As you may or may not know, Mike and I are pretty dairy free (well besides the occasional cheese platter…not sure I can fully give that up). Honestly, I have hated Milk since I was a kid…ask my mom about how I turned my nose at it constantly. It was never my thing so when Mike and I went Paleo for about six months a few years ago, I had no issue giving it up in our house. Since then we have been purchasing Almond Milk, but after some research I found tons of info about the preservatives, so I just decided that it couldn’t be that hard to make it myself. I did the math and what I found was that the difference between me purchasing it and me making it was not significant enough for me to feel okay with consuming things I didn’t want in my body.
Since we don’t use a lot of it, I felt it was okay to say we could make it on our own. We place it in our smoothies everyday and sometimes it makes its way in to soups. My research, thanks to the internet, gave me a strong desire to make it a priority to make all of our pre-made foods that we use daily. This is not something I am choosing to take on all at once, but I figure I can get the rhythm down of one thing and then tackle another. I figure over time it will become muscle memory and routine that way, making it less overwhelming. We already make our own almond butter, so I figure why not go one step further with those almonds.
I know many of you are passionate about eating well, keeping it simple, and finding ways to save money while keeping your health a top priority. So I thought I would share my tips and tricks of this simple recipe which I know I am not the first to share. In the 4 weeks of making our own, I have learned a ton of things and thought it was worth sharing.
Ingredients: – yields about 1 liter give or take
3 cups RAW almonds — see notes below — I purchase these and they make about 2-3 weeks worth of almond milk and almond butter
6 cups filtered water and also regular water to cover almonds while soaking
1 tablespoon Local Honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
A High-Speed blender – We use the Ninja Ultima Blender, which is comparable to Blendtec and Vitamix
A Reusable Nut Milk bag
A 1 Liter Resealable Container ( about 2)
A Small Resealable container
A Large Bowl
A few notes:
– Make sure your almonds are raw. It is hard to really identify raw almonds, but the key thing I look for on the package is if they are sproutable. Almonds that have been pasteurized are not able to be planted (aka are not fertile so speak anymore). Raw almonds have the highest nutrients and also taste way better!
– One more plus to making your own Almond Milk is the ability to control the sweetness levels and also use your own sweetener. Since Mike and I are new to North Carolina we place local raw honey into ours in order to help build up immunity to the allergens in the area. Pre-made almond milk cannot help you with that.
– Other things you can add in are cinnamon, cacao, coconut meat, and whatever else you can dream up.
– Don’t use cheese cloth…whatever you read…SERIOUS! It is a mess. Invest in a good nut straining bag that is reusable and then thank me later.
Before you get too far ahead of yourself you have to begin the process of soaking the almonds for about 4-6 hours and even up to 12 is not a bad idea. The longer you soak them the softer they will be and the creamier your milk will be. Typically I make our almond milk on Sundays so I will begin soaking the almonds Saturday around dinner or right before heading to bed. When you let them soak make sure they are all covered by at least an inch of water.
Once the almonds have soaked you will then want to strain the water off and place them in the blender with 6 cups of filter water. Every batch I make comes out a little different than the others so if these ratios are too water for you, feel free to play around. Pulse the almonds twice to loosen them up and then allow the blender to run around the highest speed for about 1-2 minutes.
At this point I place the vanilla and honey in to the blender and then blend for about 30 seconds or until it seems well mixed. From there prep the nut bag. I like to have an extra hand at this point as it can get challenging. Make sure to pour the milk straight in to the bag and over a large bowl. I do 1/3 of it at a time as it makes it easiest to get as much liquid out as possible. When you have your first third in the strainer squeeze the bag until no more liquid comes out. Dump the remaining blended almonds (this is almond meal at this point) in to a resealable container to save for other awesome things like almond butter, muffins, or fruit crumble topping. Repeat this process until all the blender is empty. Place the almond meal in the fridge for safe keeping.
Next place the funnel in to the 1 liter container and slowly pour the liquid from the large bowl through the funnel. Cap the bottle and place the milk in the fridge. Super easy and within 15 minutes you can have delicious, preservative free, raw almond milk.
Have any of you made your own nut milks before? What are some tips you have for making it at home? Do you make anything else yourself?