I drink almond milk nearly every day, but I never really thought about how it was made or considered that I could make my own. I really have to thank Trader Joe’s for my learning to make nut milk (and nut butters). My Trader Joe’s recently relocated and their re-stocking has not been up to par since. The first time they had no almond butter, so I made my own and will never go back to buying it. The following visit yielded no unsweetened refrigerated almond milk. That lack happened to coincide with an article in the paper on how to make nut milk. I decided to give it a try and was thrilled with the result. While I will still buy almond milk in the refrigerator case, mostly because it keeps longer, I have learned to make very tasty fresh nut milk as a special treat or for when Trader Joe’s lets me down. The nut milk I liked the most in my experiments was the hazelnut milk. Hazelnut milk is difficult to find and often expensive, so it really pays off to make your own. And what happens if you add chocolate and sweetener to it? Drinkable Nutella!
The nut milk process is very simple, soak 1/2 cup of fresh or toasted nuts of choice in water in the refrigerator for 12 – 24 hours. For the hazelnut milk, I found that the flavor was much better if I toasted the nuts before soaking them. However, if raw food is important to you, don’t toast them before soaking. Drain the soaked nuts and place them in a blender. Add 3 cups of fresh water and blend with the nuts until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes on the highest speed. Drain the liquid through a strainer lined with muslin or fine cheesecloth, making sure the squeeze the nut pulp to get all the liquid out. Put the milk back into a clean blender and blend with 1/8 tsp. of salt (very important) and any other desired flavors or sweeteners. For the chocolate hazelnut milk, I like to add cocoa powder, agave nectar and some hazelnut or vanilla extract. The flavor is absolutely delicious!
As an added bonus, the pulp left over from making nut milk is pretty close to nut meal in texture and can be used in muffins or thrown into oatmeal.
- ½ cup hazelnuts, toasted
- water for soaking
- 3 cups water
- ⅛ tsp. salt
- 2-3 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1½ - 2 Tbsp. agave nectar or sweetener of choice
- ½ tsp. hazelnut or vanilla extract
- Soak the nuts overnight in a covered container in the refrigerator, using enough water to cover them.
- Drain the nuts well.
- Place the nuts and 3 cups of fresh water in a blender and blend at highest speed for 1-2 minutes or until the nuts are pulverized and you have a creamy and milky mixture.
- Drain the liquid through a strainer lined with muslin or fine cheesecloth. Be sure to squeeze the nut pulp to extract the most liquid.
- Rinse out the blender well to remove any leftover nut pulp. Place the strained liquid back into the blender and add the salt and blend well.
- Add the cocoa powder, sweetener and flavoring as desired and blend well.
- Taste and adjust flavorings.
- Store the nut milk in the refrigerator in a covered container for up to 5 days. It will separate, so be sure to shake it well before serving.