I have been trying out different dairy alternatives for the last little while. Many websites on the Internet state that nut milk can be made using any type of nut. Most of the recipes follow the same principles for making almond milk.
I regularly make almond milk, so this process was not very difficult. (For directions to make your own almond milk click here.)
I thought I would try testing out a couple of different nuts: walnuts and chestnuts.
Walnuts have amazing nutritional value. They are rich in oils and contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial to health.
Begin with soaking approximately 1 cup of walnuts (shells removed) in water for a period of 8-24 hours.
Soaking the nuts will help to remove some of their bitter flavours. Rinse the walnuts a few times under cold water. Place them in a blender with a few dates (for sweetness) and approximately 4 cups of cold water. Feel free to add a little vanilla extract or honey for some additional sweetness. Strain the liquid and you will be left with approximately 1 L of walnut milk.
This frothy milk had a beautiful colour and a very mild taste. It was extremely refreshing and provided a nice change from everyday beverages.
Feel free to keep the walnut mulch for use in muffins, cakes, cereals, etc.
For the next experiment, I used shelled chestnuts. The chestnuts were fairly moist, so they did not require any additional soaking. I blended them with approximately 4 cups of cold water and two pitted dates.
The result was a very brown substance which separated into liquid and sediment quite easily. The process also did not yield much chestnut mulch for keeping. Surprisingly, the liquid tasted very good. (It is quite difficult to make chestnuts taste bad!)
As I wouldn't use it as a dairy alternative, I can see it being applied to baking recipes to add a little "je ne sais quoi".