As we have begun altering our lifestyle in accordance with living waste free there are changes I have made in the kitchen to meet our vegan needs and wants. One of these changes, which has been a dramatic one, is making our own milks.
Preparing homemade vegan milks was an extremely important, and for me an essential part of getting closer to living waste free. The long life milk tetra packs that we were buying were a huge contribution to our weekly waste accumulation. I have always taken them to our local waste transfer centre where there is a recycling station, but as tetra packs require very sophisticated recycling equipment due to their multi layers, I always doubted they were being recycled and feared they were simply ending up in the tip pile with all the other rubbish. And, importantly, our goal is to reduce all waste including that which is recyclable, by preventing the need for its production in the first place, thus reducing energy consumption and lightening our footprint on sacred Mother Earth.
Also, making any food from the raw wholefood ingredients, in my opinion, is always going to be the healthiest and most delicious option for my family. I can choose exactly what ingredients I use, how much to include, it is super fresh, and made with a lot of love!
So, I thought I’d begin sharing the milk making journey that I embarked on several weeks ago; starting with almond milk.
We discovered that Star loves almond milk whilst we were on our year long adventure, so this was one of the first milks I attempted. It is not one that I have ever made before, but thankfully it is very simple to prepare! It also tastes wonderful! I do not use it for all purposes, I do not think it works very well in hot drinks, but it has become our favourite milk to use in smoothies and milkshakes, and is perfectly fine as a milk replacement in other cooking. All the children enjoy it on its own, and I love that the almond meal you are left with after straining can be used in other recipes, such as vegetable patties or for baking.
I have discovered though that it does not keep in the fridge as well as soy milk for example, and so have decided to just make it in small batches which we basically use in one or two days. This is totally okay though as it is so easy to make and there’s something very nourishing and holistic about using a milk you’ve just made to make your day’s smoothie!
After some research and experimenting here is how I make it:
- 1 cup organic (if possible) almonds, soaked overnight in water, strained and rinsed
- 4 cups water
- Pinch of sea salt
- 1 tablespoon rice malt syrup
- Place almonds, water, salt, and rice malt in a blender. Pulse to break up the almonds then blend on high for about 30 seconds.
- Strain almond milk through a nut milk bag (I made my own from muslin cloth that I already had) or a piece of muslin, squeezing as much milk out of the almond pulp as you can.
- Place the milk into bottles and refrigerate. Place the almond meal into a container and refrigerate for later use (it will keep for several days) or put it into the compost.
When we have an overabundance of almond or other ‘meal’ from milk making we either sprinkle it onto our vege garden beds or put it in the compost, so nothing is getting wasted! And there it is, an easy to make, delicious, and healthy milk that is now in regular rotation in our waste free, vegan kitchen.