Nut milks have become a pretty big “thing” for the past few years. But pecan milk (especially the homemade kind) – that’s another story!
I personally began “dabbling” in different types of milk substitutes (including pecan milk) back in 2008-2009 out of desperation, when my stomach and immune system had first started giving me trouble.
Milk substitutes were not yet well known in 2009, and so my family and friends would often make jokes about me drinking these bizarre beverages!
I’m thrilled to say that since I repopulated my microbiome (gut flora) with more healthy bacteria while killing off the “bad” stuff that had started to take over (easier said than done…), dairy is now a non-issue for me- and I absolutely love it! I now get to enjoy dairy pretty often.
But in that time period while I was dabbling in other options, I also grew to love homemade nut milks.
Pecan milk and other nut milk benefits
Nuts have a great rep in the health food industry: they’ve got vitamins, minerals and fiber, they’re moderate in protein and they’ve got unsaturated fats.
Nut milks are also lactose-free, vegan and dairy-free, so naturally, vegans and many people with digestive issues (another exponentially increasing epidemic) are drawn to this market.
Commercialized nut milks: what’s the catch?
Most commercially made nut milks are ~97% water, 1 to 2% fillers/gums etc., and 1 to 2% nuts. (If you get the sweetened version, it’s all of the above ingredients plus added sugars.)
The vitamins and minerals sometimes added in are synthetic so we don’t absorb them well (going by my past nutrition professor at Boston University, who referred to synthetic vitamins as “expensive urine”— that one was hard to forget!).
There is only 1 gram of protein in commercial nut milks, compared to homemade nut milk with 4 to 5 grams of protein per glass, or dairy milk which has 8 grams of complete protein in one serving.
Do nut milks make a good calcium replacement?
I don’t recommend using any type of nut milk as a calcium replacement. There are dozens of foods and herbs abundant in bioavailable calcium.
- I discuss natural food sources of calcium in-depth 1:1 with clients, and I also go over this in my Kitchen Alchemy Food Fundamentals e-course!
I’m also not one to endorse fillers and additives like carrageenan and gums as a daily staple for people who are trying to reverse digestive issues if it’s something to be used regularly in large quantities (1, 2).
My favorite types of nut milk
I do really love cashew and pecan milk, especially if I’ll be consuming it pretty frequently. To boot, the homemade versions is 1000x more tasty, nutritious and energizing than their boxed, shelf-stable counterparts I mentioned above!
When I was living in Boston, I would often drink Nutty Life and Nourish Your Soul brand cashew milks, as well as Forager cashew milk which is available in stores along the east coast.
Now that I’m in Texas, I discovered this amazing maple pecan milk made by a company called “Malk” (also available along the west coast)!
Homemade nut milks
High quality nut milks are awesome and decadent, but they can get expensive to have all the time. That said, I prefer to alternate between purchasing those and making my own!
How I love to drink pecan milk
On average, we make this about 1x/week in my household as long as life is not too crazy busy for us.
There are endless ways I use this pecan milk in my day-today routine… but here are a few!
Maple Pecan Pumpkin Spice Mocha Latte
I love using this milk for cold-brew latte’s like the recent Maple Pecan Pumpkin Spice Mocha Latte that I posted about recently on Instagram.
Pecan milk goes great with breakfast & desserts
We also use this maple pecan milk for our overnight oats, smoothies, cereals or just enjoying in a glass on the side with some yummy cookies! I also use this maple pecan milk when making chocolate vegan mousse…
Making pecan milk is not so difficult…
It may seem like a lot of work to make pecan milk, but honestly, most if it is passive. In this recipe, we don’t even need a nut milk bag! Using one of those could make things more messy and time consuming.
When you break it down, it’s really just a matter of planning ahead by soaking the pecans and setting aside time to blend everything in 5 minutes the next morning.
Soaking nuts to remove phytic acid
In this recipe, I use a specific soaking technique to remove a substance called phytic acid. (Phytic acid is an “anti-nutrient” which is known to cause digestive upset in some people.) Phytic acid can also bind onto certain minerals in the gut, preventing them from getting absorbed into the blood (3).
Soaking nuts is a time-tested method which is also common for seeds, grains and legumes.
I like this method because it comes out smooth and we get lots more bio-available (well absorbed by the body) minerals and protein compared to commercial nut milks!
Best equipment for optimal results
This recipe works with a blender, but I personally use a Vitamix which reduces the amount of “pulp” or leftover stuff that you get from not blending it enough.
You can also use a Nutri-bullet, Magic Bullet or other similar kind of blender.
I don’t recommend using a food processor for this recipe, or you’ll end up with pecan milk all over your kitchen counter and floor! (I may have learned this the hard way… hehe)
Easy Maple Pecan Milk
- Measuring utensils (optional)
- Mason jar
- Vitamix/ Blender / Nutri-bullet / Magic Bullet
- 1 cup raw pecans For nut allergies use hemp seeds and cut the salt in half, although I have not tried this out personally.
- 6-8 cups spring water/filtered water
- 1/3 cup real maple syrup Or soaked dates or liquid sweetener of your choice. I have a sweet tooth so I use 1/2 cup and it tastes like a vanilla milkshake. 😀
- 1 tsp vanilla extract Optional
- 1 tsp salt Optional
Part 1: Soaking pecans
- Combine pecans, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 cup water in a mason jar. Shake it well, cover it tightly and store in a cool dark place like a cabinet for 7-12 hours / overnight. This helps to extract the phytic acid from the pecans into the water, and it also prepares them so they will easily turn into a “milk” consistency.
Part 2: Blending
- Strain the salt water from the pecans.
- Transfer the strained pecans to Vitamix/blender, and add remaining water (you may need to divide everything into two equal portions depending on the size of the blender).
- Add vanilla and a tiny pinch of salt to bring out the flavors. Blend on low, then gradually increase to medium and then high speed for 3-5 minutes. It should be well blended enough that when you run it through a fine sieve, there is no pulp and no need to use a nut milk bag!
- Transfer to a container, seal with a lid and store in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
- Review of harmful gastrointestinal effects of carrageenan in animal experiments. Environ Health Perspect. 2001;109(10):983-94.
- Fahoum, A. Moscovici, S. David, R. Shaoul, G. Rozen, E. G. Meyron‐Holtz, U. Lesmes, Mol. Nutr. Food Res. 2017, 1600545.
- Gupta RK, Gangoliya SS, Singh NK. Reduction of phytic acid and enhancement of bioavailable micronutrients in food grains. J Food Sci Technol. 2013;52(2):676-84.