PACKAGED PLANT-BASED "VEGAN" MILK ARE NOT TRULY VEGAN
When I see vegans and caring people buying cartoned/bottled cashew milk, I get so sad and upset that I want to say something to them (but they might perceive it as rude). Instead, I channel my energy into making educational recipes, articles, and videos! I learned about plastic pollution and how it affects wildlife by watching documentaries like Plastic Planet, Plastic Cow, Tapped, A Plastic Ocean.
Plastic is a huge problem for wildlife, it kills/harms billions of animals, possibly irreversible environment hazard. Carton boxes are made from layers of virgin wood, plastic, and aluminum that is expensive to recycle and rarely get recycled. " Only 20% of America has access to recycling facilities for Tetra Pak" Even if you are able to recycle a plastic bottle or carton box, plastic caps are not recyclable and plastic recycling just delays/slows down pollution and is a minor reduction! It is nice that cows milk (most live in concentration camp like environments) is being replaced with plant-based milks, but the current packaging is very wasteful of earth resources. If I can help to reduce and eliminate plastic pollution, then I will do whatever I can to promote environment and animal harm reduction (a core principle of veganism)!
PRICE OF CASHEW IN STORE BOUGHT CASHEW MILK
Would you pay $40-$75 a pound for cashews? Probably not, especially when you can get cashew pieces as low as $5/lb! But, if you buy a carton/bottle of cashew milk, this is how much you are paying for the few cashews used to make the boxed milk - which is just water with useless (tongue tricking) fillers/thickeners and possibly a bunch of health issues related to consuming plastic packaged food/drinks.
Cost calculation for cashews in a carton of cashew milk:
In a commercial store bought cashew milk there are 25 calories per cup, this is based on the ingredient list. Most of the calories come from the cashews. I will be generous and calculate that all of the 25 calories are from the cashews. 25 calories from cashews is only about 0.16 oz of cashews, which is about 2 cashew nuts! Therefore, in one 8oz cup, there is ONLY 2 CASHEWS!
Based on boxed cashew milk 32 oz (4 cups) - cost ~$3, you pay $75/lb of cashews
Based on boxed cashew milk 64 oz (8 cups) - cost $3.28. you pay $41/lb of cashews
EASY - It takes only 1-2 minutes and does not require any straining or special equipment, just a low cost $60 glass blender* will make very smooth cashew milk, so hopefully that will give you no more excuses for buying bottled/boxed cashew milk! If you can add two ingredients into one container and press the buttons on a blender, then you can make a cashew milk!
EQUIPMENT - Blender* - You do not need a special high-powered, high-speed blender (such as Vitamix or Blendtec) for making any plant-based milks.
NOTE: According to independent studies, "BPA-free" plastic claims have been shown to be untrustworthy! I recommend the $60 Oster Pro 1200* (glass jar blender without plastic on the bottom) to avoid the many toxic chemicals from plastic leaching into your food and avoid supporting the plastic manufacturing industry. Click here to watch our videos about "BPA Free" claims & Blenders.
USES - Homemade cashew milk can be used as any other milk - in
For 1 Batch(es)
SUGGESTIONS FOR RECIPE INGREDIENTS:
In general, I recommend using dates as sweeteners, but in non-straining plant-based milks, that you want to have a smooth/silky texture, it is better to use a sweetener that will more easily dissolve (ex. maple syrup, stevia..). If the dates are not soft enough, or not first soaked for two days (in the refrigerator) then the milk will end up having clumps.
DATES - Why choose dates over other sweeteners - Dates and/or date sugar are the most nutritious sweetener. Here is a video by Michael Greger, MD explaining sweateners: The Healthiest Sweetener. I usually buy whole dates from a local farm, but if local dates are not an option for you, here is a great website for different varieties at a good price value for boxed organic dates, and they are shipped in cardboard boxes (Yay, no plastic boxes/shells!). Date palms grow very well in a desert environment, so no need to cut down tropical rainforest forest or burn fields as a common practice for cane sugar (very violent practice, wildlife gets trapped and burned alive). I live in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, and we even have date palm trees growing in parking lots, but unfortunately just for decoration. I was inspired to plant date palms in my own yard.
VANILLA - Why vanilla bean is different from vanilla extract - I used to use organic vanilla extract (alcohol based), but according to this Michael Greger, MD video: Breast Cancer and Alcohol: How Much is Safe? there is no safe alcohol level. So, I switched to using vanilla powder or whole vanilla beans. Since I could only find vanilla beans or vanilla powder in plastic packaging, I buy at least a pound at a time. This way it will last me for several years and less plastic packaging is used.