Nuts for hazelnut milk

If I told you how many times I’ve made nut milk this past week I’d be embarrassed.  But I wouldn’t have to tell you if you looked in my fridge.  Because you will see that half of the typically cavernous space is filled with plastic containers of desiccated nut carcasses.

Fresh squeezed hazelnut-almond milk

Before taking a Brunch workshop with Teri Gentes, whole self health and natural nutritionist at the Rideau LCBO, I always thought making nut milk was a huge ordeal that resulted in your kitchen resembling a battle field (or horse stable…).  That was because my only exposure to home-made nut milk was Chinese-style soy milk, which involves soaking the beans over night, blending the beans with sprouted rice over several batches, then straining, cooking, cooling, and packaging.  Followed by cleaning everything including the 20 year old blender with a bazillion parts.  Phew. Typing all of that out made me tired.

So what changed?

At the aforementioned Brunch workshop, Teri, a petite but feisty woman with a smoky voice that you couldn’t help but be drawn to, demonstrated a variety of well balanced and damn tasty dishes to start a day off with, like a sunbutter granola, a raw berry crumble, a curry quinoa salad, and… almond milk!

It was like watching a magician – she was chatting to us in the LCBO show kitchen just like we were in her home, telling us stories of her cooking adventures while her hands were busy assembling the blender.  Without ever skipping a beat, she blended and drained the almond milk that she made for us right there.  What? It’s that easy?

Yup, it’s that easy, and the lack of space in my fridge can attest to that.

Nut milk is just sprouted raw nuts blended in filtered water and strained.  That’s it!  So how do you make it taste addictively good?  You use a mix of good quality nuts, natural sweeteners, and spices.  It only takes five minutes for the freshest and smoothest nut milk.

Here’s my favourite blend after one week’s experimentation:

  • 1 cup raw hazelnuts
  • 2 cups raw almonds
  • filtered water (tap water is ok too but the milk won’t keep as long)
  • 3-5 Medjool dates, pitted
  • Freshly grated nutmeg and cinnammon

Soak the nuts together in a large bowl for at least 8 hours.  This starts the sprouting process because as Teri says, almonds are seeds!  Sprouting the nuts not only creates a creamy texture, but also activates the growing cycle, which means more enzymes!

After 8 hours (or more), drain and rinse the nuts.  You’ll notice that the nuts take up more space, and that is a good thing.  Soak the medjool dates in hot water for 5 -10 minutes.  3 dates is the minimum if you want the milk to be a little sweet, which plays off the hazelnut taste very well.  Put all the nuts in a blender (hopefully you have a large blender, otherwise you will have to do this in two batches).  Add up to 4 cups of cold filtered water, dates, and spices.

Blend for 2-3 minutes, rest, and again for 1 more minute.  Then, you can either use a nut-bag (hahaha), a cheesecloth, a clean cotton dishtowel, or just a fine mesh strainer, to strain the nut nectar into a pitcher.  Until I got a nut-bag (for $2 from T&T!!) I used a metal strainer – the only difference is it takes longer with a strainer.

Then, enjoy!  You might get turned off of store-bought nut milk after this, like I was.  Home made means you control what’s in your nut milk – no preservatives and just the right amount of sweetness.  Also, I don’t think you can actually buy hazelnut milk; last I checked the nut milks that are available out there include soy, almond, rice, hemp, oat, and quinoa (!).

After you enjoy that glass of freshly squeezed hazelnut-almond milk, what do you do with the left overs?  I dry the nut-stuff in the oven (350F) and use as nut-meal for baking!  There are a number of things you can do with the left-overs, I just haven’t figured it out yet.  If you have suggestions, my fridge and I are all ears!


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