wondrous weekly walnut milk
I’ve been infatuated with making my own nut milks for awhile now, and a lively conversation with a sweet co-worker recently made me realize how much I take this act for granted. After sharing my super (not-so) secret walnut milk recipe with her, she came back with jubilant reviews–not only of the final product (wondrously buttery, earthy, and slightly sweet), but of the process. A bit messy and slightly labor-intensive at first, making homemade nut milk (or any kitchen staple) instead of buying it is as once simply satisfying and wholly revolutionary. It’s about carving out that time during a busy week for a quiet ritual in the kitchen, for finding that one small weekly routine to quiet your mind and nourish your body, for seeing the capacity for one small “chore” to radiate out into a larger sense of wholeness and empowerment. Making nut milk may not change the world, but it can give you the strength to improve it, one small action at a time.
1 cup raw walnut pieces (preferably organic)
4 cups filtered water (plus more for soaking)
4-5 large, soft medjool dates, pitted
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. maple extract (or more vanilla extract)
hefty pinch of sea salt
1 tbsp. red reishi mushroom powder (see NOTES)
1 tbsp. maca powder (see NOTES)
1 tbsp. sunflower lecithin (see NOTES)
• high-speed blender
• nut milk bag (or a few layers of cheesecloth)
Add the walnut pieces to a large bowl of glass, and pour over enough filtered water until walnuts are completely covered. They will float to the top, but give them a good stir and they’ll be a-okay. Refrigerate soaking walnuts for at least 6 hours, or up to 12 hours. I like putting mine in to soak before work in the mornings.
When walnuts are done soaking, drain and rinse them in a large colander or sieve. Add them to the pitcher of a high-speed blender along with 4 cups of filtered water, and blend on high speed until mixture is fully combined and looking like milk. Set nut milk bag or cheesecloth layers over a large bowl, and carefully pour milk mixture into the bag/cheesecloth. Gather the bag/cheesecloth with your hands, and gently squeeze all liquid into the bowl until a thick pulp remains. You can compost this or add to smoothies.
Add the strained nut milk liquid back to the blender, along with the pitted dates, extracts, salt, mushroom powder, maca, and sunflower lecithin. Blend on high speed until mixture is smooth and frothy. Pour into a large jar or pitcher, and refrigerate for up to 1 week–if it lasts that long. The sunflower lecithin helps to prevent separation, but be sure to shake well before drinking. Some natural separation may still occur.
Red reishi mushroom powder and maca powder can be found (often in bulk) at your local health foods store or online, and are considered powerful, immune and energy boosting adaptogenic herbs. These ingredients are totally optional in this recipe, but give it a deeply earthy flavor (and some superpowers). Read more about adaptogen magic here.
Sunflower lecithin is also entirely optional in this recipe, but serves as a wonderful emulsifier for the milk, creating a richer, thicker-textured beverage that won't separate in the fridge. Science!