Maybe you’re getting into the vegan lifestyle and are eager to find a dairy-free milk. Maybe dairy products aren’t good for your health, and you’re eager to find a substitute.
Or maybe you’re simply eager to try one of those creamy nutty milks that are all over the Internet.
Whatever your answer for why you got into cashew milk, more questions remain.
What is cashew milk really like?
How do you prepare it?
Can you froth cashew milk, and if so, how?
Cashew Milk Versus Almond Milk
It should go without saying that cashew milk is taken from cashews. However, it is far from the only nut milk on the block, as almond milk is just as popular if not more so.
That being said, unless you’re a nut milk expert, you may not always be able to tell which one you’re getting. In fact, commercial nut milks often feature different nut extracts blended together.
Still, for the discerning dairy-free aficionado, there are a few ways you can tell cashew milk from the other nutty competitors out there.
For one thing, cashew milk tends to be sweeter than almond milk, which often has a more robust taste.
For another, unlike almond milk, you don’t have to strain cashew milk.
Almond milk tends to have a creamy texture and nuttier taste. It is also slightly higher in sodium than its cow-produced competitor, with a cup of unsweetened almond milk containing 160 mg compared to 125 mg in dairy milk.
It is often very thin, as is cashew milk, which is why both are typically given thickening agents in the production process. Cashew milk isn’t just sweet but is likewise often healthier than almond milk.
Both almond and cashew milk are sometimes given extra Vitamin D as well as other extra nutrients by corporate sellers, so you’ll want to check the label to see what exactly is in the carton of cashew milk you’re planning on buying.
There are many reasons why people are increasingly interested in nutty milks such as cashew milk, with a big one being its potential as a healthy alternative to dairy milk.
For example, a 2015 study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology compared saturated and unsaturated fats demonstrating the importance of replacing the former with the latter to lower the risk of heart disease. Cashew milk is both rich in nutrients as well as unsaturated fats, making it an ideal choice for those looking for a more heart-smart morning beverage.
Cashews also contain a lot of lutein and zeaxanthin, which are antioxidants that can help improve your eyes’ health.
While Vitamin K deficiencies are rare, they can be more common in people with inflammatory bowel disease, making cashew milk a potentially beneficial addition to their diets.
A 2010 study in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research found cashews to be rich in anacardic acid, which has shown promise regulating blood sugar.
Anacardic acid may also be able to help fight cancer by fighting free radicals. These are unstable molecules which, when triggered, can stimulate gaining in cells.
A 2010 study published in Molecular Cancer Therapeutics found that anacardic acid was able to stop the spread of breast cancer cells.
Cashews also have a ton of copper, and while that may sound unappealing, it is great news for your skin. Copper plays a big role in getting your skin the nutrients it needs. Vitamin C is also good for your skin, and when combined with cashew milk, can help your body absorb iron better.
These health benefits are just the tip of the iceberg, as research into cashew milk’s effects are ongoing and new benefits are being discovered all the time.
When it comes to healthy alternatives to dairy milk, it’s hard to beat cashew milk.
Making Cashew Milk
One easy way of avoiding those issues is by simply making cashew milk yourself.
To do so, you’ll want to:
- Soak the cashews. This can be done by placing them in water and allowing them to soak slowly for several hours (it should take about one full night) or by steeping them in hot water for half an hour before using them.
- Drain and rinse your cashews.
- Place them in a blender along with three to four cups of water and blend it all together.
- Again, straining cashew milk isn’t as necessary as when making almond milk. If you do choose to strain it out, use a cheesecloth, napkin, or similar option.
- Avoid using salted cashews. Find and use roasted cashews instead if possible.
- If you’re in the mood to add some extra flavor or ingredients, vanilla extract and cocoa powder are popular additives.
Cashew Milk and Coffee
When heated and frothed, cashew milk tends to produce large bubbles which, as some baristas have been quick to note, can prove problematic when trying to use them with tea or coffee.
Cashew milk can stretch fairy well when steamed. This, combined with the bigger bubbles, can lead to your milk having a soapy texture that is far less dense and, as a result, less satisfying than dairy milk.
Whether you are able to overcome that is a complex question.
On the one hand, there are definite drawbacks to frothing milk for coffee. As mentioned above, the milk can become quite thin and can be plagued by large bubbles, which in turn can spoil the texture of your coffee.
In addition, while cashew milk can be frothed, doing so causes it to separate quickly, which in turn can spoil the viscosity. Not only does that mean it isn’t ideal for latte art, but it simply gives your coffee an unappealing appearance.
What’s more, though cashew milk is sweeter than almond milk, it can have a strange aftertaste when frothed for coffee.
That said, there are those who still believe cashew milk can work when frothed and added to coffee. It requires a lot of extra work, but it is potentially possible to salvage your plans for frothed cashew milk.
One recipe for frothing and serving quality cashew milk involves:
- Soaking and draining the cashews.
- Placing everything in a high-speed blender for a couple minutes until the solution is nice and frothy.
- Heating 1.5 cups of the cashew milk in a saucepan on a high simmer.
- Removing the mixture from the saucepan before adding vanilla extract.
- Blending it again on high with any additives you choose to add.
As is often the case in life, there is a clear divide between what you can and should do.
Can you froth cashew milk?
Yes, it is technically possible to do so. Recipes such as the one above can help you find ways of tackling cashew milk’s natural weaknesses and add them to your coffee.
That being said, should you bother with all of that in the first place? That’s a question you’ll have to answer for yourself, but it’s fair to say that frothing cashew milk while trying to overcome its thinness, bubbles, aftertaste when frothed, and other issues may make more trouble than it’s worth.