If you want to get the most out of the nuts you buy for your food
Milk them first
I just made an awesome new discovery in the quest for independence, in things I can do for myself, easily if not inexpensively. But to the cost effective idea, if you are going to make any food recipe that calls for ground nuts, such as hazelnut cake, almond cake, almond resent cookies or mushroom nut loaf, you may want to get the most out of your nuts by milking them first, then grinding and using in your favorite recipe.
Soaked and ground nuts also make a great, high protein, high fiber meat substitute that gives one most of the satisfaction of having eaten heartily of flesh. It is not a quirk of language that the inner flesh of nuts is called “meat” and “flesh”
All you do is this: Soak 1 cup of nuts, or whatever amount your other recipe calls for overnight in water. Rinse twice. Peel the nuts if you so desire. (the peel on almonds and hazelnuts can sometimes add a hint of a bitter flavour)
Then you whip up the nuts in a blender with 1 liter or 4 cups of water until the liquid looks milky. At this point you may want to add any flavours you want, like a bit of maple syrup, honey or vanilla. Or coco if you want chocolate nut milk. A nutritious flavor I recommend is amazake, a sweet and creamy thick substance made from fermented brown rice which is its own delicious drink, that contains no sugar and tastes like a milkshake. (recipe for that to come).
Strain the nuts out with a cheesecloth lined sieve over a bowl. Mash the nut meal against the screen of the sieve to get all the precious milk out of it and to dry the nut meal as much as possible, since most recopies assume the ground nuts being added will be dry.
You may want to carefully toast the nut crumbs in an oven on lowest heat or in a dry cast iron pan stirring constantly to have dry nut meal, and a toasted flavour. This needs to be done cautiously because it is even easier to burn in this state. Or just use as is. I have with great success.
This easy and straightforward recipe is something I wish I’d known about years ago. Think of all the money I wasted buying nut milk and grinding nuts for baking separate. All the helicopter cargo space wasted on tetra packs of almond milk, all the landfill contributions of blue tetra packs that our local store will not accept as returns for recycling. If only I had known how easy it was to make almond milk. A wise storekeeper from my favorite food store, Yellow Dog on Quadra Island, once tried to tell me, but the knowledge did not sink in…
Almonds and a lot of other tree nuts are becoming more and more expensive as the supply dwindles and the demand stays the same due to severe multi year droughts in places where they are grown. So if you are buying almonds for cooking, get the most out of them by milking them too.