Sunday, March 26, 2023

Cashew Milk

In the previous blog about our St. Patrick celebration 2023 (, I briefly wrote about Cashew Milk. I am writing this blog so the recipes can be searched easily without reading all the other details of the celebration. Even though I make this often, I want a reference for myself as well. It is easier than digging through all my unorganized recipes in a drawer.

Real dairy milk has been around since there were cows. Everyone thought it was the perfect food and for much of the population this is probably true, but my family is very intolerant of dairy products. We like the butter, yogurt and milk but it doesn't like us. When my youngest daughter was a newborn baby we discovered she couldn't tolerate cow's milk. We found out for sure when she ended up in the hospital for a week when she was eight months old. In her growing up years we bought fresh Goat's milk from a local goat farmer. Gradually through her teenage years and young adulthood, she let some dairy into her life. She didn't overeat it and somehow was able to tolerate it in moderation.  Then as she grew older it became evident that it wasn't worth the side effects. This is true for others in the family also. Fortunately in this day and age substitutions are readily available. The trouble with some of these products are the additives to make it to look more pleasing and to maintain its shelf life. If you ever check the label for Almond or Cashew milk, the expiration date is a long time from purchase. That fact in itself tells a lot. 

I have learned to make my own Cashew Milk from raw cashews and water. Raw cashews can be purchased in a lot of places. I recently bought a bag from Walmart for $9.99 for 14 ounces.  That is equivalent to almost $11.50 per pound.  I began a search for a more affordable product of a similar quality and was able to find them for $6 per pound but I had to buy five pounds.  That isn't a problem because I use them regularly.

Cashew Milk

1 cup raw cashews (pieces are fine)

4 cups water

Soak the cashews for two hours and drain off the water.  

In a high power blender add the soaked cashews to two cups of water.  Blend for 2 minutes.

Then add the rest of the water (another 2 cups) and blend for another minute.

It's ready, no straining necessary.  As you can see, it's a white creamy milk that can be interchanged with dairy milk in most recipes.  

Cashews have a good heart healthy fat.  It has magnesium which most people need more of especially if you have muscle spasms. it has a low glycemic index for anyone with diabetes, its a good source of phosphorus for strong teeth, provides 10% of your recommend iron and provide antioxidants for the eyes, skin and hair.  It seems to be a healthy alternative to dairy.

With the milk I make Greek yogurt the exact same way I made it with cow's milk.  Cashew yogurt in the grocery store is very expensive.  A 1/2 cup container can cost $2 or more.

Cashew Yogurt

4 cups of Cashew Milk

1 heaping Tablespoon (or up to 1/3 cup) of starter (I bought a container of cashew yogurt that had live cultures)

After the first batch with purchased starter, just save back enough to use in subsequent batches. 

Heat your milk to 180 degrees.  You can use a saucepan or the microwave.  Use a digital thermometer to make sure the milk is hot enough.  Then let it cool to 110 degrees.  Stir in the yogurt starter.  I usually put the yogurt starter in a small dish and add some warm milk just to get it mixed.  I then add it to the cooled milk. Now just incubate it for 10-12 hours. Those with an instant pot just make it in the cooker on the yogurt setting. I have an old yogurt maker which keeps the mixture at the proper warmth. Just keep it warm any way you can. When the time is up, I drain off the excess liquid. You can use cheesecloth or a fine sieve like a nut bag.  Just put in the refrigerator and let it drain for a few hours. The excess whey drains and leaves a very thick Greek yogurt. The whey can be used in bread or soups. It has beneficial bacteria in it as well.

Cashew Milk Pudding

Pudding can be made with Cashew milk.  Either use the box mix or make it from scratch.  Be careful with the box mix because some of them have non fat dry milk in the ingredients.  Jello brand does not.

To make cooked pudding you will need:

3 1/4 cups of Cashew milk

3 T. cornstarch

1/2 cup sugar 

Pinch of salt

3 egg yolks (mixed together)

1 t. vanilla

In a small bowl mix the cornstarch with 1/4 cup of milk

In a saucepan, whisk the remaining milk, salt and sugar and begin heating until it's steamy and not boiling.  Slowly add some of the warm milk to the egg yolks.  This is called tempering and the eggs won't curdle this way.  Slowly add the egg yolks back into the saucepan with the cornstarch mixture. Cook whisking constantly until the mixture starts to thicken.  Remove from the heat and add the vanilla.  Put in dishes covered with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to eat. 

I also make overnight oats with this milk.  My favorite is Apple Pie Oats.

1 apple (granny smith preferred but gala or other varieties work well)

1/2 cup rolled oats

3/4 cup Cashew milk

1 T. pure maple syrup

1/2 t. cinnamon

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate in a jar or sealed container overnight. I can't eat all of this recipe at one sitting so I scoop some out in a dish, add a little more milk and heat for a minute in the microwave. 

As i mentioned before this homemade Cashew milk can be used in most recipes that use dairy milk.  It can be used for coffee creamer.  I have blogged about making Almond milk and Oat milk but this is by far the easiest and best.