If you’re thinking about giving up dairy for health or ethical reasons, you may immediately begin thinking through all the things you will miss most in your diet. Cheese and ice cream are practically staples for many people! But there are other, smaller things you may not think about until you’ve already cut out the food group. Things like cream for your coffee or a dollop of sour cream on top of your baked potato may be things you realize later are important to your diet. For some people, these small pleasures may be enough to stop you from going dairy-free.
Enter cashew cream. With the texture and thickness of dairy, a cream made simply from raw cashews can offer sweet or savory additions to your diet. If you haven’t heard of this option before, read on to learn about why it’s gaining in popularity in the dairy-free community.
The Versatility of Cashew Cream
With a simple ingredient like raw cashews, you are able to produce a large variety of recipes. Rather than keeping bottles and jars in your pantry for each use, cashew cream works on its own and makes a great base for other recipes. Some things commonly made from cashew cream include sour cream, ice cream, salad dressings, dips, queso, alfredo sauce, or smoothies. Small additions of flavoring can change the nature of the cashew cream, and you can control its thickness based on the amount of water you choose to add to the mix, allowing cashew cream to become a staple in all areas of your diet.
Making Cashew Cream
Another benefit of cashew cream is that it can be made simply at home. Besides water, you really just need two things to get started: a good blender and good cashews. You can use a food processor if needed to make cashew cream, but a high-quality blender is typically recommended for efficiently crushing the crunchy nuts into a smooth consistency.
Because cashew cream is made almost entirely of cashews, the quality of your nuts is going to be important here. Start with unsalted raw cashews – the fresher the better. You can even order in bulk to always have cashews on hand. You can also use unsalted cashews for desserts! Store-bought cashews often contain preservatives or oils that will alter the health and taste of your cashew cream, so choosing a direct source like Beyond the Nuts will ensure your cashew cream has a pure base.
Once you have your cashews ready, you’ll need to soak them. You can do this in a number of ways:
- Overnight: Soak one cup of raw cashews in cold water overnight on the counter.
- Quick: Pour boiling water over one cup of raw cashews and soak for about an hour.
- Really Quick: Mix one cup of raw cashews and one up of water in a saucepan. Boil for ten minutes.
Whichever method you choose, drain and rinse your cashews after there are done soaking. You can then pour the drained cashews into your blender with water. Start with a smaller amount of water and add as needed to ensure a smooth blend and a consistency that fits your recipe. From there, just blend until smooth. This can take up to 5 minutes, so be prepared to let the blender run for a bit.
Storing Cashew Cream
Because this cashew cream is being made fresh, it will not last as long as store-bought items like coffee cream. When made with raw cashews, the cream will last about 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator, or it can be frozen for up to 6 months. Because the recipe is so simple, we recommend making small batches of cashew cream as needed instead of large batches in an attempt to meal prep.
If your cashew cream develops a rancid smell or taste, becomes clumpy where it was not before, or appears off in color, do not eat it.
Raw Cashews from Beyond the Nut
If you are ready to make your own cashew cream, the first step is buying raw cashews to start from. Not only are the cashews from Beyond the Nut delicious, vegan, gluten-free, and GMO-free, making them good for your body- but they’re good for the world too! Our fair trade cashews are ethically sourced in collaboration with local farmers and entrepreneurs to get you high-quality raw cashews while maintaining fair labor practices. You can start small or buy in bulk to get started!