Vanilla Soymilk

Man oh man… it’s times like this I am glad I have a food blog.

I am so excited about this latest kitchen experiment. First of all…I have wanted to make my own milk for a long time. There’s just something about this ultimate act of homesteading that calls to me, but with my blender / food processor out of commission I have only been able to dream about it from afar. Luckily, I spent the weekend at my parent’s house where I have access to the full range of kitchen equipment.

I also wanted to embark on this experiment with soy beans instead of almonds for the sake of professional research. As the director of Wellness + Food Education for Butter Beans Kitchen, a company that provides healthy [nut-free] school lunches for kids, I spent my days managing the after-school cooking + wellness classes, creating curriculum, and teaching parent + child cooking classes. But my biggest responsibility is planning our Food + Garden Summer Camp. As the camp director, I spend my days coming up with recipes, nature crafts, kitchen experiments, and fun nutrition games for 6 – 12 year olds. I pull form memories of my childhood, scour food + wellness blogs, and shameless read magazines such as Family Circle and Woman’s Day.

Making stamps from food? Check. Planting our own seeds in recycled containers? You bet! Check and release fishing in Central park? We’ll be there. Making our own pickles, jams, and ice cream? Yes, please.

But turning this:

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Into this:

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By basically adding water and blending.

If I think it’s this cool… I can only hope that a group of 6 – 12 year olds will think the same thing.

For a $1.40, go out and buy a pound of soybeans. It’s the perfect way to spend a lazy afternoon in the kitchen, and although it’s certainly more labor intensive than going to the bodega, it left me with a sense of accomplishment on par with running a half marathon.

Almonds watch out… I’m coming for you.

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Vanilla Soymilk

Makes about a quart

1.5 c. dry soybeans

½ t. vanilla extract

1/8 t. salt

3 T. Stevia

Soak the soybeans overnight [I’d say at least 8 – 10 hours].

When you’re ready to make the milk, remove the skins by rubbing the beans together between your palms. The skins should come off pretty easily, and will float to the top of the water. Rinse the remaining beans and pick out any bad ones.

Get out your blender. For every cup of soaked soybeans, add about 3 cups of water. [I ended up with about 3.5 cups of soybeans after soaking], and blend for 2 minutes or so until it’s very liquidy and smooth.

Using a strainer lined with cheesecloth, strain out the milk…. Nothing worse than chunky milk! [If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, I’ve heard that the pulp [known as okara] what you would use to make tofu or even bake with!]

Put the strained liquid into a pot on the stove. Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat, add your flavoring [I went for vanilla and stevia] and let it simmer for 10-20 minutes. Scoop off the film that forms on the top, and remove from the heat. You can always add more seasoning or water to get it to your preferred taste and constancy.

Allow the mixture to cool completely before you store it. [It should last about a week].

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