Non-dairy alternatives to cow's milk are all the rage. There are a variety of reasons for this — dairy allergies, intolerances, sensitivities and lactose intolerance, and more people identifying as vegan and environmentalist.
While non-dairy milks made from soy, almond, hemp and rice are increasingly common, a lesser-known variety can be made from Brazil nuts. While not typically found in stores, Brazil nut milk is easy to make at home and actually tastes creamier and richer than other dairy alternatives.
Plus, its health benefits are outstanding. Depending on the size, one Brazil nut contains about 68 to 91 micrograms of selenium. Selenium not only acts as a powerful antioxidant, it also promotes a strong immune system and may support healthy thyroid function. Selenium may also help prevent or slow the progression of cancer, but more research is needed.
We only need a small amount of selenium a day. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of selenium for adults is 55 micrograms with 400 micrograms being the Tolerable Upper Intake. According to the National Institutes of Health, high levels of selenium in the body over a long period of time could cause garlic odor to breath, metallic taste in the mouth, hair and nail loss, rashes, fatigue or diarrhea.
It is important not to eat Brazil nuts like they are peanuts. One to three Brazil nuts is plenty. Additionally, think of Brazil nut milk as diluted Brazil nuts with some of the selenium discarded with the pulp.
Vanilla-Flavored Brazil Nut Milk
- 2 cups Brazil nuts
- 1 vanilla bean pod
- 2 dates
- 4 cups filtered water
- 1 pinch of sea salt
- Soak Brazil nuts and vanilla bean pod in a bowl of water for 8 hours or overnight.
- Drain Brazil nuts and vanilla bean pod. Discard water and rinse well. Add Brazil nuts, vanilla bean pod, dates, 4 cups filtered water and sea salt to a blender. Blend on a high speed for about 1 minute.
- Place a nut milk bag in a pitcher or over a bowl. Pour contents of the blender into the nut milk bag. Squeeze nut milk bag to extract more milky liquid until pulp is dry. Discard the pulp.
- Store Brazil nut milk in the refrigerator in a covered glass container for up to 5 days. A serving of Brazil nut milk is about 5 to 8 ounces, depending on how much milk is extracted from the pulp.
- A nut milk bag is a fine mesh strainer which has been shaped into a bag-like form. It is used to remove the pulp or fiber from a blended mixture such as when nut milks are being made. Simply pour the contents of the blender into a nut milk bag, which is held over a bowl or pitcher. The fluid will flow out of the nut milk bag while the pulp remains caught in the mesh. This tool will help make nut milk smoother.
- Check the bulk foods section of health food stores for Brazil nuts.
- This recipe makes a very creamy product with the consistency of full-fat milk rather than fat-free milk. If you prefer a thinner consistency, add an extra cup of water.