Recipe // Coconut Macadamia Nut Milk (plus some musings on food waste)

I remember distinctly my first year of college, being the most broke I had ever been and trying really hard to find the virtue in living intentionally minimally. It was hard, but it was also really freeing being totally on my own and being able to feel in control of all aspects of my life. I didn’t have a smartphone or a computer so I just read a lot and thought a lot about what kind of life I wanted to build. The stack of library books next to my bed followed a certain theme of environmentalism, natural living, how and what to eat. I learned a lot about the food industry (thanks Michael Polan!) and subsequently the waste industry. I thought a lot about packaging. I thought a lot about everything that I brought into my apartment. I started saving all my PB jars (and man did I eat a lot of PB) packing my salads in them, making my own laundry detergent, bringing my own produce bags to Whole Foods, and brushing my teeth with baking soda (which was about as gross as you might expect).

That year was truly the formation for a lot of habits that I still follow and think about all the time (though a lot of them have fallen by the wayside– looking at you baking soda). It wasn’t until recently however, that I ever thought to make my own nut milks. I’ve always liked the kind of labor intensive homesteading kinds of tasks like that, so I don’t know why it took me so long. I remember learning about the pioneers in 3rd grade and constantly pretending that I was a pioneer girl making my own butter and sewing my own clothes. While there is nothing pioneer about homemade macadamia nut milk, it still follows the same “do it yourself” spirit that I’ve always found so appealing.

Homemade nut milk is also quickly growing on me just for the fact that it is a zero waste product (assuming you buy nuts from the bulk aisle, use your own container, and utilize the pulp that is leftover) And man, are there a lot of options for what you can do with the pulp! I’m working on a handful of recipes to utilize the leftovers from homemade nut milk, but as you can imagine, this is a labor of love that does not occur overnight. My kitchen is currently coated in a fine dust of nut pulp and my poor food processor has been pushed to it’s limits.

I can however, leave you with the recipe for the milk itself, and instructions on how to preserve the leftover pulp and turn it into a flour that you can save for later as you anxiously await my follow up post….


Coconut Macadamia Nut Milk

*Before you start: you’ll need a nut milk bag to strain the pulp when it’s done. If you have a crazy high watt blender you may not get a lot of pulp, but mine sucks so I had plenty*

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Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cup raw macadamia nuts
  • 1 cup coconut meat (flakes work just fine)
  • 3 cups filtered water
  • 3 pitted dates
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla or vanilla bean paste/powder

Directions:

  • You’ll need to first soak the macadamia nuts and dates, so add them to a jar with enough water to cover them and let them soak for 2-4 hours but definitely no more than that. You can also cut down the soaking time by adding hot, not quite boiling water and soak for only one hour.
  • Strain the water and add the soaked nuts and dates to a blender with the rest of the ingredients.
  • Blend baby blend! How long you’ll want to blend it depends entirely upon your blender, but the longer the better. Mine is kinda low power so I did it for about 4 minutes.
  • Here is the fun part… get a large mixing bowl and place the nut milk bag in it in such a way that you can pour the milk into the bag with ease.
  • Lift the bag up over the bowl and SQUEEZE all that precious milk outta there. Here’s where you can really feel like a pioneer… if it helps you think of it like a cow udder, I won’t judge you. If that grosses you out, don’t think of it like that. It’s just nut pulp you weirdo…
  • Pour the milk into a jar and store in the fridge for up to 5 days

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At this point you’re left with this bag of soggy nut pulp wondering what on earth you do with it. Don’t throw it out! That ish is precious gold!

I’ve never looked into what the nut milk companies do with the leftover pulp. Maybe they compost it. Maybe they throw it out. Maybe they build sand castles out of it. Either way, I feel like I’m somehow beating the system when I save my pulp and make something out of it. More bang for my buck AND cutting out both waste and the middle man! That’s like the definition of efficiency!

Okay so here’s what you do to convert that sandy mess into a delicious grain-free flour:

  • Preheat the oven to 245 (I think that’s as low as most ovens go)
  • Spread the pulp out on a baking sheet and dry it out in the oven for about 90 minutes, giving it a stir and breaking up the chunks a couple times as it dries.
  • Once it’s dried out completely, give it a quick blitz in the food processor to make the consistency nice and even, put it in a jar or bag, and store it in the pantry (or immediately make something out of it, up to you!)

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*this is what it looks like post-oven, pre-food processor

Like I said, I’m still working out the various ways in which one can utilize nut pulp and I will let you know once I make something that doesn’t taste like wet sand.

Have a really good recipe that involves nut flour? Send em my way! I want to use the ish out of these leftovers and high five all of you for cutting back on food waste in the most badass (read, delicious) way possible!

 

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