I love plant milk - it's flavorful, versatile, healthy, and an ethical alternative to dairy milk. There are many different types of plant milks to choose from (I'll be doing a post soon to breakdown the benefits of my favorite ones... don't worry!), but one of my favorite go-to options is cashew milk. Nowadays, you can usually find the mainstream plant milk varieties (almond, cashew, coconut) in your local grocery store, but I like to make my own for the following reasons:
It's super quick and easy
I know exactly what's in it so I'm not ingesting any chemicals or strange additives
I can adjust the sweetness or flavoring to my desire
It saves me a trip to the grocery store
It's very cost effective - especially if, like me, you tend to buy your nuts in bulk
Cashew milk, in particular, has a very creamy consistency and delicate flavor so I like to add it to recipes when I need a creamy consistency or when I don't want to impart a strong nutty flavor in the overall dish. As with any homemade plant milk, you can always adjust the consistency - think skim versus whole milk - by playing with the amount of water used for blending.
Always remember to keep an open mind when trying new things and to set your expectations accordingly. For instance, my first time having plant milk in college, I expected that it would taste just like dairy milk. So when I took my first sip and the flavor was different than my expectation, I thought I didn't like it. After taking another sip, I realized that I actually did like the flavor, but had been momentarily put off by it because it hadn't lined up with my initial expectation! So don't make my mistake.
1 cup cashews, soaked and rinsed (either overnight or using the quick soaking method in the notes)
4 cups filtered water
sweetener & flavorings (optional)
Add all of the ingredients to a blender. Blend on high until well-incorporated (approximately 30 seconds).
Place a nut milk bag over a large bowl and pour the contents of the blender through the bag. Squeeze the contents of the nut milk bag to release the cashew milk into the bowl.
Pour the cashew milk into a sealable container and refrigerate. The cashew milk will keep for up to 5 days in an airtight container placed in the refrigerator.
If you don't have time to soak your cashews overnight, this quick soaking method will be your best friend. Place the cashews in a pot and cover with water. Place the pot on the stove (uncovered) and turn the heat to high. Once boiling, turn off the heat and cover the pot. Allow it to sit undisturbed for 1 hour then pour the contents into a strainer and rinse with cool water.
The cashew meal byproduct can be kept for use in energy bars, pancakes, bliss balls or any recipe calling for cashew meal that will eventually be moistened.
I don't always sweeten or flavor my cashew milk - especially when I know I'll be using it in a recipe. When I do make a sweet cashew milk, I like to use either use 1 pitted date or 1 tbsp of agave nectar. I also like ¼ tsp of vanilla extract for flavoring.