I'll share the recipes and steps here with photos as well, for I find pictures help a lot for those of us who are visual learners.
Some of the milks need to be squeezed through a nut bag, some do not. I have had this nut bag for over ten years...
...so the time to replace it was drawing near. I found a good inexpensive set of three on Amazon as the cost of one bag from the health food store was ridiculously overpriced.
The trick with nut bags is to use them inside-out as it makes cleaning easier, with the nut/oat/coconut residue not gathering in the corner seams.
I've been using the same high speed blender for over five years and it has a nut milk setting, but you can use any blender as long as it's on the highest speed setting. I make four cups (1 litre) of milk at a time, and my blender is large enough to do that.
So let's begin with the cashew milk, which is my favourite and what we mostly use on our cereal or porridge. It's also the one I add to hot cocoa or a turmeric latte. Simply soak two-thirds of a cup of raw cashews in water for at least four hours, then drain and rinse under running water. Place in a high-speed blender with 4 cups of water and 1 teaspoon maple syrup. Blend on high speed for 90-120 seconds. NO need to use the nut bag for cashew milk, just pour into a glass bottle and refrigerate and use within 5 days.
Next up, almond milk, my husband's favourite. Almond milk has the highest protein content and is great for smoothies, in coffee, baking etc.
Soak two-thirds of a cup of raw almonds in water overnight. Drain and rinse under running water. Return the almonds to the bowl and cover again with water. Using your fingers, slide the skins off the almonds - they will come off very easily. (discard the skins in your compost or garden)
Place the skinned almonds in a blender with four cups of water and 1 teaspoon maple syrup. Blend on the highest speed for 2 to 3 minutes.
Place a nut bag inside a large bowl and pour the almond milk into the bag. Squeeze as much milk as you can from the blended mixture.
Pour into a glass bottle and refrigerate. Use within 5 days.
This tends to make a bit more than a litre, so I always end up with a small jug extra which I cover and use later that day. I have a whole set of these covers in different sizes and find them invaluable in the kitchen as a replacement for cling wrap. The covers have a very thin plastic lining under the floral fabric, are machine washable and dry beautifully on the clothesline or hung inside.
I am NOT an Amazon affiliate but am happy to share links to things I have bought for the kitchen that are worth the few dollars they cost me. The set of covers I bought are here.
Moving on, let's look at making coconut milk. In Australia we use desiccated coconut, which is more finely grated than shredded coconut, but you could use either. If using shredded be sure to pack down the coconut in your cup measure.
What I love about making my own coconut milk is the added bonus of automatically getting coconut cream in the process! And it's important to know that because you can't pour the coconut milk into a bottle - you'll need to pour it in to a wide mouth jar instead.
Add 1 cup of desiccated coconut to a blender with 4 cups of water and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Blend for 2 minutes on the highest speed. Place a nut bag inside a large bowl and pour the coconut mixture into the bag. Squeeze as much milk as you can from the bag. (discard the remaining pulp in your garden or compost) Pour the milk into a large mouth jar and refrigerate. Now here's the bonus. Coconut cream will rise to the surface overnight and solidify. I need a knife to cut through it and access the milk below - however, you can whip that coconut cream into a 'normal' cream consistency for serving with desserts etc, or use in curries, laksa or creamy soups. The milk below is lovely to bake with in place of dairy milk or in smoothies, milkshakes, or anywhere a recipe calls for coconut milk.
Last milk to make is oat milk which is the cheapest of all but requires some extra care to avoid being slimy. You will need to have ready 3 cups of very cold water from the fridge, and 1 cup of ice cubes.
Rinse 1 cup of rolled oats under running water for 15 seconds. Place the oats in your blender with the very cold water, the ice cubes, 1 teaspoon maple syrup, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Blend on the highest setting for no more than 30 seconds - this is very important. Keeping the mixture very cold prevents the sliminess of 'cooked' or warm oats.
Strain the oat mixture through a nut bag and into a large bowl. Do NOT squeeze the bag too much, just a little to release milk, or alternatively allow it drain naturally for 5-10 minutes. Pour the oat milk into a bottle and refrigerate. Use within 5 days. This is a great dairy substitute in baking, hot drinks, cereal and cold drinks. My favourite way to enjoy oat milk is as an Iced Chai Latte on warm afternoons sitting outside under the giant poinciana tree.
If you have any questions about the milks just ask in the comments. I'm no expert, and there are loads of recipes on the internet for making these milks, but I have found these ones the simplest and best for us.
That nasty vomiting bug is still running rampant through our family. Blossom, Charlie and my husband are the worst right now, and as Blossom's family is moving house in just five days time this has added more strain than they were already facing. God provided a miracle with a last minute rental made available to them, and we give all glory to Him! It's a smaller home with higher rent, but it's a good home in a nice area with parks and young families close by...very much a family neighbourhood.
Ross is waiting to find out if he's being made redundant from the job he's had for fifteen years...another strain for the family. Please pray God's will be done above all. And please pray this virus dies out and our family members can recover. With everything that's happened over the past six weeks it does feel like a spiritual battle, and we're praying accordingly, but it only draws us closer to Jesus and strengthens our faith in Him, for in the world we will have trouble, but we take heart for He has overcome the world! (John 16:33)
Last weekend I dug up a heap of sweet potatoes from one of the raised beds where they are abundant. Some were gifted to a neighbour, some we ate roasted with coleslaw (before hubby got sick)...
...and some were roasted for freezing. Apparently the best way to freeze sweet potato is to cook them first, and as the only way hubby will eat them is roasted, that's what I chose to do.
The weather is lovely and very spring-like as we head back towards the hotter months of tropical North Queensland, so my roses are blooming with gusto once more!
My first year growing asters and I love them, so they'll become a regular bloom to plant here and there.
The new large raised bed which hubby built a few months back houses a subpod for composting and worms in the centre. The soil had sunk quite low after the unusual early winter rain, so I moved everything in this bed to another newer bed two weeks ago. Once a trailer load of good vegetable soil was added here, I started replanting the bed with a new rotation of vegetables and flowers to see us through spring.
Thyme now grows in front of the subpod, with angelonia, zinnia, salvia and marigold seedlings around it. The perennial basil at the back is flourishing like crazy after hubby pruned it back before adding the new soil.
On one side of this bed cucumber and bean seeds have sprouted, and the lettuce seedlings between them have taken well. There's also sage planted here and there in the garden bed.
On the opposite end of the raised bed I've planted winged peas and radishes. The winged pea seeds have just pushed through the soil, but as I only planted the radish seeds yesterday they will take a few more days to sprout.