I never intended to be a pioneer in non-dairy milks, but I may have struck gold with today’s experiment.
So I tried the shopping area of Dr. Google. The results there?
I did stumble across this site when searching, but I’m not comfortable calling it “reliable” as a source of peanut milk. After all, most of the writing on the packages is in Chinese (and I don’t read Chinese) and while the description says “peanut milk,” the pictures show whole peanuts… some still in their shells!
I also found this article about a Chinese pop star who raved about a brand of peanut milk in a commercial… but when I tried to find information about the brand of milk, more sites in Chinese popped up.
I didn’t watch the video by the way, but feel free to do so if you feel inclined.
So I’m settling with the idea that I’m not THE peanut milk pioneer, but rather A peanut milk pioneer. And an American one at that!
Raw vs. Roasted
Since there isn’t a current issue of artificial ingredients, yet again, infiltrating our food system in the form of peanut milk, the category of “commercial peanut milk” can be considered a case closed. Similarly, so can “the cost of commercial peanut milk.”
Well then. Do we real foodies finally get a day off from reading labels? From scratching our heads over big terms and sorting out the truths about what we’re eating?
Unfortunately, no. But there is good news on the horizon.
Phytic Acid. EEK! There’s an ongoing debate whether or not nuts should be raw or pasteurized (which includes forms of cooking too, like boiled and roasted). I’m on the raw train and believe nuts should be soaked and dehydrated whenever possible. Technically peanuts are a legume, not a nut, but that doesn’t get us off the crispy nut hook.
(Nuts, grains and legumes contain phytic acid and this prevents the body from absorbing many of the healthy nutrients that nuts have. Read more about phytic acid and soaking and sprouting nuts HERE.)
Now, I know that it may not be possible to soak and dehydrate nuts 100% of the time. I’m cool with that. We all do what we can, when we can, and not dwell on we can’t, right? Right. Moving on…
Mark another tic though on the ‘con’ side for raw nuts thanks to aflatoxins. Supposedly they’re dangerous like salmonella and are present in raw nuts. Roasting nuts doesn’t help the cause either because the process can create acrylamides, a chemical that has carcinogenic affects in animals and could possibly behave the same way in humans.
So if you’re not getting nutrients thanks to phytic acid, you’ll get diarrhea, a fever or stomach cramps. You may even get cancer. Yes!
(insert sarcasm here)
Let’s move on to the good news, shall we?
Acrylamides aside, roasting reduces 50% of the aflatoxins and hand-picking discolored nuts additionally reduces the likelihood of contaminated nuts making their way to our pantries.
The issue of the consuming rancid oil thanks to the high heat used in the roasting process isn’t much of an issue at all thanks to this study. It found that eating nuts in general (whether raw or roasted) improved the body’s ability to handle oxidative stress (stress caused by bad, rancid oils) and to protect itself against the damage caused by free radicals (which are found in rancid oils, among other things).
And let’s not forget that roasted nuts taste good! Nuts in general are full of protein and a whole schlew of vitamins and minerals that our bodies crave!
This tiny bit of research is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to nuts, and I’m certainly not covering the entire spectrum today. My only intent was to teach you how to make peanut milk!
However, I wanted to throw these bits of info out there because it’s important to always keep our guard up, even when we think we’re “safe” against harmful chemicals and dangerous processing methods. Know that there’s a debate to be had about raw vs. roasted nuts and diligently do you own research before you take sides.
Until then, buy whatever nuts you enjoy eating – roasted, salted, in the shell, boiled, etc. – and let’s make some peanut milk because if you can get a good deal on peanuts, peanut milk is CHEAP!
Homemade Peanut Milk
I bought a 2.5lb tub of peanuts at Costco for $6.99. If you get three cups of nuts per pound (like you do with the tubs of cashews), then you can make a quart of peanut milk for 93¢!
- 1 cup peanuts
- 4 cups filtered water, plus more for soaking
- Measure peanuts into a container and cover with filtered water. Allow to soak overnight. This softens the nut and makes it easier to blend, leaving less particles of nut in the finished milk (plus you get some of the benefits of soaking nuts too!).
- Drain nuts and place in a blender. Add 4 cups of filtered water and blend until smooth, approximately 1 minute. Store in the refrigerator and enjoy cold.
For one cup: ¼ cup peanuts, 1 cup water
Additional Recipe Notes
Straining the resulting peanut milk is completely optional. I tried it with this fine mesh sieve in my first batch, just to see what would happen, and there really wasn’t much left. The soaking really got those nuts nice and soft, so I’d probably skip the straining altogether.
If you do decide to strain, keep the ground up peanut paste and use in homemade granola bars, smoothies or add it to oatmeal for a boost of protein. It is a paste though, not a meal like what you get with homemade almond milk, so keep that in mind. Many people discard the peanut paste, but we’re all about stretching those pennies ’round here, so I’m sure you can find something to do with it.
Like any non-dairy milk, the taste of peanut milk is acquired. It tastes very peanutty! Previous peanut milk pioneers have experimented with adding various flavor combinations, including cardamom and cloves, cinnamon and vanilla, or even using real vanilla beans! (These beans are the most affordable I’ve come across so far.) Some have also included sweeteners (and some add more than a little), but you guys know that adding sugar is a no-no, so just skip over those lines in recipes and pay attention to the spices instead.
Another option is to roast your peanuts first, before making the milk. This and the spices mentioned above will change the flavor of the milk, so feel free to have fun and experiment!
Here are some other non-dairy milks that you may find interesting: