Vegan Horchata

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Believe it or not, there are some good things about being in quarantine. One of them is the ability to take stock of what you have.

I’ve spent the past couple weeks doing a thorough inventory of my apartment, keeping what works and tossing what doesn’t. Of course, this extends to my refrigerator. I’ve thrown out some bags of plant-based flour (hello, June 2019 expiration date), consolidated some fruit, and found way more cashews than I ever knew existed.

I decided to make some cashew milk with the latter. Plant-based milk sounds scary to make at home, but it really isn’t. It’s all about technique, which comes with practice and patience. To make my cashew milk, I put two cups of cashews in a big bowl and covered them with filtered water. Filtered water is key here, because regular tap water can add some funky flavors to your finished milk.

Then I put a lid on the cashews in water and let it sit in the fridge overnight. I took them out the next day, drained them, rinsed them until the water ran clean, and then put them in a high-power blender with two cups of filtered water. I blended it on high for a couple minutes, and then I added another two cups of filtered water, four teaspoons of vanilla extract, a pinch of sea salt, and three tablespoons of maple syrup. I blended it on high again for about a minute.

At this point, you’ll want to assess the situation. If the milk looks well blended and you don’t see any floating bits of nuts, you can pour it into a container and put it in the fridge.

If not, you’ll want to strain the mixture over a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth, and then pour the resulting liquid into a storage container. This is just an extra step to make sure you don’t have any tiny bits of cashew floating around.

The milk only keeps for about four days in the fridge, so you’ll want to find ways to use it right away. I immediately thought of making vegan horchata. I love horchata, especially in the summer months when it’s so hot in St. Louis you can barely catch your breath. Today isn’t like that at all, but it is sunny and relatively warm, so horchata is definitely in order.

To make horchata, put a few ice cubes at the bottom of a glass. Sprinkle on about a teaspoon of ground cinnamon. Fill up the glass with your homemade cashew milk, stir, and then sprinkle a little more cinnamon on top. It’s easy, fresh, and delicious. I might pour myself another glass right now.

In the meantime, I’ll leave you with this song. I hope no matter where you are, you’re finding ways to make quarantine a little more bearable.

About Emily Wasserman

Hi! My name is Emily and I'm a writer based in St. Louis. If I was stranded on an island and could request three items of food, they would be pain au chocolat, enchiladas, and Neapolitan pizza.
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