Monday, August 4, 2014

Homemade Oat Milk

       Hey there everyone! So today I want to share something that I have been really getting into recently, non-dairy milk alternatives! While I am a locto-ovo vegetarian and I do eat dairy, I have been making much more of a concerted effort to cut down on unnecessary dairy such as milk. Don't get me wrong, I do love my cheese, eggs, and milk, but if you are going to eat them it is so super important to get them from ethical, local sources. Lately this has been weighing on my mind more, so I've been either picking up milk at the farmer's market from local dairy farmers, or buying milk alternatives when I can't make it down to the farmer's market.
      I've experimented with store bought non-dairy milks, (and sadly I can't drink almond milk due to my boyfriend's allergies) and have come across a few that I really appreciate. My top 3 have become coconut milk, hemp milk, and oat milk. I'm more than happy drinking a ton of this stuff whenever I want it, but there is just one major issue when push comes to shove: the cost. For example, at my local grocer a small 32 oz container of hemp milk is a whopping $3.99! That is nuts (no pun intended)! So today when I ran out of my beloved hemp milk and my grocery budget was running low, I decided to give homemade oat milk a try, as I had a big canister of oats on my kitchen shelf. The results were wonderful and it probably cost my no more than 50 cents to make 32 ounces, ridiculous in comparison to that $3.99 I was paying for the same amount of store-bought. Oat milk tastes kind of like...well liquid oats I suppose. If you can imagine a liquid incarnation of oatmeal, it would be oat milk. Definitely give this one a try if you're into DIY dairy alternatives :)

   So lets just take a moment to talk about oats before I go on to the recipe. Oats are probably one of the most lovely, sweet, nourishing plant based foods that exists! Everybody takes oats simply for a plane-Jane breakfast food, but they are really so much more and deserve a lot of appreciation. In the herbal world, we don't actually use oats as you see them in the grocery store, but we use other parts of the plants, the "oat tops" or the "oat straw" which are the oat tops and other aerial parts of the plant. Within the oat tops there is this lovely milky substance that nourishes and heals the body, particularly the nervous system. That is why we call oats a "nervine tonic", because they help restore its proper function and balance. Additionally, oats are a wonderful remedy for adrenal fatigue. If you drink a strong oat tea every day for about a month, it should help restore the function of your adrenals and allow you to feel like you again! Pretty powerful stuff... They are also really high in a lot of vitamins and nutrients such as manganese. All of the power of oat tops can also be found in the oats themselves as well, and also in this oat milk. So finally, here is the recipe:

Homemade Oat Milk:
1 1/4 cups oats (whole oats, not quick cooking)
4 cups water
3 tb maple syrup
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/4 salt

1. Soak the oats in water for 20 minutes. Rinse them under cold water afterwards and let them sit and drain.
2. place the oats in a blender and pour 4 cups of water over. Blend for about 20 seconds, until the liquid turns white like milk and becomes a little thicker.
3. Using a fine mesh sieve strain the oat milk into a jar. Make sure no clumps of oats get in! At the end you can use a spoon to really extract all the milk out of the wet oats at the bottom of the blender.
4. Add the salt, vanilla, and maple syrup to your strained oat milk and stir it in well. Refrigerate your milk, and enjoy it in cereal, coffee, tea, etc!

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