Making Almond Milk
I have tried various non-dairy milks over the years. Soy, coconut, rice, almond. I found almond to be the most tolerable. I really was not very impressed at all, even snarling at the idea occasionally. And then I saw a post about making your own almond milk and I thought, “what the hell, I’ll try it”.
And I am glad I did. I made the original almond milk recipe from Oh She Glows (lovely step by step photos here) and fell in love. It did take a couple weeks to really get used to it in cereal, but for just “drinking with breakfast”, I was immediately happy. It is wonderful in smoothies. I eventually simplified and tweaked the recipe (because I can never leave anything alone), and eliminated the step of wasting the soaking water (I’m a tree hugger and it just didn’t make any sense–these are ready to eat out of the bag, it’s not like they are dried beans).
The other thing about making your own is that you are left with almond meal. This is a blessing and an “OMG, what am I going to do with this?” result. There are several ways to use the remaining almond meal, but you can start by just spreading it on a cookie tray and baking for about 30 minutes at 325 degrees. Stir every 10 minutes until it is lightly golden. Sprinkle it in oatmeal, over sliced bananas, and in yogurt. I also rolled Chinese Restaurant Almond Cookies (recipe coming soon) in it before baking. Mmmm.
Prepare for an almond festival, that’s all I’m saying. I have posted my Gingersnap Granola recipe, Chinese Restaurant Almond Cookies, and will do Almond Butter once I get that one mastered (it’s a work in progress). Once I utilize all of this lovely almond meal, it makes the cost of the almond milk much cheaper than the store-bought version (it’s probably about a tie otherwise, but tastes soooo much better). And, if I can pull this almond butter off–wow, because that stuff is expensive! The other benefit of making your own is that the ingredient list is about half (or less depending on the brand) of the commercially produced stuff—apparently the manufacturers think it needs to be thickened, which I have found to be really unappetizing after trying this recipe.
So, why did I decide to start drinking almond milk again? Mainly because I noticed after a (rare) vacation that my skin was not breaking out as much as normal and the main thing missing from my diet was milk. That spurred a non-scientific study that I would perform on myself over the next several weeks. Overall, I do think there has been an improvement in my skin tone, but I do still have some of my lifelong breakouts. However, the reason I may continue has more to do with the fact that I genuinely like this recipe, that no cows had to be pumped for it (I have had enough personal experience being a dairy cow that I feel their pain), and the interesting research that is coming out suggesting that milk may not necessarily do a body good. I only drank it in the morning and smoothies, anyway, due to a touch of lactose intolerance, so my calcium/Vit D needs are covered elsewhere. Sorry, I digressed into a little nerdy TMI there.
Anyway, here’s the recipe…
THE RECIPE: Almond Milk
Recipe can be doubled (which is what I do)
32 ounces water
1 cup raw almonds
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 dried date, pit removed
1. Soak 1 cup almonds and 1 date in 32 ounces of water for at least 8 hours or overnight. (the almonds will look nicely puffed and the date will look hideous)
2. Pour everything into a blender and blend on high speed for 2-3 minutes.
3. Strain through a fine mesh bag. Squeeze the living daylights out of it so you get as much milk out as you can.
4. Add 1/2 tsp vanilla extract and stir. Store in the refrigerator. This will separate since there are no additional ingredients (gums or seaweed) added to keep the itty bitty almond bits suspended, so stir or shake well before each serving.
The fine mesh bags I use are actually reusable produce bags, but they appear to be the same material as the “nut milk bags” (yes, that’s a real thing LOL).
Nut milk bag (1 each)
Reusable produce bags (5 each for about the same price as 1 nut milk bag)
Or even better, this 5 pack from Target online for only $4.99. (good find, Staci)
You can usually find dried dates in the produce aisle. I am going to also attempt this with dried plums since they are everywhere. I’ll update this post when I do. :)