Plant-based milk is all the rage lately. The trend is rising as many are starting to catch on that dairy is not as good for as you as we were once told. It turns out, a lot more people are lactose intolerant or dairy-sensitive than first realized. In fact, according to a recent genetic study, about 75% of the world’s population is unable to properly digest dairy-based food products. Symptoms of intolerance can be as obvious as bloating and chronic gastrointestinal irritation, all the way to skin issues like adult acne. Combine that with the latest studies indicating dairy milk doesn’t help reduce the risk of fractures or prevent osteoporosis, and it doesn’t seem like there is a huge necessity for it our diet.
While most might think the plant milk found on store shelves is healthy, because no dairy is involved, that is only partially true. Yes, it is probably the lesser of two evils; but remember, mass-produced and packaged food contains more than what the label on the front says. Many of these store-bought milk alternatives contain unnecessary ingredients (like fillers, gums, and added sugars) and preservatives.
Did you know you can make your own plant-based milk at home with just a few steps? After many questions on our social media posts, we decided to consolidate all of the information we have on creating your own plant-based milk into one blog post, including the why, the how, and some of our favorite recipes.
As stated above, plant-based milk is not only a better alternative for health reasons, but making your own is a great eco-friendly alternative. The nuts, grains, or seeds used as the “base” of your milk can be purchased from the bulk bins at your local store (don’t forget your reusable jars and bags). Later, we will talk about using the “pulp” or leftovers from these for other recipes so this DIY milk is truly zero-waste!
You can swap most plant-based milk in for any recipes that call for regular (dairy) milk. It might take some trial and error because of consistency, but rest assured, it will be the best alternative for you and your family.
If you are thinking you don’t have time to make your own plant-based milk, think again! It is actually much simpler than you might think and most can be made with just a few simple steps. There are a wide variety of base ingredients you can use:
- Nuts (Almond, Brazil, Cashew, Hazelnut, Macadamia, Peanut, Pecan, Pinenut, Pistachio, Walnut)
- Grains (Rice, Oats)
- Legumes (Edamame, Soybeans, Peas)
- Seeds (Hemp, Flax)
- (the list goes on…)
Overall, the basic steps are:
- Soak your base ingredient (nut, grain, seed, etc.)
- Blend with filtered water and choice flavorings (vanilla, fresh fruit, cacao, dates, etc.)
- Strain using cheesecloth or nut bag (for some base ingredients, this step is unnecessary)
- Store in the refrigerator for 3-5 days
- Shake before enjoying as there will be some natural separation
Depending on the base you use for your milk, there are many specific recipes you can find on Pinterest. Just search, “DIY cashew milk,” or “DIY hemp milk,” and you are set! Our go-to is an easy Almond Milk that requires just two ingredients. You can add in your own flavorings, like vanilla or dates during the blending process (step 2). If your milk requires some straining (most nut and grain milks do), we absolutely love this nut bag.
After making our own almond milk for a while, we finally splurged and got an Almond Cow. With the Almond Cow, you can use any nut, grain, or seed to make up to 6 cups of fresh alternative milk at the touch of a button. There is no need to strain, no mess, and easy cleanup! Get yours for $15 off using code URBANOREGANICS at checkout. Their website is also an amazing source for delicious recipes using all sorts of base ingredients for your milk. Check them out here.
USE YOUR PULP
If you are making nut or oat milk, you will have some pulp leftover. Do not throw it away, use it! You can use the pulp in so many amazing recipes from crackers, energy bars, desserts, and hummus. Not only are you truly going zero-waste with this method, but it also reduces the cost of your DIY Plant Milk because you are spreading the ingredient amongst multiple recipes. The Almond Cow website has lots of delicious pulp recipes (psst… they don’t even require you to have an Almond Cow).
What are your favorite alternative milk recipes? Share with us below!