it only took a few times before it fell out of our diet. We did still consume some cow’s milk, mostly in the form of cheese and yogurt.

Once we knew my son had Cow’s Milk Protein Intolerance, I eliminated all dairy (and soy) from my diet. This elimination also included many prepackaged food products – from chips to condiments – that contain some form of dairy. Many of these foods also contain soy – often in the form of soy oil. That’s not really an oil that I want in our diet anyway.

Though challenging at first, we fell into a routine, and our diet has improved because of it. We always strive for a balanced and healthy diet, but occasionally we allowed life and its busy-ness to get the better of our planning. Now, planning around whole foods has become the norm.

In addition to finding a new normal regarding food management and preparation, I also find I feel better without dairy in my diet. My digestion is better. I do not get as bloated or uncomfortable after meals. Even my skin has improved. Now that we know my son has outgrown his intolerance, I could reincorporate dairy back into my diet but I choose not to. I do feel more relaxed knowing that if we eat outside the home and I inadvertently consume something that contains trace amounts of cow’s milk despite my best efforts that neither my son nor I will have a significant adverse reaction.

About a year ago, I started experimenting with making my own alternative milks. I wanted to have something in the house for cooking and for my morning cup of coffee. I liked the option of making it myself so that I could chose the quality of the product and the ingredients. I also liked the option to reduce additional waste. I purchased some glass jars that I use to store the milk in our refrigerator.

Generally, we keep cashew milk around all the time. It’s really my favorite option for my coffee, and it’s a great option for cooking. It has a higher fat content, so it gives coffee and other items, like oatmeal or soups, a rich texture. I use a higher percentage of cashews to water than I’ve seen in other recipes. The nice thing about cashew milk is that you don’t need to strain it. I also regularly make coconut milk and almond milk. I try to alternate these to give us a variety and change up our weekly nutritional profile.

Cashew Milk

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: easy
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Creamy cashew milk suitable for cooking, baking, drinks and as a coffee creamer.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup organic cashews
  • 3 cups water

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, soak cashews for at least six hours or overnight.
  2. drain cashews and place them along with three cups of water into blender.
  3. blend on high speed for two minutes.
  4. no need to strain, just pour milk into storage container and refrigerate.

Coconut Milk

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Delicious coconut milk for general purpose use in drinks, cooking, or baking.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup organic unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 3 cups water

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, soak coconut flakes for at least four hours or overnight.
  2. drain coconut flakes and place them along with three cups of water into blender.
  3. blend on high speed for two minutes.
  4. place tea towel over bowl and pour milk over tea towel to strain.
  5. pour milk into storage container and refrigerate.

Almond Milk

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Delicious almond milk for general purpose use in drinks, cooking, or baking.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup organic almonds
  • 3 cups water

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, soak almonds for at least six hours or overnight.
  2. drain almonds and place them along with three cups of water into blender.
  3. blend on high speed for two minutes.
  4. place tea towel over bowl and pour milk over tea towel to strain.
  5. pour milk into storage container and refrigerate.

A few other notes – for each of the recipes, you can add dates when you blend the ingredients for additional sweetness. I suggest starting with two medium size dates, but you could add up to four or more depending on your desired sweetness and intended use. I don’t usually sweeten mine unless it’s for a special occasion.

Mix the milks together for a nice blend. I occasionally make matcha lattes on the weekends. I use about six ounces of almond or coconut milk and two ounces of cashew milk. They all mix really well together.

Don’t throw away the pulp from the almonds and coconut. I use the pulp for cooking or baking. Both are delicious in oatmeal and cookies, for example.

Soaking nuts and seeds can help remove phytates, which are enzymes that can impede vitamin and mineral absorption. Soaking also serves to soften the nuts and coconut flakes for easier blending. You also can quick soak the ingredients – cashews, coconut flakes and almonds – if you prefer by soaking them in hot water for thirty or so minutes.

I use these milks 1:1 in any recipe that calls for cow’s milk. The cashew milk is thicker, like a whole milk or half and half consistency. Thus, depending on the use, I dilute it with water or one of the other milks as desired.

2 comments

  1. I never have ventured to make my own milk alternatives — mostly because I assumed it would be a difficult, or time consuming, task — thanks for breaking it down — it’s way easier than I thought it would be. Now if I can keep Frank from eating all the coconut flakes before I can blend them. 🙂 Thanks for helping me to learn something new.

    Liked by 1 person

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