Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Milk Alternatives

Isn’t it funny how we sail through life not thinking much about the things everyone else struggles with because we are so busy coping with our own struggles. You hear all the time that someone is Lactose Intolerant, or can’t eat gluten or is allergic to a certain food but we don’t really think much about it until it until we have to cook for them or it happens to us. Then it is a whole different story. What hits home the hardest is when you realize that you have to adjust your storage items to fits the special dietary needs of someone that has intolerances or allergies. Simple things like throwing together a casserole with cream of anything soup and noodles, suddenly becomes complicated.

The idea that so many things contain milk or wheat which you must not use can really boggle your mind. There are alternatives that provide easier solutions when it comes to these things. There are many different kinds of grains that can be used in place of wheat and thankfully also several alternatives for milk allergies, especially in cooking. Today I’m going to include some recipes for milk alternatives.

First of all, I know that storing almonds to make almond milk isn’t very practical, at least not for long term storage but let me also say that if I were an Almond farmer, I would live on almond milk and drink up all my profits. It is delicious and fun to make and if you have lots of almonds at your disposal, you could have endless possibilities. So, for all intents and purposes, the almond milk recipe is technically not a storage recipe but just for fun. You have to make almond milk at least once before you die.

Homemade rice milk is more practical though probably not a favorite for drinking straight, but it is a great substitute in recipes that call for milk or powdered milk. Shelf stable rice milk is available to buy, but pricey to store too much and would require lots of storage space; more space than I have. However I know a lady who uses homemade rice milk in her oatmeal and in fruit shakes and many other ways she would use regular milk, and is glad to be able to do it. If this is an option for you, you might want to consider storing a little extra rice.

Soy milk is also a good alternative. It isn’t hard to make thought it takes a little extra time. As we have talked before, soy beans only have a storage life of about a year or a little longer depending on your storage temperature and conditions. This is, however, also a great milk alternative. Here are some recipes for all three.

Almond Milk
¼ c. almonds (30-35), blanched
2 c. cold water
1-2 t. sugar or sweetener
½ -1 T. vanilla
Ice cubes
Fruit (optional)
Blend almonds and cold water till smooth in a blender. Add vanilla and sweetener. If desired add ice and fresh fruit and blend till smooth.

Rice Milk
1 part rice
4 parts water
Vanilla to taste (optional)
Cook rice and water together until rice is fully cooked. Cool slightly; add to a blender and blend well till as smooth as possible. Strain mixtures several times through cheesecloth.

Homemade Soy Milk
One-half pound of soy beans will make about one-half gallon of milk.
There are two different methods for making soy milk. Read the instructions and decided which you would like to try, or maybe you’ll want to try them both.

Step One: Inspect the soybeans; remove any damaged, cracked, or discolored soybeans then wash thoroughly. Use one of the two methods below to prepare your beans:

Method #1:
Soak beans 24 hours, change water once in a while. Rinse beans after soaking, and rub them in your hands to loosen hulls. Proceed to Step Two.

Method #2:
Bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Add ½ t. baking soda to the water as it boils. Add 1-2 cup soybeans to the boiling water. Blanch for five minutes. Drain the soybeans and rinse with hot water. Bring another 4 cups of water to a boil. Add 1/8 teaspoon baking soda to the boiling water. Place the soybeans in the new pot of boiling water. Blanch again for 5 minutes. Drain the soybeans again and rinse with hot water. Proceed to Step Two:

Step 2:
Measure beans, use 1 part beans to 3 parts water. Put 1 cup beans in blender and add 2 cups water; puree as fine as possible then pour this mixture into large pan, rinse out blender with the other 1 cup water. Repeat this process until all beans have been blended. Bring water to boil and simmer for about an hour, strain this mixture through cheese cloth or any porous cloth. Let drain and then squeeze as much more “milk” out as possible. You now have Soy milk. Add salt and sugar to taste. You may also add chocolate or vanilla. Simmer the soy milk with all the added ingredients for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Homemade soy milk can be served hot or cold. After the initial serving, however, soy milk should be refrigerated if it is not going to be entirely consumed in the same day. Homemade soy milk can generally last about 5 days when refrigerated.

Now, after your milk is made, what you have left in the cheesecloth is the “grits” or paste ; this is called Okara and can be used in different recipes, such as cakes or cookies; for example add ½ c. to a 2 loaf recipe of banana bread and you can’t even tell but it adds extra protein. It can be added to meatloaf or any ground beef recipe to boost the protein. It takes on the flavor of whatever it is mixed with although it is visible in some mixtures such as meat sauce for spaghetti. Ounce for ounce Soy has more protein than meat and is a staple in a Vegan diet.


Jamie Moon said...

Thanks for thinking of me!

Jamie Moon said...

We love almond milk!!