Cold press juicer vs. high speed blender
It’s certainly not difficult to find homemade plant milk recipes on the Internet. Having had no success in finding a method that uses a cold press juicer, however, I decided to just try it. I used almonds and the results were quite pleasing and a step or two shorter than using a blender. Both blending and cold press juicing methods are compared here.
A cold press juicer uses a process of slow grinding to squeeze out liquid and grind down solids thereby preventing the generation of heat. The high speeds and metal components of food processors, conventional juicers and blenders create heat and thereby warms and can even cook food. The juice from cold press juicers are often called “living” because the enzymes contained within the food have not been destroyed by heat and the heat susceptible nutrients are more likely to have remained intact. Commercial blenders, however, are so powerful that soft foods are often broken down sufficiently before destructive temperatures have a chance to be reached.
Having used both methods, blending definitely results in a creamier milk, with more extraction and less pulp remaining. The cold press juicing method is still perfectly acceptable, though, if you don’t own a powerful blender. I would still be happily using it had I not recently acquired a great blender.
Note that some nuts, seeds and grains won’t have much if any pulp remaining. Cashew is one that completely liquefies in a blender for example.
Why make plant based milk?
As always fresh is best, but, in this instance fresh is amazingly superior to store bought. If you can, it must be tried at least once. Fresh milk is delicious, low GI and nutritious. Fresh almond milk consistently finds its way into my porridge, overnight oats, smoothies, mug cakes, pancakes & lattes. More & more I’m finding it enhancing new recipes.
If your preference is a fresh and pure taste, don’t add anything. Adding vanilla, sweetener & sea salt changes the flavour and the perception of creaminess, though.
Earth friendly eating
I would like to mention that if you’re concerned about eating sustainably, almonds are often said not to be a great option due to the amount of water used in their production. However, there are varying reports of exactly how much water that actually is. A recent study found almonds to be a far superior choice than other plant based milks in terms of sustainability. In addition to that when compared with cow’s milk, the production and consumption of almond milk has way less emissions, less use of the land and about 50% less water required (see graph below). When you make your own milk you’re also reducing waste by not having to throw out an empty carton every week!
So, if it’s a choice between almond milk and dairy, go for almond milk. On top of that, if you choose locally grown you’ll be saving a lot of food miles too. I’ve noticed that organic Australian almonds taste much better than others anyway. I could be bias though…
Please note that commercial plant based milk usually contains additives which prevents the milk from separating. As this is this pure and simple, this does separate. Simply shake it up before use.
Homemade Plant Milk
- High speed blender or Cold press juicer
- A piece of thin natural fabric such as muslin or a clean tea towel or use an almond milk bag
- A mesh strainer
- A large mixing bowl
- A large sterilised glass jar or bottle
- 100 grams your choice nuts, seeds, grains etc. (I use almonds)
- 1 Litre water (Feel free to use less if you'd like more flavour and texture)
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp of your choice sweetener
- Either: Place 2 cups of water in a small bowl with your nut/seed/grain and leave to soak for at least 8 hours, overnight is easiestorPour approx. 2 cups of boiling water over the nut/seed/grain and leave to absorb for about 1 hour.
For cold press juicers
- Drain the nut/seed/grain and combine with 1 Litre of water. Use the juicing screen and position bowls under the bottom and end spouts. Use a cup or ladle to scoop the nut/seed/grain and water mix into the pressing section. The liquid will be strained and the fibrous material will exit out of the end spout. Continue until all solids have been ground and pressed. Re-press any remaining pulp to extract all of the juice and use any remaining water to loosen and wash out clinging almond juice inside the juicer.
For high speed blenders
- Drain your nut/seed/grain and empty into your blender along with 1 Litre water. On high power, blend for about 1 minute or until solids are uniformly ground. Meanwhile place the fabric inside your strainer over a large bowl. Pour the liquid into the fabric lined strainer. When gravity has done it's best and the liquid has stopped dripping, gather up the sides of the cloth and squeeze out remaining liquid. (Clean hands required!)
- Store leftover pulp in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer (I'll make another post with some ideas for its use)
- Stir in the flavouring (optional) and refrigerate in an air tight sterilised container. It will probably last for about 4-5 days maximum.
- Experiment with flavours by adding raw cacao, carob or maple syrup.
- Freeze into ice-cube trays for quick and easy smoothie additions
- Make sure you shake before serving
- Some ideas for plant milks are oats, dried coconut, hazelnut etc.
- Please be careful if you choose rice. Rice contains the spore Bacillus cereus and in the right conditions becomes active. If you then consume it, it can make you very ill.
Guibourg C. & Briggs H., 2019, Climate change: Which vegan milk is best?, BBC News.
Poore J., & Nemecek T., 2018, ‘Reducing food’s environmental impacts through producers and consumers’, Science 01 Jun 2018: Vol. 360, Issue 6392, pp. 987-992 DOI: 10.1126/science.aaq0216