On a current morning, I poured myself a bowl of cereal solely to open my fridge and face that disaster cliché: I used to be out of milk. I groaned on the concept of strolling to the shop very first thing within the morning—however then I remembered that I didn’t must. I had a container of JOI‘s almond base focus in my cupboard. In simply a jiffy—the time it took me to seize my NutriBullet, drop in a few tablespoons of the creamy, nut butter-like focus, fill the container with water, and mix—I had a pitcher of almond milk, and one much less empty carton to toss.
JOI’s almond and cashew milks are made of nuts, with out added sugar or stabilizers. The corporate began as a option to clear up a trifecta of ache factors: the right way to simplify the method of making milk at dwelling, the right way to make different milks extra sustainable, the right way to find yourself with a product with a minimal and wholesome ingredient checklist. (The identify JOI stands for “only one ingredient.”) Although at present packaged in plastic, the corporate says a 15-ounce container of JOI almond base could make seven quarts of milk, changing a number of plastic-lined cartons and leading to a decrease carbon footprint from not transport all that water weight. JOI CEO Hector Gutierrez says they’re seeking to transfer to glass containers, which might extra simply be recycled, sooner or later.
To Gutierrez, the corporate’s merchandise, mainly a nut paste or focus that JOI has dubbed a “nutbase,” match into a new class: not fairly plant milk, not fairly nut butter, capable of be each sweet and savory (extra on that later). It’s value noting there are recipes on-line for making nut milk by mixing almond butter with water; I haven’t tried that technique, however Gutierrez claims it wouldn’t be the identical as utilizing JOI. “Our course of is inherently totally different from making nut butters,” he says. Sharing simply how totally different is “a line that we dance round,” he provides, hesitant to disclose JOI’s specific technique of milling its complete almonds and cashews. In response to him, mixing a nut butter wouldn’t give the identical binding expertise, and the JOI technique means a smaller particle measurement that higher emulsifies with water.
Throughout a few weeks, I blended up small pitchers of milk, controlling the scale so it wouldn’t spoil earlier than I might use it up (even in small parts the almond milk would separate barely within the fridge, however a fast shake introduced it again collectively) and including totally different ranges of sweeteners or flavors like vanilla. That selection was key; flavored, candy milks are good to have in your fridge in your espresso, however not whenever you’re seeking to make a plant-based roux or béchamel for dinner.
However making milk wasn’t even my favourite use for JOI. With a tub of nutbase useful, I reached for a scoop to combine with pasta water and dietary yeast, stirring till it made a silky sauce that I cracked heaps of black pepper into and coated over spaghetti. It was a fast, creamy, and wealthy vegan cacio e pepe that I might make on impulse in minutes, as a substitute of planning days forward to purchase and soak cashews—a core step for therefore many vegan sauces I’ve usually been too lazy to do. It made creamy, non-dairy recipes extra approachable and fewer intimidating than utilizing complete nuts as an ingredient.
Gutierrez says the corporate began to discover these different makes use of after listening to immediately from individuals within the meals trade. In 2018, earlier than it launched, he and JOI cofounder Tony Jimenez took samples round to juice retailers, cafes, and bakeries, to check the market and let the food-service staff and pastry cooks attempt it out. “They have been like, ‘Oh it’s nice for milk…but it surely’s additionally unbelievable for making baked items, unbelievable for utilizing in spreads,’” Gutierrez says. “They’ll use it to make yogurt, ice cream, sauces. What we realized rapidly is it turned a Swiss Military Knife in your culinary pantry.”
Loading up on cashews or almonds as a pantry staple may be an intimidating expense, however realizing all of the methods I might use JOI makes its $20-for-15-ounce price ticket simpler to swallow—and, Gutierrez provides, it may final in your pantry for greater than a yr. I wasn’t positive how a lot I’d use it, however now I can see myself reaching for it usually, whether or not I would like some milk within the morning or wish to bask in a creamy, dairy-free sauce at night time.
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