Updated February 13th, 2019 – In recent years, nut milk such as almond, coconut, and cashew have become undeniably more popular among consumers.
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While nut milks have always been a good alternative for vegans and people with lactose intolerance, they also offer many additional health benefits.
Almond milk, for example, has 50% fewer calories than cow’s milk, as well as less sugar and nearly equal amounts of calcium.
As well as being low in carbohydrates, almond milk is low in sodium and high in healthy fats, which helps to prevent heart disease. Cashew milk also offers similar statistics: fewer calories, less sugar, and high calcium.
Like almond milk, it is high in essential vitamins like vitamin E. Similarly, coconut milk can help improve blood pressure, prevent heart attacks, and lower cholesterol.
Why should I make my own nut milk?
At any given grocery store, there are numerous different nut milk options. While store-bought nut milk may be convenient, these products have been pasteurized. They are then stored in cartons lined with plastic and aluminum, both of which have toxic properties.
Concerned about that aluminum cookware? Check out the best stainless steel cookware made without this potentially toxic metal.
Additionally, in most store-bought nut milks one can find the ingredient carrageenan. This additive is used to thicken and preserve the milk and contributes to the long list of obscure (and often unpronounceable ingredients) found on the back of the carton.
Store-bought nut milks also often contain large amounts of added sugar, detracting from the overall health value. So, instead of buying expensive nut milks with long ingredient lists, why not make the switch to making your own nut milk?
Did you know that the fumes from Teflon cookware can be dangerous to humans and domestic animals? Learn about why you might want to make the switch to non-stick ceramic cookware!
How do I make nut milks?
Making nut milk at home is a simple process that allows you to control exactly what ingredients go into your milk and ensure they’re of the highest quality. To make your own nut milk, you simply start with by choosing a nut.
Soak the nuts in water—about 8 to 12 hours for almonds and 2 hours for cashews. After soaking, rinse the nuts and then put the nuts, water, and any optional sweetener in a blender. Blend for about 2 minutes.
The final step in making nut milk is then to strain the pulp from the liquid, and this is the stage in which the nut milk bag is necessary.
By straining your nut milk using a nut milk bag, your milk will come out smoother, creamier, and with a texture more similar to store-bought milks.
Looking for the best blender that can even tackle ice? See my post on the best blender for protein shakes!
Non-Organic Nylon Nut Milk Bags
While there are several different types of nut milk bags available on the market, the most prevalent is the fine-mesh bag. These bags are typically made of nylon and come in varying sizes. Nylon is well-recognized as the best material for nut milk bags, as it is extremely durable and can be made BPA-free, keeping your nut milk away from harmful chemicals.
Nylon bags are also stretch resistant, so they won’t lose or change their shape over time. Additionally, nylon bags are very resistant to stains and do not pick up odors easily, meaning that your bag will remain in good condition and last for many years. Finally, these bags are also machine washable, making post-straining cleanup a breeze.
Meshberry Nut Milk Bag and Strainer
One of the most popular and well-reviewed nylon bags is Meshberry’s Nut Milk Bag and Strainer, available online for a song. It’s good for more than just making nut milk!
This bag comes with a lifetime guarantee, which reflects its high quality.
Rawsome Creation’s More Than a Nut Milk Bag
Rawsome Creation’s More Than a Nut Milk Bag is another excellent option for a nylon bag, and is durable enough to be scrubbed and boiled. This bag is sure to provide the finest and highest quality strain for your nut milk, as well as offer the perfect balance between flexibility and durability.
Organic Cotton and Hemp Nut Milk Bags
The only downside with nylon bags, however, is that they are not organic. While this may not be an issue for some users, others may desire a more eco-friendly bag. Organic nut milk bags are made from organic cotton or a combination of organic cotton and hemp. These bags, in addition to being 100% organic, are vegan, undyed, unbleached, non-GMO, and processed without any harmful chemicals.
While cotton and hemp nut milk bags are extremely similar, they do have a few small differences. Generally, hemp bags are stronger than cotton ones, as hemp is naturally stronger than cotton. Hemp bags also use linen threads, instead of the cotton threading found on the cotton bags. These linen threads are also generally more durable. While some argue hemp fabric will last longer than cotton, both types of bags are reusable and will last a long time.
In addition to their durability, hemp bags also have antibacterial properties that cotton bags don’t. This serves to prevent the growth of mold and bacteria and keeps your nut milk bag cleaner over time.
EcoPeaceful Organic Cotton Nut Milk Bag
One such bag is the EcoPeaceful Organic Cotton Nut Milk Bag, which is very economic. Even the sewing threads and drawstring on this bag are made of organic material, and the bag is glue-free, made with corn and potato starch. This bag has the added bonus of being made in the USA with a 100% recycled label and packaging.
Rare & Bare Organic Hemp Nut Milk Bag
Rare & Bare l also sells an Organic Hemp Nut Milk Bag online and is about the same price as EcoPeaceful. For just a bit more more, you can reap the benefits of added durability and antimicrobial properties found in hemp bags.
Nuts about nuts!
When it comes to making nut milks at home, straining is certainly one of the most important steps. It’s what gives your milk the smooth and creamy texture found in store-bought milks.
While there are many different types of nut milk straining bags available, nylon reigns supreme as the most durable and can be bought most easily.
However, for those looking for a more eco-friendly option, hemp and cotton bags will both work just as, if not more, effectively.
If you love making nut-based recipes, you’ll definitely want to see this post on the best food processor for nut butters. Also, check out this how-to on making almond buttermilk that can substitute for the real thing! Or, use your fresh nut milks with the best ice cream maker for non-dairy ice cream to have your ice cream and eat it too!