Kids make Nut Cheese

Just as kids love nut butters, such as peanut, almond, and cashew, kids will love nut cheeses, both cultured and non-cultured. Using the same elements of making dairy based cheese, coagulating the protein, adding lactic acid culture, and putting it through an aging process, nuts can be made into tasty cheeses. Cashews make some of the tastiest nut cheese with heart healthy monounsaturated fats , bone strengthening magnesium, and nutrients that lower the risk of weight gain. Cultured nut cheeses use fermentation and a culturing agent or two to create a more complex flavor. Non-cultured nut cheese often uses fruits and herbs to create delicious flavors of spreads, sauces, dips, and pates. The basic steps to make soft non-cultured nut cheese are simple.  First soak 2 cups organic cashew nuts in water with a little salt for an hour or two to deactivate the enzyme inhibitors, leach out some of the phytic acid for better digestibility, and to make them softer to blend. Drain and rinse the nuts and put them in a food processor with ¼ cup pure water and blend until as smooth as possible. Kids can also use a blender to achieve a smooth paste with lots of pulsing, scraping, and adding of extra water.  In the blender, add to the nut paste 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice and 2 tbsp organic apple cider vinegar and blend at low speed. Add ¼ cup nutritional yeast, 2 organic garlic cloves and 1 tsp sea salt and blend until smooth. Scrape the mixture out of the blender and place inside a cheesecloth bag. Hang the bag over a bowl and allow it to drain for up to 4 hours at room temperature.  For a firmer drier cheese, kids can put the bag and bowl in the refrigerator overnight. This cashew cheese can be used in ravioli, lasagna, salads, sandwiches, and toast. Store the cashew cheese in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.

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