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Let’s Celebrate #Nationalnutday!

October 22, 2016

Today our friend Christine Dionese, integrative health and food therapy specialist, is here to share her spicy and sweet pumpkin seed milk recipes with us to celebrate #nationalnutday!

Written By: Christine Dionese
Photo by: Hannah Betts Photography

Nut milk is super easy and a great way to get B vitamins and essential fats. Not to mention, who doesn’t want to celebrate National Nut Day?

This recipe calls for pumpkin seeds- in lieu of sugary seasonal beverages, it’s awesome for pumpkin milk steamers, turmeric lattes, as an addition to tea and coffee drinks or just on its own! Both the sweet and spicy versions are great for vegan and vegetarian bread recipes, smoothies and “milkshakes” for kids.

Before you get started, let’s talk about soaking nuts and seeds so you get the most from them nutritionally. Nuts and seeds store phosphorus as phytic acid. When it binds to a mineral it becomes phytate. This makes it difficult for us to “unlock” the vital nutrients they contain. Another bonus- they taste like roasted seeds and nuts without the use of oils that shouldn’t be subjected to high heat that potentially reduce nut and seed nutrition. While it adds an additional step to milk-making, soaking is worth the time to gain maximum nutritive value. I’ve included the easy soaking steps below.

Soaking benefits at a glance:

  • Improves nutrient absorption by enhancing bioavailability
  • Aids in overall digestion
  • Increases enzymatic activity

Helpful notes before beginning

I like to make a double batch of homemade nut and seed milks at home, but I prepare no more than two batches at a time to ensure the best mixing and texture. I use a Vitamix to make this recipe, but any high speed blender works. You can replace the pumpkin seeds with any nut. My favorites are pistachio, almond, macadamia, cashew and brazil milks.

If you’re anything like me, you avoid kitchen waste whenever possible. Try using your remaining nut or seed “meat” left in the nut milk bag to bake into breads, use in pancakes or add to smoothies for texture.

Let us know how your milk turns out and your favorite use for it!

PUMPKIN SEED MILK TWO WAYS

4-6 servings

Ingredients

1 cup raw pumpkin seeds pre-soaked/dried
4 cups purified water
1 ½ T maple syrup optional (not “pancake syrup”, but maple syrup)
1 ½ vanilla bean pods, beans removed (if you want to mimic sweet without sugar, go for 2 vanilla beans)
¼ tsp ground cardamom
1-2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp sea salt

If you’d like to make this milk spicy:

½ tsp cayenne
¼ tsp paprika
Pinch of sage

Misc Supplies

1 nut milk bag
bottle or container for milk
High speed blender
Small funnel
Medium-large bowl
Silicone spatula

Milk Method

Seed Soaking

  1. Measure raw, unsalted, organic nuts/seeds into a medium sized bowl
  2. Cover with purified water so that nuts are submerged
  3. Add 1-2 tablespoons sea salt
  4. Allow to stand covered on counter for at least 7 hours or overnight
  5. Rinse nuts to remove salt residue and spread out in a single layer on a rack to dehydrate
  6. Dry at no higher than 150°F in dehydrator or oven for 12-24 hours or until nuts are slightly crispy

Milk Making

  1. Rinse and drain pumpkin seeds well.
  2. Blend pumpkin seeds and water in a high speed blender until smooth & creamy.
  3. FOR SWEET MILK: Add vanilla beans, cardamom, cinnamon, salt and maple syrup. Continue blending to combine well. Protip: you can add the vanilla bean pod into your milk once finished to infuse a caramel-like flavor.
  4. FOR SPICY MILK: to the above, continue by adding cayenne, paprika and sage.
  5. Pour contents from blender through your nut milk bag into a bowl with a spout. This part may take a little while! Just when you think it’s all drained through, wash your hands and press nut/seed meat to squeeze out remaining liquid.
  6. Pour contents of bowl into container or bottle {use a small funnel for ease if pouring into a bottle}
  7. You may store in refrigerator for several days. Separation of contents is natural, so give your milk a good shake before serving.
  8. Color will vary from light white to grey to a caramel-brown depending on whether you go for sweet or spicy.

Enjoy!

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