November 23rd is National Cashew Day. This year, take a step away from the snack nuts and take a look into the newest cashew product: cashew milk.
WHAT IS NUT MILK?
Nut milks are non-dairy milks made from ground nuts. The liquid looks like cow’s milk, hence the name.
Basic nut milk comprises nuts crushed into a paste and blended with water. Nut milk dates back centuries, if not millennia, particularly in nut-rich areas like the Mediterranean and much later, the southern U.S.
Nut milks are usually quite nutritious, protein- and nutrient-packed: another reason why people who could opt for dairy milk are attracted to them. And yet another reason: sustainability, the desire to eat more plant-based foods for not just health reasons, but environmental ones.
Many people use nut milks as a cow’s milk replacement, whether in coffee or tea, cereal, shakes, cooking, or simply as a refreshing glass of “milk.”
Nut milks are a boon for people who are dairy-allergic, lactose-intolerant, vegan or kosher. They also have fewer calories than dairy milks.
Types Of Nut Milks
After decades of soy milk as the only non-dairy milk on the shelf, the market has exploded.
Now, there are three nut milks, plus non-dairy milks that are made other plant sources. The category is called non-dairy milk, and includes:
Nut milks are shelf stable: They require no refrigeration until the package is open.
Flavored Non-Dairy Milks
In the U.S., most nut milks are available in Original (plain), chocolate and vanilla. Original and vanilla are typically available in sweetened or unsweetened.
The latest nut milk on the shelves is cashew milk.
The people we know who consume only dairy milk find cashew milk to be creamier than most other non-dairy milks, and neutral in flavor, i.e., closer in flavor to cow’s milk*.
We loved the samples sent to us by Pacific Foods. Their cashew milk is:
Make Your Own Cashew Milk
Some consumers don’t like the fact that shelf-stable milks contain preservatives and stabilizers†. They make their own nut milk from scratch.
If the idea appeals to you (it’s an interesting for kids to experience), here’s a recipe this recipe. Look for less expensive bulk cashews.
*Some non-dairy milks taste like their source material, e.g., almond milk has a subtle flavor of almonds. Those who prefer almond milk find this feature to be a bonus; i.e., you get a cup of almond-accented coffee or a chocolate-almond drink.
†Pacific Foods cashew milk contains water, cashew butter (made from cashews and sunflower oil), cane sugar and less than 1% of gellan gum (a natural gelling agent made from the lily plant), guar gum (a natural thickener made from guar beans), sea salt, sodium citrate (a preservative, the salt of citric acid, derived from citrus fruits), tricalcium phosphate (a calcium salt) and xanthan gum (a thickener derived from simple sugars).