(Or, my first attempt at homemade nut milk.)
I’ve been hurtin’ for a blender for a while now (though, if you’d ask my boyfriend, he’d say, “We need another blending device?”). I finally invested in a Ninja, and damn! if it’s not one of the most fun tools I have played with in a while. I mean, come on–there are THREE BLADES, people! Two more blades to injure myself on (I am notoriously clumsy), but it makes for a pretty lethal toy for anything that enters the vessel.
The main motivator behind this purchase, besides the smoothie appeal (an immersion blender is only useful for blending soft things, and I was growing tired of banana-only beverages), was to make homemade nut milk. No, I do not consider myself one of “Those People” (though I do consider myself “hippie chic”). But the allure of making things at home that one would normally purchase is exciting to me. Sure, it’s a totally over-involved process, and does not save you an exorbitant amount money when it comes down to it, but it’s a great DIY project that beefs up your culinary chops. So why not give it a whirl (ha)?
1 cup sunflower seeds
3 Medjool dates, pits removed
1/8 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch kosher salt
Makes 1 quart (4 cups)
1. Cover sunflower seeds with cold water by 2 inches and soak overnight in the refrigerator.
2. Drain and discard the soaking water and place seeds in the blender.
3. Blend on high for 2 minutes, or until completely pureed.
4. Add dates, vanilla, and salt and whirl for another minute.
5. Strain the nut milk using a nut milk bag (I don’t have one of these…yet…so I used a fine mesh strainer, which worked okay–left a bunch of small bits. You can also try a few layers of cheesecloth)
I chose to start with sunflower seeds because they were the least expensive nut/seed I could find. They have a nice flavor, almost vegetal, which is great on its own, but I had fresh dates on hand and was in that kind of a mood. The end result was mildly sweet, which worked well with the hint of vanilla. Since the fine-mesh strainer wasn’t the greatest option (the little bits were strange, floating around in my coffee), I used the sunflower seed milk in my morning smoothies.
Many people bake the leftover strained meal (in most cases, almond) to use later in baked goods in place of flour. So I spread the sunflower seed meal onto a baking sheet and baked on very low for a very long time. It smelled gross. It looked strange. I must have done something terribly wrong.