I have long wanted to be the kind of person that makes their own fresh nut milks on a regular schedule. Or at all. There is something seemingly wholesome and quaint about it, although I may have built up a bit of an unrealistic vision of how it would go: a pastoral setting just after dawn, my hair in braids and and a scarf, my body draped in layers of comfortable linen as the sun shines down just beginning to burn off the early morning dew. A simple rustic log for a table, a bright orange electrical extension cord, the strong whir of a Vitamix on max. I kid. Truth is, somewhere between buying nuts and getting around to soaking nuts, the nuts disappear. My family? Squirrels, I tell you. Add the fact that we are still introducing foods to Ciaran, and nut milk just doesn’t seem to fit in our lives very well at the moment. Which got me thinking about that giant bag of GF oats sitting in my pantry.
I wanted something rich in protein and fats, naturally sweetened, quick to make, and of course, it had to taste good because what’s the point if it doesn’t pass muster with the wee palates? The results of my experiment? Creamy, flavorful oat milk that Miette excitedly declared, “The best milk ever made for cereal.” I would like to add that it is pretty spectacular in smoothies as well, and Cia was quite happy to throw it back in a sippy cup.
Ingredients (makes 2 quarts):
2 cups rolled oats, soaked for twenty minutes (I use Bob’s Red Mill Certified GF Oats)
1/2 cup hemp seeds
1/4 cup coconut butter (not oil! I use Coconut Manna by Nutiva)
6 dates, pitted
1/2 teaspoon salt
Recommended Special Equipment: Nut Milk Bag & High Speed Blender
Soak oats for twenty minute, then drain and add to blender. Fill blender to top with filtered water and process until smooth.
Now the gross part, or the fun part if you are into wet, squishy tactile sensations. I used a two quart mason jar with a canning funnel on top and poured part of the oat mix into the nut milk bag. My set-up looked like this:
Then I squeezed the liquid through the bag, stopping when it started to get a little bit slimy. I dumped my pulp into a separate dish and did the whole process over again, until the blender was empty. Next, pour your oat milk back into your blender and add the remainder of the ingredients. Blend until smooth. Store in a tightly sealed jar for up to 4-5 days. It will separate, so be sure to give it a good shake before consuming.
This milk tastes a little sweet and a touch grassy, which I attribute to the uncooked oats. I personally really like the freshness it imparts, but if you doubt you would enjoy such a flavor, you could cook your oats instead of soaking them. If you don’t have a nut milk bag, cheesecloth or even a semi-fine strainer would likely do the trick. Somethings I plan on trying in the future include adding cacao powder to make chocolate milk, and blending it with fruit and freezing it to make creamy popsicles. I’ve also got a theory that an unsweetened version might make a killer base for a mac and cheese recipe. If you try it in a recipe, let me know how it goes in the comments!