Oh “happy day”! I get to celebrate all things cashew. Those of you who know me, are well acquainted with my cashew addiction. Don’t be alarmed. I assure you, it is perfectly safe, and downright delicious. I will warn you though, it is highly contagious. But be comforted in the knowledge that you can enable this addiction, without too much collateral damage.
Raw foodies, vegans, and vegetarians know all too well, the joys of the miraculous cashew. And yes, the joy extends far beyond throwing them in a salad or stir-fry. Which, hey, isn’t bad either! But there are a ton of other things you can exploit, the “all too compliant” cashew for. Cashews have long been one of the most reliable, and satisfying “cream and cheese alternative” for those of us living in the dairy free world. But we are just getting started.
Today we are going to celebrate home made raw cashew milk, which I hope you will agree, is a gift from the Gods! Raw cashew milk is smooth, rich, creamy and buttery; and most closely resembles the look and texture of regular dairy milks, for those of you having cream dreams. It has a nutty flavour, that makes it ideal for use in smoothies and soups and so many other things.
The best thing about making raw cashew milk, like macadamia milk, is that it is much quicker and easier to prepare than almond milk, or some of the other raw milks as that is blends very easily into a buttery, smooth texture. With this cashew milk you just soak, throw in your Vitamix, pour, and scoff. I use a general ratio of 1:3. One parts cashew to 3 parts filtered water. However, this is a matter of personal preference.
I find that a 3:1 ratio yields a raw cashew milk that is rich and creamy, and the right thickness for use in soups and smoothies. But some of you might find it incredibly rich to start off with, and might want to add in an extra cup of water. Try 3 cups and have a taste. Just like all of the other nut milks, if you're using this milk for smoothies and soups, there is no need to add in any sweeteners or flavour enhancers. But if you are using it for cereals, you might want to jazz it up a bit. I will post some suggestions and tips in the recipe below.
Now just a side note about this recipe: I have touted this milk as "raw". Some things that we embrace as “raw”, are not strictly raw. A lot of nuts that are labelled “raw”, are actually not. They are just “not roasted”. Most commercially produced nuts have been steamed out of their shells. However, there are some companies that adhere to very high standards of production. They harvest and shell their cashews without heating the raw cashew nut, and split open the cashew shell by hand, leaving the cashew nut raw. The bud is left in tact, and can sprout and grow. These "truly raw” cashews are sublime. They are quite a bit sweeter, leaving their substandard counterparts steaming!
However, they are extremely expensive, making them cost prohibitive for most of us on an average grocery budget. I don’t know about you, but I find even the most widely available “raw” cashews expensive. So for the purposes of those of us in the mainstream world, who are happy to slightly “lower our standards”, we will label every raw cashew as “raw”. But I just thought I would share some nutty knowledge.
But regardless of where you source your “unroasted raw cashews”, they are loaded with nutrients. Cashews are a good source of vitamins and minerals, such as magnesium, zinc, copper, iron, folate, vitamin E, B vitamins, and some calcium. The goodness in cashews can help maintain heart health; protect against high blood pressure; and can also help with fatigue, headaches, muscle soreness, and spasms. Cashews can also help to support healthy bones, teeth and muscles; and help the body utilize iron and eliminate free radicals.
It is important to mention that cashews do have a high fat content. However, because of the high levels of monounsaturated fatty acids, such as oleic acid, they can assist with heart health and lowering cholesterol. Cashews are actually considered one of the low fat nuts, with a lower fat content per serve than peanuts, almonds, walnuts and pecans. They also have a high energy density, and lots of dietary fibre.
Please note: I do not recommend consuming vast quantities of raw cashews on a regular basis. Yes, I do use raw cashews in some of my recipes. But, these recipes are treats. I do not consume these foods every day, or even every week. Cashews contain over 25 different strains of fungi, which means they are high in bacteria, yeast, fungus and mould, which produce mycotoxins in the body, which can lead to overacidifcation of the cells and tissues leading to diseases. This is especially important for those of you with candida issues and acute illness.
I prefer to consume raw almonds, macadamias, hemp seeds, chia seeds etc on a regular basis. They nuts and seeds are more alkaline, and a healthier alternative. However, I do love to indulge in some raw cashews and raw cashew milk for a treat!
Just a tip on selecting and storing cashews: like all nuts, the fat content makes them very susceptible to rancidity. To ensure freshness, always purchase cashews from a store with a high turn over, and always store them in an airtight glass container in the fridge. They should keep for about 4 months like this.
To make this cashew milk, a high-speed blender like a Vitamix will yield the best results. Regular blenders just don’t have the grunt needed to really pulverize the nuts. Having said that, if you are using a regular blender, you will still get results, you will just have a more grainy texture.
I know we addicts can be persuasive, but please don’t miss out! I use raw cashews to replicate the nutty, buttery pastry flavour of pie crust in my apple pie smoothie, pecan pie smoothie, sweet potato pie smoothie, banana coconut cream pie smoothie, lemon cheesecake smoothie, and sweet "pistachio ice cream" sweet kale shake. Whilst I don't recommend drinking these smoothies every day, they sure are AMAZING treats!
This raw cashew milk keeps in the fridge for about 2 days, possibly 3 days if kept very cold, and is absolutely DEELICIOUS!