Voilá, oat milk.
Oats have plenty of minerals and vitamins, but it’s not known at this time how much of that goodness remains in oat milk. Oat milk also has more carbs and less protein than dairy milk. Still, it’s nut- soy-, and dairy-free. It’s also gluten-free, if it’s a brand that’s certified gluten-free. And it tastes good.
Are you looking at the cartons of oat milk in the grocery store? Examine the label and see if the brand suits your needs. Commercial oat milks often have added sugar. However, they have the advantage of being fortified with vitamin D and vitamin A; sometimes vitamin B12, riboflavin and calcium as well.
If you decide to go with home-made, you’ll be pleased to see how little time it takes to make it. It’s a boon if you’re allergic to nut and nut-based milks. And naturally, making it yourself saves money. You can flavor or sweeten it if you wish. A couple of pitted, chopped dates, vanilla extract, maple syrup or good honey can provide the slight sweetness most of us expect in milk.
There’s some difference of opinion as to whether the oats should be soaked ahead of time. Those who are in favor of soaking explain that oats contain phythic acid, which disrupts the absorption of minerals in your food. (Not all the food you eat over the day, only what you’re eating while drinking oat milk; and not all the minerals and vitamins in that meal either.)
Others say that phythic acid, present in many grains and pulses, including wheat, shouldn’t be a concern to people eating an otherwise balanced diet that includes a large variety of produce, including the occasional meat or dairy meal. In other words, strict vegans may prefer to soak the oats. It’s up to you! And the last word on the topic: phythic acid is destroyed in cooking, so don’t bother soaking if you’re planning on baking or cooking with oats.
Home-Made Oat Milk
Yield: 3 cups
Water to soak the oats, if desired
1 cup rolled oats
3 cups filtered water
1 pinch sea salt
Optional: 2 pitted, chopped dates or 1 teaspoon honey, and/or 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
If pre-soaking, cover the oats in plenty of filtered water for 1 hour or overnight. Longer is better to soften the oats and remove phythic acid.
Rinse the oats very well after soaking, to prevent a slimy, cooked-oats texture. Discard the soaking and rinse water.
Put the oats, 3 cups of fresh water, sea salt and optional flavoring in a blender. Blend 1 minute.
Strain the blended mass through a clean kitchen towel or cheesecloth folded into several layers.
Keep the oat milk refrigerated up to 5 days.
The milk may separate. Shake it up and it’ll be fine.
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