The short version of this post
To make rice milk, whir 1/2 cup of cooked rice and 2 cups of water in a blender until the mixture reaches a smooth consistency. Drink.
The long version
Homemade rice milk made with leftover cooked rice prevents both food waste—because you can use up that rice sitting in the back of the refrigerator—and packaging waste, since rice milk comes in Tetra Paks with their plastic-plastic-foil-plastic-paperboard-plastic layered combo from recycling hell. Even the most basic bulk bins will carry rice. Bring your own cloth bag, glass jar or other container to fill up and you can make this drink without tossing out any trash.
Basically, rice milk made from cooked rice is a zero-waste super food.
And it costs so much less to make than store-bought! I buy organic jasmine or organic basmati rice, sometimes white, sometimes brown. On average, it costs about $2 a pound. One pound makes 6 cups cooked and you will need 1 cup cooked to make 32 ounces of homemade rice milk (a standard Tetra Pak size). That works out to 33¢ worth of rice ($2.00 / 6 = 33¢). The other ingredient—water—costs nothing (well, okay I filter mine, so I do pay a little bit…).
Just now, I looked up the price of run-of-the-mill rice milk online. Organic Rice Dream on Amazon costs $2.33 for 32 ounces. I figure that’s a rock bottom price because, in its quest toward world domination, Amazon sells everything dirt cheap in the hopes that consumers will buy everything from the online retailer. Make your own rice milk and you save $2.00 a carton—at least, because your grocery store likely charges more than Amazon.
Not only does the homemade stuff cost less to make, it takes less effort to make than to buy it at the store. By the time you go out to the store and come home, you could have made it. Simply throw cooked rice and water in a blender and blend. No straining. No pulp to deal with. I regularly have leftover rice in the refrigerator since I always cook a little extra when I make it, just so I’ll have some for recipes like this.
Although you do only need cooked rice and water for this drink, I did add a couple of optional ingredients—cinnamon and vanilla extract.
The cinnamon. My boyfriend Chandra grinds cinnamon sticks in his second-hand coffee grinder dedicated just for this purpose. You don’t need to grind you own cinnamon sticks but it certainly does taste totally awesome in everything that calls for cinnamon. I added 1/4 a teaspoon to the rice milk.
The vanilla extract. I make my own. You split vanilla beans nearly all the way to the bottom and dunk them in booze for a couple of months. Read more on that here. Again, this isn’t necessary for the rice milk but if you do regularly use vanilla and can buy vanilla beans in bulk, making your own reduces your packaging waste and saves money. I added half a teaspoon to the rice milk.
The water. No, I did not mix together hydrogen and oxygen gases, add a spark and create water… But I did filter tap water with charcoal bamboo filters from a company called Miyabi. You activate the charcoal by boiling it in water and then simply drop it naked into a jug or pitcher. According to the company website, the charcoal “removes chlorine, chloride, phosphorus, ammonia, toluene (alcohol), nitrogen, chloramine (ammonia and chlorine compound added to water to kill pathogens), and even toxins like pesticides that can seep into tap water.” We’ve been using this filtered water to make various drinks: kombucha, almond milk, tea and coffee. (This is not a paid endorsement or affiliate link. I just like these things. No plastic! And the water does taste better.)
The rice. I used long grain white rice for this post. Almost any rice will do. You can opt for brown, white, basmati, jasmine, long-grain, medium-grain, short-grain… I have some wild rice I’d like to experiment with.
Optional sweetener. I didn’t add any sweetener. We won’t drink this rice milk. Instead, we’ll eat it on homemade granola or oatmeal, which we have sweetened. If you would like to sweeten your milk, before you blend the rice and water, add a couple of dates or maple syrup, honey or sugar to taste.
- 1/2 cup cooked rice, any variety
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, optional
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, optional
- sweetener to taste, optional
- Whir all ingredients in a blender until the mixture reaches a smooth consistency.