The Magic of Cashew Milk

I can remember my mother making fresh cashew milk in the morning when I was a kid, and there wasn’t anything better!  I love the flavor and consistency of cashew milk.  It is rich and creamy, slightly nutty, and unusually smooth.  I love the fact that you can get a very creamy, smooth product without having to strain any fibrous pulp from the milk which is often a necessary step with milks made from other materials like almonds or coconut.  But cashew milk is an extremely easy, one-step process.  I also love to make cashew cream!  There is no special trick to it- you just add less water!  It is important, however, to use a powerful blender.  I use a Vitamix.  They can be pretty pricey, but I found a good deal on a refurbished machine on Amazon for under $300, and given all that I can do with it, the Vitamix was worth EVERY PENNY.  I also know that the Vitamix manufacturer often offers pretty sweet deals around Christmas, too.  I have also found that used Vitamix machines are often available through sites like Craig’s List or smart phone apps like Wallapop or OfferUp.  If you don’t have a Vitamix, I suspect a Blendtec blender would suit the bill, and perhaps a Nutribullet, but I can’t say for certain because I’ve never made nut milks with them.  I am simply surmising they might work well from smoothie-making performance tests I have seen online.  If you know of a blender other than the Vitamix that works well for nut milks, please leave a comment below and share your experience!  Feel free to share your favorite recipes and creations, too!

 

I have found a milk-making rhythm that works well for me.  I make a batch of milk once every 2-3 days.  I like to make both milk and cream together simultaneously to save time.  But if you can make them separately as well.   I have included recipes for all three options below.

 

 

Cashew Milk Recipe

 

Ingredients

  • 1 slightly rounded cup of raw cashews
  • 5 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons real maple syrup or other sweetener of choice (optional)
  • 2 pinches natural salt (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons flavoring such as pure vanilla extract or almond extract (optional)

 

Instructions

  1. Add the raw cashews to the blender and enough water to just barely cover the nuts (in my Vitamix this is about 1/2 to 2/3 cup).image
  2. Begin blending on lowest speed and gradually increase until you reach the highest speed.  Process on high for about a minute, or however long it takes for your specific brand of blender to make a completely smooth texture.  My Vitamix makes a smooth mix within 60-90 seconds.image
  3. Once you have made a thick, smooth mix in your blender, add the remaining water and pulse once or twice on lowest setting just to incorporate the water well.  (Try not to over-blend because it may cause a lot of froth to form.  If you do end up with a lot of foam, try running your machine on the lowest setting  for 30 seconds or so.  The Vitamix’s lowest setting is pretty slow, and stirs the milk just enough to pop a lot of the froth bubbles without agitating enough to making new ones.)
  4. At this point, you have amazing, delicious milk.  It tastes incredible, as is, at this point.  However, if you want to make a special treat, you can try adding a natural sweetener like pure maple syrup, agave or honey, along with a little natural salt, and maybe a choice flavoring like pure vanilla extract.  The result is heavenly!  The proportions I like to use are listed above in the ingredients list, but you can adjust to suit your taste.  (You can even make chocolate milk by adding a little cocoa powder and honey to taste!)  This milk makes a great base for creamy smoothies!

Cashew Cream Recipe

 

Ingredients

  • 1 slightly rounded cup of raw cashews
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2-4 tablespoons real maple syrup or other natural sweetener of choice (optional)
  • 1 pinch natural salt (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or other flavoring of choice (optional)

 

Instructions

  1. Follow steps one and two from the list of instructions above for making cashew milk.
  2. At this point, you have luscious, silky cashew cream!  You can add a little water if you like a slightly thinner cream, or you can add the optional ingredients listed above for a specially flavored treat!  I personally like it thick, so I never dilute it.  I love pouring this cream over fresh fruit or using it as creamer in coffee!  Get creative according to your own palate of preferences!  You might try adding a bit of banana for banana cream, or maybe a dusting of cocoa powder for a hint of chocolate.  Your imagination is the limit!

Cashew Milk & Cream Recipe

 

Ingredients

2 slightly rounded cups of raw cashews

6 cups water

2 tablespoons real maple syrup or other sweetener of choice (optional)

2 pinches natural salt (optional)

2 teaspoons flavoring such as pure vanilla extract or almond extract (optional)

 

Optional Additions for Creamer

2-4 tablespoons real maple syrup or other natural sweetener of choice

1 pinch natural salt

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or other flavoring of choice

 

Instructions

  • Add the nuts and one cup water to your blender.  Begin blending on lowest speed and gradually increase speed until you reach the highest speed.  Process on high for about a minute, or however long it takes for your specific brand of blender to make a completely smooth texture.  My Vitamix makes a smooth mix within 60-90 seconds.
  • The mix will be thick.  Pour 1 cup of the mix into a jar and set aside to make cream (I simply fill up a half-pint mason jar within an inch of the lip and set aside).
  • Add the remaining five cups water to the blender pitcher and pulse just to incorporate the water well. (Try not to over-blend because it may cause a lot of froth to form.  If you do end up with a lot of foam, try running your machine on the lowest setting  for 30 seconds or so.  The Vitamix’s lowest setting is pretty slow, and stirs the milk just enough to pop a lot of the froth bubbles without making new ones.)
  • At this point, you have amazing, delicious milk.  It tastes incredible, as is!  However, if you want to make a special treat, you can try adding a natural sweetener like pure maple syrup, agave or honey, along with a little natural salt, and maybe a choice flavoring like pure vanilla extract.  The result is heavenly!  The proportions I like to use are listed above in the ingredients list, but you can adjust to suit your taste.  (You can even make chocolate milk by adding a little cocoa powder and honey to taste!)
  • The mix that you set aside for cream can be used straight as a thick cream, or can be diluted with water to suit.  I personally like it thick, so I never dilute it.  I love pouring this cream over fresh fruit or using it as creamer in coffee!  If I want a flavored cream, I incorporate the additions for creamer listed above, under the Ingredients list.  Get creative according to your own palate of preferences!  You might try adding a bit of banana for banana cream, or maybe a dusting of cocoa powder for a hint of chocolate.  Your imagination is the limit!

 

 

Additional Considerations

 

Sourcing

If you need help finding raw cashews, try your local nutrition store or bulk foods store.  My mom has had the best luck in finding affordable raw nuts in-store.  The raw cashews at her local Winco cost $5.70/lb, which is the cheapest I’ve found anywhere in a brick and mortar building.  My local HEB which has a decent natural section has a bulk aisle where they sell raw cashews for $8.99/lb (yikes!!!).  That was too pricey for me, so I found my next best option seemed to be Amazon.  With a Prime account, I get free 2-day shipping on a 10 pound bag of raw cashews for $56.95 from Simply Nuts.  That works out to $5.69/pound, which is a penny cheaper than the cheapest price I’ve found in any brick and mortar store.  Keep in mind that prices and availability do change, so this may not always be the best deal, and prices also tend to vary by region.  Have you found an even better source of raw nuts?  Please comment below on your favorite provider!  Also, be sure to read the reviews and customer comments and gauge customer satisfaction whenever you buy a product you can’t touch and feel yourself before ordering online.  And lastly, keep in mind that you are more likely to find that raw cashew pieces are cheaper than whole nuts.  I tend to lean towards the raw pieces for most things because I don’t need them for show- they all get blended up anyway.  However, I have heard some claim that whole nuts tend to be of better quality, and stay fresher longer, so that may be a factor to keep in mind as well.

 

Cost

I have found that if I am careful in purchasing my raw cashews, I can often make my own at home for less than what it costs to purchase it from the store.  I love the fact that I can make it at home in a matter of minutes from the freshest ingredients in a cost-effective way, and I can control absolutely everything that goes into it.  I can taylor it to my specific needs of the day and know with confidence that everything in it is nutritious and sourced from a place I trust because I MADE IT! 🙂  Out of a pound of nuts, I usually get 4-5 cups.  When making milk alone (not cream- cream requires a much higher ratio of nuts to water), I usually get about 5-6 cups of milk for every cup of nuts.  This means that, conservatively speaking, you can expect somewhere between 20-25 cups of milk (1.25-1.5 gallons) for every pound of nuts.  Cashew milk from the store currently runs around $2.99-$3.49 per 1/2 gallon, or $5.98-$6.98 per gallon.  Since I can get 1.5 gallons from a pound of nuts which cost $5.69/lb, my homemade milk costs me around $3.79/gallon.  This makes it over 40% cheaper to make my own milk at home!

 

Versatility

I have found that cashew milk is very versatile- it substitutes well in a lot of recipes, as long as the recipe doesn’t necessitate a particular component of cow’s milk.  For example, cashew milk wouldn’t work when trying to make junket, which is a dessert set by rennet (a complex of enzymes that curdles the casein in cow’s milk).  There is no casein in cashew milk, so your dessert would not set without using real milk.  I have found that cashew milk works wonderfully in baking and other dishes like soups, pastas, macaroni and cheese and smoothies.  I love the fact that I can control the creaminess of the cashew milk by altering the amount of water used.  When making macaroni and cheese, I like to use a thicker mix to keep it nice and creamy!

 

Inspiration

If you are looking for some ideas on what to do with your new batch of precious cashew milk or cream, here are some recipes for inspiration:

  1 comment for “The Magic of Cashew Milk

  1. Aleta Sonnenberg
    March 5, 2016 at 4:41 am

    This is a recipe that uses the cashew cream and makes a HEARTY breakfast in a bowl.

    Country Poached Eggs
    Prep: 15 min
    Cook: 10 min
    Total: 25 min
    Serving: 4

    Ingredients
    4 slices robust whole grain or artisan sour dough toast
    1 cup raw cashews
    1 cup water
    3 cups water
    1 Tbsp dried minced onion
    1 Tbsp dried diced mixed bell peppers
    1⁄2 tsp Old Bay Spice mix (optional)
    1 tsp Italian or pizza seasoning
    1 tsp salt
    1⁄2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
    8 large country fresh eggs
    1 cup grated cheddar cheese
    1 cup diced ripe tomato
    1⁄2 cup chopped green onions
    1/2 cup chopped olives (optional)
    Directions
    Toast the bread and place into the bottom of 4 deep soup bowls that will each hold about two cups.
    In your blender place the raw cashews and one cup of water. Process until a smooth creamy consistency is achieved. Set aside.
    In a large fry pan with a lid, place 3 cups of water, add dried onion, peppers, Italian Seasoning, Old Bay Spice, salt and pepper. Bring to a high simmer.
    Chop the tomatoes and onions and grate the cheese.
    Crack the eggs into the seasoned hot water and cover, cooking 2 to 5 minutes depending on your desired yolk finish. Two minutes is about a soft boiled consistency. When the eggs are cooked, place 2 eggs onto the toast in each of 4 bowls.

    Stir cashew cream into hot water. Pour over the eggs in each bowl.
    In order, top with cheese, tomatoes and green onions. Serve immediately.

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