Maybe it’s just me (entirely possible), but making my own plant milks has been the biggest challenge in the quest for self-sufficiency. Here’s my truth: the nut bag is stupid. Human civilization is advanced, productive and intelligent-ish. So spending hours working myself into a sweat as I kneed and squeeze the stupid nut bag, spilling half of it in the process and turning my kitchen into a crime scene is not a sustainable procedure. There’s got to be an app for that.
While I appreciate modern convenience, our family goes through boxes of soy, almond and rice milk like it’s free. Only it’s not. At price points of $2-4 each, this is an easy category to target when budget cuts are necessary. I push water as often as possible, but I’ll agree that it doesn’t really work for cereal.
When I purchased my Vitamix for $450, I vowed to reach a break-even point as quickly as possible. So, following my personal financial principal of “spend money to make money”, I purchased bulk quantities of organic soy beans, oat grouts, shredded coconut, almonds, rice and hulled hemp, and began to search for the perfect recipes. I bought Rubbermaid containers that fit in my refrigerator door, and ordered the nut bag that was required in every recipe.
I was excited to get started. This was going to be awesome, for sure. Each recipe was a little different, but they all had one thing in common.
No matter which milk you are preparing, it will need to be strained. And every recipe I read calls for using a nut bag. And they all produce happy people drinking delicious milk made from whole ingredients in an easy process.
Either I’m doing it wrong (likely) or they left out the part where working the milk through the nut bag is akin to doing laundry on a wash board down in the creek.
I tried so many times. Soy, almond, rice, oat, hemp and coconut milk alike. I’d pour it into the nut bag and it would just….sit there. Gentle coaxing, full out beating, tears and bad words were employed. Nope.
I even attempted to construct a homemade vice, considered purchasing a cheese press for $200, and tried to get smart with a spaghetti squash.
After deciding that a commercial grade sieve was the answer, an out-dated word in the product description caught my eye. It was a simple word that is no longer tossed around at parties. Because it’s 2012. But back when Def Leppard ruled rock n’ roll, and before Spanx and spray tans made mini skirts an option for women over 30, nothing beat a great pair of L’eggs like control top NYLONs…
In a far away drawer, tucked in between a pair of leg warmers and the last can of Aqua Net, I have a pair of pantyhose saved for emergency use only.
Who would have guessed that making my own soy milk would constitute an emergency of such drastic proportion?
I got the nylons. I cut them up. I poured the milk into the pouch and held my breath.
It was perfect. Painless. In less than a minute, I was squeezing the last of the liquid and dreaming up other recipes for the leftover okara (pulp).
I have tried it with every kind of milk. Many times each. (I’ve been working on this for months!) Almond, soy, rice, coconut, oat and hemp.
The only one that I didn’t love was the hemp. It is grassy and bitter. But it tastes the same in the nut bag too. I threw away the rest of the hemp and called it a success. I’ll take 5 out of 6. And they are fabulous!