Making your own plant based milk is easy, tasty, convenient, environmentally friendly and cheap. So what’s involved if you want to make your own?
Let’s get the nasty stuff out of the way first; We all know about cows milk. It’s designed for baby cows to drink. It contains non-human hormones, a variety of diseased matter, and of course, cholesterol. Then there’s the issue of cows and climate change; It’s widely recognised that cows are responsible for at least 14% of all greenhouse gases – more than ALL global transport put together including flying. Then the rain forest is cleared to make way for even more and their food crops. They also use up a lot of water; 1 Kilogram of cow carcass takes 60 litres of fresh tap water to make it. If there’s one thing that you can do to help the environment it is to get cows out of your life. Period. On top of that, a cow can only make milk after it has had a calf. Half of all calves are male, and therefore unwanted. We’ll save that part of the story for another time……. so finally, there’s transport of the milk and all those plastic cartons of course. This is turning into a really bad environmental story. So let’s have some good news to cheer us up!
The alternative to animal milk started off as Soya milk. But now, you can readily find almond, oat milk, various other nut milks, coconut milk and more. They carry none of the bovine issues of course, but they do have packaging and transport costs. The supermarket shelves are packed with many options, so the market is clearly growing and very profitably.
On reading the back of a few cartons, it soon becomes apparent that a nut milk only has about 2% nuts in it! I feel conned that I’m only getting a handful of nuts for my £1.50+. That’s 20 almonds in one litre of water and a few thickeners. It’s dearer than cows milk too. How can that be? Probably because you are being taken for a ride.
So, making your own is looking like a good option. You’ll need a liquidiser, but many of us already have a Nutribullet or similar which is perfect. If you want to use the milk in tea or coffee, it’s best filtered, and for that you can get a “nut bag” which is about £6 online and lasts forever. This will strain any gritty bits out of your milk to make it super smooth. The remaining nut fibres can be added to other dishes, (like cakes, cereal, soup, pesto) so don’t let it go to waste as it’s a nutritional bonus. A handful of nuts each day is recognised as one of the key ingredients to longevity too, possibly adding several years to your lifespan according to the Blue Zones research and observation of nut eating people from around the world.
The advantages are plain to see; Nuts have a better nutritional profile than milk, but on top of that they sit quietly in a bag until you need them. Just add water and you can have fresh milk in seconds; no bulky storage, no heavy carrying, no transport, no plastic bottles, no waste, fresh at the point of processing, and always in stock. How cool is that?
The process is pretty easy too – just add your ingredients to some water and whizz it. Then strain it. That’s it! For cereal, I just put a dozen almonds in with about 200ml of water, whizz it, and pour the whole lot onto my cereal. Done! This “dose” has 3 times as many almonds as the shop sort does. It’s so creamy and also contains all the fibre from the nuts. I’ve also tried oats. That one is so cheap to make. You can add a date to sweeten your milk up, some cocoa, maple syrup or mix a few nuts together. You’ll find various flavours to suit you if you try a few recipes from the internet. Or just experiment. Any excess will keep in the fridge for a day or two. Some recipes suggest soaking your nuts overnight, which helps to release more beneficial properties and milkiness from your nuts rather than being absolutely necessary, so if you are in a rush, it’s ok to skip this step. Here is some creamy almond milk;
The popular Soya milk can also be made at home quite easily and really cheaply too, but it involves soaking soya beans overnight, and about 15 minutes of boiling and stiring after liquidising. I’ve done it successfully, but have found that nuts and oats are so much quicker while you are getting up to speed.
Use your plant milks as you would for normal milk. The taste will be slightly different of course, but you can drink it healthfully and guilt free, while also saving money in most cases. They are all great in any cereal. I’ve also been drinking oat milk with an added date straight from the glass. It’s nicer than you might think. Makes a nice cocoa drink too. Almond milk is good for coffee, and doesn’t seem to curdle like soya sometimes does.
So, there’s an introduction for you, now blow the dust off your Bullet, and try it yourself. It’s great for you, your purse, and the planet!