Almond Milk

Almond milk, like granola, is another thing that I never made until recently. I just bought it because I thought that making it was too much of a hassle, and that there were plenty of great brands out there to buy, so why bother? Well, I’ll tell you why you should bother- it’s DELICIOUS!! Homemade almond milk is basically a completely different beverage than store-bought almond milk. Seriously, it tastes completely different! It’s creamy, nutty, rich, flavorful, thick, do I even need to continue? I still buy almond milk to have on hand, and to throw into a recovery smoothie, but I now try to make it at least every other week to have on hand. Like I’ve said, I am not vegan nor am I dairy intolerant, so I don’t use almond milk as much as some, but I’ve been putting it into smoothies, adding it to my oatmeal, and drinking it over ice at night before bed. (It NEVER goes into my coffee though! Sorry folks, thats strictly whole milk and half and half forever and always!)

Here are a few things you should get before you make this recipe. You need a high-powered blender. If you don’t have a Vitamix, I must implore you to save your money and buy one! It is so worth the investment! Seriously, I think it is the most essential kitchen appliance, and is worth every penny! (Side note: the company has a very interesting history, that you can read more about if you are interested here.) Second thing you need is a carafe or glass bottle to store the almond milk in when it is ready. And third, buy a nut milking bag. You CAN use cheesecloth, but it takes longer, can be super messy, and nut milk bags have a finer mesh so you will only have to strain your milk once. You can buy one on Amazon- I bought this one, but there are lots of options.

Almond Milk

Yield: 1 Qt | Prep Time: 5 mins plus 6 hour or overnight soak

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup raw almonds
  • 4 Cups filtered water (plus water to soak almonds- at least 2 cups)
  • 4 Medjool dates (or other good quality variety), pitted
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of sea or kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • optional: freshly grated nutmeg (2-3 grates on a microplane grater)

Instructions:

  1. Cover the almonds with water and soak overnight in the refrigerator, or for at least 6 hours. img_1867
  2. Rinse the almonds in the sink in a strainer under cold water for a couple of seconds and put in blender.
  3. This next part you could do in two different ways. I usually blend the almonds with the water first, strain it, and then add it back into the blender with the flavorings, and blend and strain a second time. But this is more of a hassle, and I honestly don’t think there is any difference in flavor. The consistency is just a little smoother. So, I’ll let you decide which way you want to do it, but here is the easy/time saver method- Add all of the ingredients into your blender at once. Cover tightly with the lid, and blend on high for 1.5-2 minutes depending on the strength of your blender. The result will be a frothy, white liquid with some brown almond flecks in it.71372293-0c17-421b-b296-537d29bf7d09
  4. Put your nut milk bag over a bowl and pour the liquid into the bag. Squeeze out all of the fluid.
  5. I would suggest pouring the liquid from the bowl back into the blender, and at this point you can adjust the flavoring, flavor it if you want to do the 2-part process, or just from there pour it into your bottle or carafe. This will save you from cleaning up a huge mess if you try to pour the liquid from the bowl into a bottle. Trust me!

The milk will be a little warm from the blender- the motor tends to heat it up during the blending- so if you want to drink it right away, maybe add some ice (unless you like warm milk, in which case drink up!) Or, just refrigerate for an hour or so before drinking! Enjoy it! img_1906

*Side note: the milk will separate in the fridge. The additives in store-bought almond milk (normally some sort of lecithin), are mainly used to extend the shelf life and emulsify the milk so it doesn’t separate. Just give it a little shake or swirl, and it will come back together! This lasts in the fridge for about 3-5 days.

**Another side note: you can leave out any of the flavorings and just make it plain. If that’s the case, I would keep the salt though. You can use 1-2 Tbsp of maple syrup if you don’t have dates, or you can leave out the sweetness entirely. Another slight alternative is to make almond/hazelnut milk- soak 1/4 cup of raw hazelnuts (skin can be on) with 3/4 cup of almonds and do everything else the same! Don’t be afraid to experiment!

***Lastly, I forgot to mention this when I published this post- you can save the pulp to make your own almond meal. I’ve never done this, but it’s what most vegan and gluten free bakers tend to do, to diminish waste and save money. An excellent idea that I will definitely write about once I actually do it myself. If you think this interests you, just freeze the pulp and reserch how to use it! Or gay tunes to when I finally try it myself! Ok that’s all for now! 

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