If you want to start making your own raw almond milk (which I highly recommend), you’re going to need a nut milk bag.
And I’ve discovered a quick and inexpensive way to make your own nut milk bag, that doesn’t even require any sewing.
Sometimes these things seem so ridiculously simple and insignificant, that it’s hard to imagine that they could be worth sharing.
But then I realised just how many times a week we use our nut milk bag, and how fantastic a solution it really is, so how I could I not share it with you?
What is a nut milk bag?
A nut milk bag is basically a specially shaped fabric bag, that you strain your blended raw almond milk through, to remove any pulp or fibre that remains.
You don’t have to strain your nut milk, and some people do like to just blend and use their raw milk unstrained, but straining does have some useful benefits:
- It makes make your milk a lot smoother and creamier, taking away the slightly grainy texture
- It helps your nut milk to resemble dairy milks more closely, which can make it easier to accept for some people
- It gives you leftover almond pulp meal, than you can use to make all kind of delicious things, including raw chocolate fudge brownies and raw hummus
You can buy nut milk bags online, where they can cost anything from $5 to $35, and they come in various shapes, sizes and materials.
Most raw vegan chefs recommend that you include a nut milk bag in your collection of raw food kitchen gadgets, so I got myself one when I first bought my Vitamix.
But when I started using mine to make raw almond milk, I got quite frustrated with it for a couple of reasons:
- It was the wrong shape and size for the jug I wanted to use it with
- The seam of the nut milk bag sat right along the point where the milk was dripping out, so it actually prevented the milk from coming out neatly
- I found it hard to clean all of the pulp out of the seams of the bag, and I’m not a big fan of fiddly cleaning jobs
So I figured there had to be a better solution, and I found one that’s so fast, cheap and effective that it seems silly – use a square of curtain fabric.
See! A whole post for six simple words? Crazy!
But it works really, really, really well for us, and I reckon you might like it too.
How to make a no-sew nut milk bag
I’ll repeat the instructions for you below so you can print them out, but basically it boils down to this.
1. Buy yourself some super-plain swiss voile fabric in white or cream
Swiss voile fabric is basically a very light fabric, similar to chiffon, usually made from cotton or polyester, and used mostly for curtains and dress-making.
I bought mine at Spotlight (in Australia), and you should be able to buy it from any larger fabric shop, especially one that includes furnishings.
You can get voile in all kinds of fancy patterns, but for the nut milk bag you want it completely and utterly plain.
I would recommend white or cream, although the nut milk will eventually turn it off-white anyway.
The swiss voile that I bought for this purpose was 100% polyester, which is really important, because it’s really strong even when it’s wet.
If you have concerns about straining your raw nut milk with polyester fabric, then this probably isn’t the solution for you.
2. Cut yourself a 50cm/20″ square out of the fabric
I just cut myself a 50cm (20 inch) square out of the (washed) fabric, and voila! Instant nut milk bag, for around $1.35, ready to use.
How to use your instant nut milk bag
You just line your container with the fabric and pour your blended nut milk into the “bag”.
Then you carefully pick up the corners and edges of the fabric and collect them into a bundle.
Starting twisting the top of the bag, to start forcing the milk out through the bottom.
Keep twisting, squeezing and tightening the bag to get every last drop of precious milk out of your pulp.
And then you’re all done!
Use the leftover pulp to make something delicious, and give your nut milk bag a thorough rinse with plain water and hang it up to dry, ready for next time.
How easy is that?
I think my super easy nut milk works so well because:
- It adapts to any size or shape container
- There’s no seams getting in the way of the milk coming out – the milk drips beautifully from the bottom of the bag, wherever that ends up being
- The fabric is still really strong when it’s wet, so you can squeeze really hard without breaking anything
- The fabric stretches a little over time, so you end up with a perfect indentation in the middle of the square for making milk
- There’s no seams to clean out afterwards
- The fabric is super easy to rinse clean, and although it gets a little stained, it doesn’t seem to hold any food particles (so it doesn’t get smelly)
- Being polyester, it dries really quickly, ready to use again
So simple, so elegant and so convenient.
So here’s my “recipe” so you can have a go at make your own homemade nut milk bag.
Make sure you read the tips that come after the recipe, because there’s some important stuff in there that will help you have the best experience with your super-duper nut milk bag.
- 50cm (20″) of plain swiss voile, cream or white
- Wash fabric thoroughly and dry.
- Cut a 50cm (20 inch) square out of the fabric.
- Use to line a container and strain raw nut milk through it.
- Rinse thoroughly with clean water and allow to dry between uses.
- Wash the fabric thoroughly before using it to remove any manufacturing residues.
- The edges will fray as you use it, so make sure to remove any loose threads that appear as soon as you seen them. The last thing you want is pieces of polyester thread in your raw nut milk. The edges will eventually fray just enough that no more threads come loose.
- If you want to, you could cut around the edges with pinking shears (sawtoothed scissors) to create an edge that will only fray a little bit, but I didn’t want to have lots of little loose threads ending up in my milk, so I skipped this step.
- You could throw your nut milk bag into the washing machine if you wanted to, but I wanted to minimise the amount of washing detergent I used on our bag, given that it will be coming into regular contact with our food. So we just rinse ours thoroughly with fresh clean water each time.
- The polyester fabric doesn’t seem to trap many food particles, and rinses clean quite easily. Ours never gets smelly.
- Don’t leave it to sit around dirty! It will become impossible to clean and you may have to throw it away. Wash it as soon as you’ve finished straining your milk. Trust me on this.
- Your nut milk bag will become stained over time, but it doesn’t make it any less useful, I would rather know that it was safe and clean to use with our food, than worrying about a bit of discolouration.
- Make sure it dries thoroughly between uses. We leave ours to drip dry and being polyester, it dries quite fast. We make milk every couple of days, and ours is always dry and ready to go.
- You can use your homemade nut milk bags for straining all kinds of things, although we’ve only ever used ours for almond milk. I also keep one just for making nut milk, and if I want to strain anything else (such as juice or sprouts), I’ll use a different bag.
I hope you have lots of fun making and using your super-easy nut milk bag.
And have an awesome day!