I’ve been making my own almond milk for as long as I can remember. I probably started because I realised it was much cheaper to make myself! Back then I didn’t really think there was much difference between the stuff I made at home and the shop bought ones. I’d always presumed that the almond milk in the cartons was the same as the one I made at home but with emulsifiers added to stop it from separating. Fast forward a few years and it’s now common knowledge that there is only approximately 2/3% almonds in a carton of almond milk and not just emulsifiers but sugar, lots of additives and other undesirable ingredients. The basic recipe for any nut milk is 1 cup of nuts to 3 cups of water. Occasionally if I want it to be a bit thicker or creamier I will do 1:2 (so that’s 50% compared to 3%!) but most of the time I stick to the 1:3 ratio. Go over to the 360 shop to purchase your nut milk bag.
A couple of years ago I watched a YouTube video of Elaina Love’s where she spoke about not just soaking your nuts to activate them and remove the phytates, but to also add hydrogen peroxide to remove any bacteria that may be present. Trust me, once you do it and you see what comes off of them you won’t want to skip this step again! Make sure you only use a 3% food grade hydrogen peroxide. I use 3 tbsp and after about 20 minutes there is a nasty looking foamy layer on top (to think that you would have ended up eating all that – yuck!). I rinse and soak again in water with 3 tbsp of hydrogen peroxide for another 2 hours. Then, depending on the nut, I will either use them straight away, dehydrate them or soak for another few hours in water with some salt. Soaking with salt helps to break down the enzyme inhibitors which interfere with the enzymes we need to digest nuts. Soaking in water does this to a certain degree but adding salt can really help the process. It seems long winded and time consuming, but apart from filling the bowl with water and rinsing the rest of the time they are just sitting there. I can tell the difference between the nuts I use at home and if I am out and buy a bag of nuts to eat straight from the bag. Cashews especially can make me feel bloated, but when prepared like this at home I have no problem with them.
Food grade hydrogen peroxide is non toxic, despite it being used in a higher strength to lighten hair. It has almost the same structure as water but with an extra oxygen atom which makes it the perfect natural cleanser. It makes a great fruit and veg wash and is a lot cheaper than the veggie wash you buy in the supermarkets. You can also use it as a mouthwash, on cuts, as an exfoliant and around the home to disinfect without the nasty chemicals in traditional cleaning products. Especially good here in Hong Kong where mould is a problem due to the humidity.
I’m not sure why almond milk seems to be mentioned all the time when there are so many nuts to choose from? You can use seeds too which don’t need soaking. At the moment I am loving sunflower seed milk for the base of my cacao smoothie and cashew milk (so creamy!) on granola. Cashew milk is the only nut that does not need straining through a nut milk bag. This afternoon I am making a vegan panna cotta with freshly pressed coconut milk. If you haven’t tried this before then get yourself down to your nearest wet market and thank me later 😉 Seriously, this stuff is to die for. The first time I tried it blended with raspberries and some maple syrup my eyes actually rolled back in my head! You’ll need to look for the little Thai shop at the wet market (there’s always one) that sells things like lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and turmeric on the counter. It’s not on display so you’ll have to ask for it, which feels a bit like you’re in some secret little club 😉 Make sure you are going straight home afterwards so you can put it in the fridge. Not a good idea to carry it around for a few hours in the heat. Don’t worry if you leave it in the fridge for a few hours and it separates. It hasn’t gone bad, it just doesn’t have any emulsifiers added to it…….exactly what you want!