Hello Dear Reader,
Have you been eating breakfast this week, as part of Farmhouse Breakfast Week?
If you don’t know what I’m on about, check out yesterday’s blog post here, where I told you all about it. I also promised you then that I would show you how to make nut milks, which are lactose-free, gluten-free and packed full of protein and nutrients. I only made my first ever nut milk a few weeks ago but am now well and truly hooked!
I usually have a fairly healthy diet, cooking from scratch and avoiding most processed foods and anything with additives. This month I have been trying to eat a wider variety of healthy foods. As part of that I decided it was about time I tried out some almond milk. A little online research told me to avoid sweetened almond milk, as it is chock full of sugar and to go for the refrigerated almond milks, as the others tend to have lots of additives and preservatives.
I always check the labels before I buy things and I was shocked to see how many additives were in even the so-called healthy almond milks in the refrigerator section. There were lots of different nasties but every single brand I looked at had tricalcium phosphate listed as an ingredient. I had never heard of this but Google tells me it is a calcium salt of phosphoric acid – umm, no thanks, I do not want to be ingesting that!
Now I am aware some people drink almond milk because they are lactose-intolerant but I also know some people drink it to be healthier. Surely there must be brands out there without any nasties in them?? I put a little plea out on Twitter to see if anyone could recommend a good almond milk without the nasties. Helen who blogs over at Fuss Free Flavours tweeted back pretty quickly to suggest I make my own. Wow – that lightbulb moment – yeah, why not & why on earth didn’t I think of that myself!!
I had to try it immediately! So, I didn’t have any almonds in the house as I am not actually that big of a fan of almonds (why was I wanting to try almond milk again??). However I did have a big bag of plain hazelnuts, one of my favourite nuts. I decided to have a go with them & it worked brilliantly. Here is the recipe, which should work with any nut you prefer!
Hazelnut Milk – recipe
Take 4 oz (110g) of plain shelled nuts
Place them in a bowl, cover with a couple of inches of water and leave to soak until swell slightly in size. This will take anywhere between 12 and 48 hours – I usually go for 36 hours, as it means I can start soaking at night, ignore them for a day and use them the morning after that.
Then drain them and rinse them with fresh water.
Next put the nuts into a blender and add a pint (570ml) of cold water. Blend well until all the nuts are broken up and the water looks milky.
Strain the mix to separate the nut milk from the meal. If you want your nut milk to be completely smooth, then take the time to strain it through cheesecloth. I have just chucked it through a fine sieve and have been very happy with the results.
You will be left with nut meal in your sieve – don’t through this away as it can be used in baking and tomorrow I will show you a lovely granola recipe to use it up.
In the bowl is your nut milk. Pour this into glass jars with lids (I used old jam jars) and store in the fridge for up to five days. Sometimes it separates slightly, so just give it a good shake before using.
The taste of the hazelnut milk is unusual. I wouldn’t say I like it but I wouldn’t say I don’t like it either! It is more that it is a new taste that will take a little while for my palate to get used to.
I tried it in tea and coffee but it just separated and looked vile!
I have, however, been enjoying it immensely in my morning smoothies. The difference in taste is quite subtle, almost indiscernible in my berry smoothie but definitely there in my hazelnut chocolate smoothie, which I’ll show you later in the week.
So, tell me dear reader, what is your favourite type of nut and have you ever made or tried nut milks?