Nuts and seeds are an extraordinary category of food; they are high in protein and minerals (especially calcium and magnesium), they contain healthy fats, namely unsaturated, mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated, and they are rich in antioxidants and healthy fibres.
Within the nut/seed all the nutritional architecture needed for the plant to grow is present, therefore beneficial effects on the human body as a building and re-constituent food are to be expected.
The best way to consume nuts and seeds is in their raw, "activated" state, so that all of its goodness becomes more available and easier to digest. When activated by prior soaking and/or sprouting the nut/seed's enzymes are awakened from their dormant state and the anti-nutrient content naturally occurring in them is ameliorated.
Fresh, homemade nut milks are easy to digest due to the milling/blending process that makes the enzymes and nutrients content extremely available for us.
It is a good practice to soak the chosen nut/seed or a mix of them (I prefer mixing not more than two types, like for example sesame seeds and almonds 50:50 is one of my favourites). Hemp seeds and macadamia nuts do not require soaking, so they can be used immediately for making nut milk.
Nut Milk Preparation
1. Soak one tea cup of your chosen nut/ seed, or a combination of both overnight in pure, or filtered water. Each nut and seed has got its specific time for soaking: for instance sunflower seeds require a shorter soaking time than almonds. Generally speaking I find that eight hours (overnight) soaking time works out well.
- (Optional): If you are concerned about mold and/or potential contaminants in the food you can soak the nut/seed with a 3% or 10% solution of Hydrogen Peroxide (food grade) for 20 minutes, then rinse well and let it soak in pure water for the remaining time.
- (Optional) You can add 2 tsp of unrefined salt to the water you are using for soaking, in order to ameliorate those anti-nutrients even more.
2. In the morning (or after eight hours of soaking), rinse well and pour in a blender with four cups of pure water. Add three dates and a pinch of unrefined salt. You can use any other sweetener you like such as raw honey, coconut sugar, but avoid artificial sweeteners at all costs. Diabetics should consume only stevia or xylitol (or a mix of both). You can also opt for no sweeteners at all, or using Cinnamon and Maca as your natural sweeteners for example (1Tbsp each for a litre/4 cups of nut milk)
3. Blend with a high-speed blender for a minute until smooth.
4. Strain the drink with a nut milk bag (which you can buy at your local health food store or online-store); Squeeze it well, but be gentle at the same time, as if you squeeze too strong you may end up breaking the bag and/or splashing milk everywhere (...you can tell It happened to me a few times!). After about a minute you should obtain one litre of nut/seed milk. Pour it in a glass bottle and keep it refrigerated for about two days.
*Keep the roughage that will remain inside the nut milk bag covered with transparent foil in a small bowl: use it liberally on salads, open sandwiches, sauces, dips, etc. and consume fresh within 36 hours.
(Optional): You can make the nut milk without straining it: a much denser consistency and a richer and filling drink will be obtained this way. Just blend and pour!. I find walnuts work best if you decide not to strain, as they contain minimum roughage content compare to other nuts and seeds.
Here are two of my favourite recipes that I drink on a daily basis.
- 1 pint of sesame seed milk (sweetened with three dates per litre)
- 2 tbsp of raw cacao (put less if you don't like a strong chocolaty taste)
- pinch of unrefined salt
- 1 cup of almond milk (sweetened with three dates per litre)
- 1 tsp of turmeric powder
- 1/2 tsp of ginger powder
- 1/4 tsp of cinnamon powder
- 1/8 tsp of cardamon powder
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- tiny pinch of unrefined salt
Preparation for both recipes:
Mix the ingredients in a blender and mix for a few seconds, just to get the drink mixed well. Then pour in a pan and warm it up, until the desired temperature is achieved.
*Please note, do not make it too hot (!!). Nuts and seeds (especially flax seeds, walnuts, chia seeds and hemp seeds) contain poly-unsaturated fatty acids (omega-3) which are extremely sensitive to high temperature. So, just don't make it too hot, in order to preserve the healthy oils intact within the drink, and to enjoy their benefits.
A rustic method I use to check the temperature is by using my clean index finger when the milk is warming up in the pan: If it's too hot for our skin cells and sensory nerves, then it is too hot for the oil molecules and its delicate chemistry also. Remove from the heat as soon as the temperature feels uncomfortable and you need to remove the finger as it is getting hot.
I hope this bite-size guide is helpful to you. Nuts and Seeds milk are a staple part of my diet for their building and nutritious properties.
Happy milking to everyone :-)