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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Homemade Sunflower Milk Recipe

I think one of the things I most frequently post about on this blog is how to make non dairy milks. Ok, thats slight an exaggeration, but I've already posted instructions on making homemade chickpea milk, sesame milk, and coconut milk, and now I'm posting yet another type of non dairy milk- sunflower milk.

Why do I make non dairy milk? Why not just buy it in the store and be done with it? And why not just stick to one type?

Well, homemade non dairy milk is loads cheaper than store bought! Soy milk is the type of non dairy milk sold and used in most establishments, but since I try to avoid soy for health reasons, its hard for me to even buy non dairy milk even if I wanted to. And I'm dairy free, so I can't just buy regular milk. (Dairy causes stomach issues for me.)

There also are other reasons to serve non dairy milk. You might be vegan or be hosting vegan guests. You might have other reasons why you can't serve dairy at a specific meal. You might be unable to get raw or organic or hormone free milk in your location and are worried about the health ramifications from drinking the standard non organic hormone-full pasteurized milk. Or you might be unable to make it to the store regularly enough to have a constant supply of fresh milk and don't want to use the ultra pasteurized shelf stable milk or powdered milk, either because of health or taste reasons...

Whatever the case may be, its always good to know how to make your own non dairy milk. And for the record, sunflower milk is my go-to milk now because chickpea milk is too much work, and I get stomach issues from both sesame milk and coconut milk...


I had read on the internet about making homemade almond milk and about homemade hazelnut milk and so many other nut "mylk"s, and since sunflowers are the cheapest "nuts" I am able to get locally, and since I use sunflowers successfully in so many other recipes that call for other nuts, I decided to try to see if I could make milk out of sunflower seeds. I just followed instructions for making almond milk, replacing almonds with sunflowers, and voila- it worked! I was so proud of my brand new, original, ultra cook discovery.

And then discovered that I wasn't original, that there is already a concept of sunflower milk, and there even is a sunflower milk sold in the grocery store.

Oh well. Even if I wasn't original, I did think of the idea entirely on my own, so I still get some credit, right?

Sunflower milk tastes like a cross between soy milk and almond milk, with a slightly grassy taste similar to soy milk, but much richer. It tastes so yummy that I can just drink an entire pitcher of sunflower milk in one go. 
It tastes delicious in practically any recipe that calls for regular milk or soy milk. I use it in cereal, in quiche, in cream sauces, in coffee, in cakes, in gluten free french toast, etc...
Nutritionally I can't tell you exactly how it adds up, because once you strain out the pulp, I don't know what part of the nutrition remains in the pulp and what part goes into the milk, so I can't calculate it as easily as I could for my homemade sesame milk. However, I can tell you that it contains protein and fat and a bunch of nutrients. Looking at the nutritional information for this Sunsational Non Dairy Drink (the commercially made sunflower milk) might give you a pretty good idea about the nutritional facts for your homemade`sunflower milk, even if its not exact.

No, I haven't actually figured out an exact cost calculation of how much this costs in comparison to regular milk or other non dairy milks (because I haven't measured out precisely how many pounds of sunflower seeds I use in each recipe, etc...), but what I do know is I used approximately one pound of raw hulled sunflower seeds that I bought in bulk for $1.66 per pound to make approximately half a gallon- 67 oz (2 liters) of sunflower milk. That makes the milk cost 83 cents per liter, or $3.32 per gallon. In comparison, store bought Rice Dream costs $4.63 per liter... which makes this homemade sunflower milk 82% cheaper than purchased non dairy milk.
How does it compare to the price of regular milk? Locally, milk not on sale costs $1.22 per liter... Homemade sunflower mil is 32% cheaper.

I do have to say that nutritionally, sunflower milk isn't a whole protein (combined with legumes it is a whole protein) and isn't a good source of calcium like regular milk. But other than that, I see no reason why everyone shouldn't switch to using sunflower milk, whether you currently are using regular milk or non dairy milk... That is, unless the prices for sunflower seeds, regular milk, and non dairy milks where you live are vastly different than my local prices...

So, how do you make sunflower milk? Easy!

Ingredients:
Sunflower seeds
Water
Sweetener
Salt

Instructions:
1. Place sunflower seeds in a large container filling it about half way up, and then cover it with water so that the water covers the seeds by at least 2 inches (they'll absorb the water and expand).

2. Let the seeds soak 8-12 hours. 

3. Pour off the water. This water will end up being brown and bitter and icky tasting.

4. Put the sunflower seeds in a food processor with a drop of water and process until you get a hummus like paste. If it isn't grinding well, if the seeds are staying at the top of the food processor and not going down to the blade, add a little more liquid until it starts grinding well, but don't add too much water at a time because if too much liquid is added at once, it won't either grind well.
Once you have a hummus like paste, add a little more water to thin it out.

5. Line a container with a cheesecloth, and pour the watered down paste into the cheesecloth. Gather the ends of the cheesecloth together, and twist the cheesecloth to squeeze out the liquid from the sunflower paste. Twist the cheesecloth until you can't squeeze out any more liquid.

6. Take the solids from inside the cheesecloth, and dump them out into the food processor. Blend it up with more water, and then repeat step 5.

7. Water down the liquid, and add sweetener and salt to taste. In approximately half a gallon of sunflower milk, I added a tablespoon of honey and 2 teaspoons of salt.

Use as you would any other milk.

P.S. This milk is not homogenized or processed like store bought milks, so this milk separates when it sits for a bit. Before use, make sure to mix well. I haven't tried freezing it, but I have a feeling it won't work well after being frozen, but no guarantees...
P.P.S. I'm still trying to figure out what to do with the sunflower pulp... If you have any suggestions, they'd be appreciated. (I tried making crepes with them, but they just turned a sickly green and tasted icky.)

Do you ever use non dairy milks? What is your non dairy milk of choice? How much does it cost locally?
Did you ever hear of sunflower milk before or see it sold in the store?
How much does cow's milk cost where you live? How much are hulled sunflower seeds? Do you think with the prices in your area that homemade sunflower milk would be cheaper than cow's milk?


5 comments:

  1. Hey Penny, I just made a batch of sunflower milk yesterday using your recipe. It turned out great and was super easy to make. It cost me $2 for 1/2 a gallon (approximately 2 liters). I can purchase soy milk from the dollar store for $1 a quart, so it doesn't save me a ton of money, but I do like that I know EXACTLY what's in my milk and that I don't have to make a trip to the dollar store to buy it. I'm going to look for another source of sunflower seeds to see if I can bring the price down and make it cheaper.

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  2. How many sunflower seeds and how much water did you use for this recipe? Thanks.

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    Replies
    1. I didnt measure, since you do the same process no matter how much you make. And then you water it down to taste.

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  3. Does your sunflower milk turn browny grey? Mine has, but maybe that is because I haven't presoaked and rinsed the sunflower seeds first.

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