If you have nut allergies and cannot drink nut milks that are loved by vegans and dairy-free folks, then you could try drinking seed milk instead. The only problem is that this type of vegan ‘milk’ is not commonly found in the shops and online so your best bet is to make it at home.
Luckily, it’s really easy and quite cheap to make seed milk at home. All you need is some raw seeds such as pumpkin, sesame or sunflower seeds and filtered water. Of course, you will also need a good blender that will help you make the liquid smoother.
In this article, you will learn all the steps and options for making seed milk at home. What’s more, here we also share some seed milk recipes with you so that you can experiment with different variations. And you don’t have to stick with just plain seed milk, you can add lots of things to it to make it more interesting, just see what you can do below.
What is seed milk?
Seed ‘milk’ is simply a drink made with seeds and water. It can be unflavored and unsweetened or flavoured and sweetened to make it taste better.
There are two ways to enjoy seed milk: unstrained, with the fibre from the whole seeds, which is best suited to eating with porridge or granola or making smoothies, and strained which has a silky-smooth texture that is optimal for drinking.
The first step at making seed milk at home – Soaking seeds
This is a very important step when making seed milk at home. You need to soak the seeds first before doing anything else. Ideally, this will be done overnight so it shouldn’t be too much trouble for you. If you can, use filtered water for this purpose.
The reason why seeds need to be soaked is because they contain phytic acid which is an enzyme inhibitor, protecting seeds from sprouting until they are exposed to water.
When seeds are soaked, the phytic acid is deactivated which makes nutrients from seeds more readily available. If they are not soaked, this acid can actually block the absorption of minerals by binding to them, especially when it comes to zinc, calcium and iron.
Soaking may break down all the phytic acid found in seeds and to further encourage this process you could add something acidic to the soaking water such as raw vinegar or lemon juice. Salt is also used in this process.
After soaking, make sure you rinse the seeds well.
The exact soaking times vary depending on the type of seed you are using but ideally, you should soak seeds for at least 10 hours – if you do it in the evening and overnight that should be enough.
Soaked seeds can be drained, rinsed and frozen for up to 3 months.
The second step: Blending
Use an upright blender to blend soaked seeds and water on a high speed until completely smooth. For one cup of whole raw seeds use 4 cups (960ml) of filtered water.
The recommended seeds to water ratio is 1:4 but you can experiment and add more seeds for richer milk.
The third step: Straining
If you want to enjoy seed milk as a drink, then you should strain the milk after blending. The best is to use a nut-milk bag or several layers of cheesecloth. Alternatively, use a thin kitchen towel.
Pour the blended milk into the lined strainer, gather the edges of the bag or cloth together, and gently squeeze the milk into the bowl. Continue squeezing until you are left with dry pulp.
The fourth step (optional): Flavouring
If you don’t like the taste of plain seed milk you can easily flavour it with natural sweeteners, spices and other things.
To vary the flavours and consistency you can try adding the following ingredients to seed milk:
- Pumpkin milk: Matcha, cardamon, vanilla, rosemary tea in place of water
- Sesame seed milk: Dates, ginger, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, rose water, dried berries (raspberry or strawberry)
- Sunflower seed milk: Vanilla, coconut butter, rose water
You could also try cacao powder, turmeric and nutmeg.
How to make pumpkin seed milk
- Take 5 ounces (140g) of pumpkin seeds and soak them in 2 cups (480 ml) of filtered water. Add some lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to further reduce the presence of phytic acid. The ideal soaking time is 10-12 hours.
- Rinse well and add to the blender together with 4 cups (960 ml) of filtered water.
- Blend on high speed until completely smooth.
- If desired, flavour the milk with one or more of the following ingredients: 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon.
To make the sesame or sunflower seed milk, the process is exactly the same, only that you will need 130 g sesame seeds and 130 g sunflower seeds.
To flavour sesame seed milk, try dates, ginger, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger or rose water.
For sunflower seed milk, vanilla, coconut butter (blended) and rose water work the best.
How do I store seed milk?
To prevent spoiling make sure you store seed milk in the fridge in tightly sealed glass jars or bottles.
How long does seed milk last in the fridge?
When stored correctly, seed milk will keep well in the fridge for about 5 days.
Can I freeze seed milk?
Yes, seed milk can be frozen for up to 3 months; depending on the fat content they contain and if you added some extra fat such as coconut oil. In that case, you may need to blend the seed milk again once defrosted.
When freezing, make sure you leave enough space above the milk to allow for any expansion.
Do I need a seed milk maker?
No, you don’t need to buy a special machine just for making seed milk at home. You just need a decent blender.
What can I use instead of a nut-milk bag?
Many seed milk recipes ask for a nut-milk bag but you can use other things instead as well such as a thin kitchen towel, muslin cloth or layers of cheesecloth.
Chaplin, A. 2019, Whole Food Cooking Every Day, Artisan, New York.