Saturday, May 21, 2016

Tutorial: Make Your Own Delicious Walnut Milk!

Hi, everybody! The Fresh Pioneer is back and I've got a tasty treat for those of you who are looking for a way to boost their nutrition, cut fat, and lower cholesterol. Or, if you're like us, make something tasty for people who are lactose intolerant!
First, an odd fact: did you know that while approximately 15% of Caucasians are lactose intolerant, up to 50%-80% of Hispanic/Latinos are? (East Asians have the highest at reported nearly 90%... which made me think of all the Asian food dishes I know and realize almost none of them have dairy. Interesting.)

Hazelnut milk, about $8 a quart.

When our pediatrician first suggested testing our oldest daughter for a milk allergy, I thought that was something he always did with babies who were colicky. But then he told me that studies have shown Hispanics to be much more lactose intolerant than Caucasians. Luckily, none of my children have inherited any milk allergies, but my husband can only handle dairy in small amounts.

Almond milk, about $6 a quart

  That wouldn't be a problem except that he LOVES dairy. Ice cream, cheese, milk, yogurt. Everything that is made from cow milk, he craves. The good news: he also loves goat milk (which is easier for l.i. folks.) And the better news is that he thinks nut milks are delicious.

Walnut milk $14.99 a quart
The bad news (again)? It's SUPER expensive. Walnut milk is 14.99 a quart in some places (like Amazon). We have six kids and I cook on a budget. I just can't imagine spending $14.99 for something you can drink in a day or two!
So, I was thinking of all the walnuts we have and decided to try and make my own.
I know these are hazelnuts. But I also had a whole bunch of hazelnuts around and decided to try two different varieties.
 So, rinse the nuts you have, if they're whole. No need to peel. Put them in a heat-proof dish and cover with boiling water. Add a few squeezes of lemon juice and a few shakes of salt. This is important. Every tutorial I had mentioned this and I decided to believe the people who wrote, "Don't skip this. It helps soften the nuts AND it brightens the flavor. Otherwise it tastes like mushroom water." Yuck. Mushroom water does not sound appealing!
 We had several canning jars full of shelled walnuts. (We also have a whole garbage can full of last year's nuts in the shed, curing for this year!)
 Let the nuts sit in the boiling water for several hours. I added a few more cups of boiling water to the bowls every now and then. Some people soak the nuts overnight, but most tutorials said a few hours, so that's what I tried first.
Strain the soaking water and put the nuts into a blender. Then for every one cup of nuts, add four cups of water. Some people use filtered water. I didn't think it really mattered since our water is pretty good.
 Blend for several minutes or until the water is light and frothy.
 If you have cheese cloth, great, but we'd just ruined our last one by letting it sit in red cabbage (don't ask) overnight. So, a pillow case also works. (Clean, naturally.) Place the pillow case over a large bowl.
 Dump everything into the pillow case. Doesn't look too appetizing!
 Carefully lift the case and let the walnut milk run out. You can squeeze the bottom to get the very last drops.
 This was pretty thick and I added a few more cups of water to the milk after I took this picture. It really was rich and creamy. I put some in fresh brewed espresso right away and it was INCREDIBLE. So good!
Anyway, at this point, some people put in a drop of vanilla and some honey, or other sweetener. I put in 1/2 tsp of raw sugar (cow's milk has sugar so although we knew it wasn't going to taste like cow's milk, I still wanted it to taste like MILK).
 You can see how creamy it is.
 The flavor reminded me of agua de orchata, a rice drink my husband makes sometimes, so I decided to put on a dash or two of cinnamon.
 OH MY WORD. Delicious! My husband drank the whole thing and had NO issues at all. His stomach wasn't cramping and there was no nausea. Plus, it has great nutrition, low fat, and helps lower cholesterol? YAY! He's a pretty active guy but he's pushing 50 and we've got to keep that heart healthy!
 So, the hazelnuts were waiting patiently.
 I could tell this batch would be different.
 It looks very rich and frothy.
 This was before I diluted it a little further with some water but you can see the darker color. It smelled heavenly even before the vanilla. It reminded me of the best hazelnut coffee creamers, but without any chemical taste.
The kids said this one was their favorite, maybe because it was so flavorful, but I think I like the walnut milk. My husband had a second glass of this one and said he really couldn't choose between them. 

So, there you go! It's super quick and easy to make your own nut milks if you have the curiosity, or the need, for a non-dairy alternative in your house. It can last up to a week in the fridge and a lot of people use these milks for their smoothies... but outs disappeared in hours. YUM. Now I'm wondering about granitas and other frozen deserts. Maybe I'll try that next!

Until next time! Be sure to stop by my author page at Mary Jane Hathaway, my other author page Virginia Carmichael, or my blog at The Things That Last. We've been super busy with state testing, college stuff, baseball, a woolen mills tour, and an alpaca farm visit, but I hope to finish my newest historical in the next few weeks. (Wouldn't it be great to have an alpaca on the cover?? No?? Ok, fine...)


  1. Wow. I am totally impressed by this. I was also impressed by your stats. Then blown away by what a good momma you are.

    1. Stats? I missed the stats but I guess I done good on whatever was being graded! LOL.
      And thank you. I believe good mamas take their kids out of the closet once in a while. You know, once a year or so. Otherwise they get all pasty-looking!

    2. LOL, now I don't feel so badly for wondering what stats she was talking about.

    3. Maybe the list of things you did???? I am over the moon excited that this isn't like crazy hard! Virginia, I'd never even thought to look this up, and yet I've wondered about it! Also, I'm loving the pillow case! I use old ones (the kind you can read a newspaper through) to strain things all the time because then I give them a hot water/soap wash, and I can re-use! If I'm doing jellies, I use cheesecloth because I don't want old flavors messing with jelly. I have one pillowcase I use for straining frying oil in the deep fryer. (I know, I'm probably the ONLY ONE OF US with active deep fryers and Bethy just found me a brand new one as back up at a garage sale for $15. We are so excited!!!!)

      Anyway, thank you for this! And I'm smiling, just imagining your brand of busy right now.

      Upstairs are 5 grandchildren who spent the day with Grammy yesterday, one with a soccer tournament, and the others to watch. Talk about wonderful old times!

      Aren't we so blessed?

    4. Yes! SO blessed. Utterly and illogically blessed!

      A friend and I were just agreeing that MAY is the crazy month. April is busy, June is busy, but May is downright NUTS. How does everything fall in one month??

      But I still love it. (I mostly love realizing we have a lazy morning and making scones while playing Legos. That's my speed...)

    5. And here it is June... the slight difference in climate, school year, when we first can say "summer" and mean it... June and December are write-offs, and every one of my young mothers comes to realize that. Although May has Mother's Day, confirmations and Holy Communions and for older kids proms, balls and Memorial Day and college graduations.... Wait, I may re-think the June thing, and COMBINE them!!! Because yes, May is crazy with field trips, too!

      EEEEEK! They're both crazy!!!!

      I will stand corrected that I was even thinking of making a case for June.

      It might be mild these days compared to May!!!!

  2. What fun to try this! My husband and I drink almond milk all the time (he also drinks soy milk). But it's not as expensive around here. It's more in line with cow's milk.

    I think I would love hazelnut milk! That's one of my favorite coffee creamer flavors, so I need to try it just for my coffee. :)

    1. Ohhhhh, to have almond milk as expensive as cow milk!! We pay less than $2 a gallon for cow milk. I don't think I'd ever blend nuts again if it was that cheap.

      And my sister is a hazelnut fan, too. :) I'll have to make her some milk and see how she likes it.

    2. This is interesting.... Finn had a dairy allergy the second year of his cute little Mighty Finn life, and we used Almond Milk. It was less than $3/half gallon, and I'd buy it by the case at Sam's Club.

      That made it about 2X cow's milk, but not crazy expensive.

      Did you guys know that grocery pricing is established regionally? At least it always was, because they go for what the market will bear, and what's popular, region to region.

      Dave just retired, but he's got two things he always does when we're in another area. Check out to see what kinds of trees are native (the woodcutter in him) and to scan the grocery stores to see what the prices are. He was amazed how reasonable the prices were in Basha's grocery in Phoenix, because very little is produced in the desert... Basha's got an "A" from Dave!

    3. Oh, I believe it because I've seen it. We've got some crazy prices on a few items that my brother in Utah can eat on the cheap. But we get cow milk so cheaply here, less than $2 a gallon, so $6 a gallon would be high.

      I was just talking about this with my kids as we planned our cook outs on the coast next month. I joking said I was going to order groceries through Amazon and have them delivered there because those little grocery stores along the coast are just a killer on the budget. I remember buying a loaf of bread last year for $3.00! Crazy!

    4. Yes, the little places are true convenience stores and the prices reflect it... It's a funny business, all around numbers, but then so is writing, so I guess we're all in funny businesses!!!

  3. This is wonderful, Mary Jane. I've been meaning to do it. I saw one that was a blend of brazil nuts and almonds and I wanted to try it. Just waiting for summer vacation when I actually have time and energy to try things.

    1. I hear you. We've just been completely swamped here. And it never seems to be anything major (no health, traveling, or work problems). But it's the little things like running kids to practices, taking day trips out of town, having visitors... I love it all but my schedule is way off. :P
      Here's to summer vacation!

  4. You could use an alpaca on your cover if you take the picture before shearing day! But use a baby one. Oh, my. Talk about cuteness!

    And I use almond milk for my smoothies and in my tea, just to help cut the carbs. The cost thing is a real factor, isn't it? We don't have nut trees around here, so to buy enough walnuts to make a batch of walnut milk is beyond thinking about. But I'll have to price the walnut milk in the store. I have no idea what it might cost!

    Have fun with your new release!