I recently discovered hazelnut milk. Nutty in flavor – yet mild too – its rich flavor complements a wide variety of beverages and can even be used in cooked dishes for a creamy alternative to dairy. Because it can be a little finicky when heated, I have generally used it as a coffee addition, or when making beverages such as “Dirty” Chai, where is works beautifully.
For those of us who are forced to abstain from dairy, non-dairy “milks” fill in the gap nicely in many recipes. However, store-bought non-dairy milks are not only expensive (and not very creamy and rich because they water them down so much), but they also often contain different preservatives, additives, and/or synthetic added vitamins, which is not necessarily a health benefit.
So, my tip for today’s 52 ways to save money on a healthy diet is this: make your own non-dairy milks!
Non-dairy milks can be made from nuts, seeds, grains, and even legumes! I like to make more protein-rich milks, as it fits my own dietary needs at the moment, but grain-based milks can be a particularly frugal choice (though not necessarily the most nutritious – depending on what grain you use to make it with). I am planning on experimenting with bean milks soon! I am very curious about them. (I don’t recommend soy milk, but only found out recently that certain white beans can also make a delicious milk.) I will let you know how it goes!
Some “milks” will be infused heavily of the flavor of grain/nut/seed you used. Others will be mild and will take on the flavor of whatever you pair it with. Two past shared favorites include rich & creamy almond milk (which is a more frugal nut to use), and coconut milk made from fresh coconuts, and coconut flakes. The one made from coconut flakes is especially frugal. The almond milk is very mild, and so I used it exclusively in my (#affiliate link) Ladled: Nourishing Soups for all Seasons cookbook for the dairy alternative. It truly does work wonderfully in soups!
The great thing about making your own is that you can control how thick or thin the milk is, which is a huge boon to a home cook. I like to make my milks on the thick side, and then simply thin down for different needs as the need arises. Using it thin, when appropriate, also allows you to stretch out your milk further, which is helpful when using more expensive nuts.
I was introduced to hazelnut milk at Harlow in Portland, where they serve a variety of drinks with their house-made hazelnut milk. That includes this delicious latte made with their cold-brewed coffee and hazelnut milk.
Hazelnut milk can be a little finicky about separating when heated, but somehow they make it work for a delicious nutty “paleo-friendly” latte! I love it. I am going to attempt to make it at home with my own milk….wish me luck!
- 2 cups of raw hazelnuts
- Generous pinch of unrefined salt
- Filtered water
- In a medium sized bowl, place the hazelnuts, and then cover well with gently warmed filtered water. Stir in a generous pinch of salt, and cover. Leave at room temperature for 8-12 hours.
- Rinse well in a fine sieve. Place nuts in a high-quality blender along with 2 cups of water and blend for at least one minute, or until nuts are well blended.
- Cover a fine sieve with a layer of cheesecloth, and place over a bowl. Pour the hazelnut milk through, and then made a little “bag” of the cheesecloth by gather the corners together and gently squeeze the rest of the liquid out of the nut mixture.
- You can now use the ground up nuts to make crackers, etc. Or you can make a second, weaker batch of hazelnut milk by re-blending it with another 2 cups of water. You can use the second batch separate, or you can mix it with the first batch. If you don’t do this, I recommend that you thin your very rich and creamy milk with at least one more cup of water before use.
- This keep for about 5 days refrigerated, and will separate. Simply give it a quick shake before using.
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