If you haven’t started making your own almond milk at home, I highly recommend it. I was so surprised with how much better it tasted with only three ingredients. Not to mention, the process is extremely simple and you are in control of exactly what ingredients are in your milk.
I have never been a fan of dairy milk, and was never one to drink a glass of it. I do, however like to use non-dairy milk in my cooking, in my morning coffee, and in the occasional bowl of cereal. The most convenient thing to do was to buy a carton of almond milk from the grocery store, as many do. I couldn’t imagine the ingredients being more than almonds, water and maybe sugar, but after carefully looking the labels over, I discovered that many contain preservatives, artificial sweeteners, ‘natural’ flavours, and even carrageenan. This substance is used in many processed foods, and very commonly used in non-dairy beverages as a thickener and also as a stabilizer to prevent seperating (which naturally occurs in almond milk). Although it is derived from seaweed, it is processed so highly that it has been linked to gastrointestinal inflammation, tumors and colon cancer.
Knowing this, I decided to give it a shot at home, and I am so glad I did. It’s just so tasty and free of additives! I find myself walking by the fridge and having a gulp of it, something I have never done with any type of milk, be it dairy or nut milk. I am still on the hunt for a healthy option from the grocery store, for pure convenience when in a bind.
Keep in mind that you can play around with the flavours here: vanilla bean for a stronger flavour, dates, maple syrup or agave nectar for sweetness, or cinnamon or nutmeg for a nice touch of spice. I always go with what I’m in the mood for, seeing that you’re making small portions, it’s easy to experiment.
Here are step by step instructions to start making your own almond milk. It will stay fresh for about 3 days in your fridge. Also, do not throw out the almond meal! You can use it in your baking. I froze my almond meal to use on another day, and when I do, I will post step by step photos of how to use it. You will basically need to dry out the almond meal first. In the oven, on lowest temperature, spread out the almond meal on a baking sheet. It will take about 3 hours to completely dry. Remove from oven and grind in a food processor. You now have delicious almond flour, which is a fantastic addition to baked goods such as muffins and cakes.
You may be curious (as my husband was), as to what is more economical; store bought or homemade almond milk. I’ve done the math, and if you compare apples to apples, store bought was slightly cheaper (by less than a dollar) but when you make use of the almond meal and grind your own flour, now you are really saving. Almond flour is quite pricey, about $10 per pound. So, in total you are saving money, and you’re not consuming carcinogens!
Homemade Almond Milk Recipe
Makes 3 cups
- 1 cup raw almonds
- 3 cups filtered water (+ 2 cups for soaking)
- a pinch of kosher sea salt
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (optional)
- Place almonds in a bowl, cover with 2 cups of water and let soak overnight.
- Drain almonds. Place in blender along with 3 cups of water and sea salt.
- Process at high speed for a few minutes.
- Give it a taste. At this point, if you want a natural, raw almond milk you are done with the blender. If you want the vanilla version which I made, add the extract, and blend once more.
- Place a few layers of cheesecloth over a bowl (unless you have a nut milk bag, which makes things easier). Slowly pour almond milk through cheesecloth into the bowl.
- Squeeze excess milk out of the cheesecloth to extract more milk.
- Pour it through a sieve into another bowl to filter out as much almond pieces as possible.
- Pour milk into a measuring cup to make it easier to pour into a container (I use mason jars).
- Store in the fridge for up to 3 days. Natural almond milk tends to separate, give it a shake before drinking.