Who knew you could milk a nut?
Creamy and delicious homemade almond milk.
Certain foods you just can’t make at home. Or so I thought! Crackers, marshmallows, kimchi, even fresh cheese… I used to think there were things you just had to buy from the store. But thanks to the internet, I have realized you can learn to make absolutely ANYTHING at home, no matter how exotic or complicated it may seem
. And besides the amazing feeling of achieving ” the impossible,” your homemade version is usually tastier, healthier, and more affordable in the end.
For me, learning I could make my own fresh almond milk at home was a life-changing experience. Now there’s always a fresh pitcher in the fridge ready to be enjoyed. And best of all, my pure, homemade almond milk tastes exactly as I want–with no preservatives, gums, or fillers.
In my house we much prefer almond milk over cow’s milk. We aren’t completely dairy-free, but in general, hormone and antibiotic-laden cow’s milk is something we try to avoid. Almond milk, on the the other hand, is equally creamy and flavorful, but it’s a plant-based option full of vitamins, minerals and healthy fats that won’t clog our veins or cause inflammation in our body. We love it, and our toddler son Ellis loves it as well!
I’m not saying that store-bought almond milk isn’t a good option. In fact, most brands add vitamins and minerals, which is great, but they also include sugars, preservatives, and other unnecessary stuff. So why opt of the more expensive, processed option when you can make pure, amazing almond milk right at home?
For this recipe you’ll need:
- One cup of raw almonds
- Water (three to eight cups, depending on how rich you want the milk)
- A glass, bowl, or other container for soaking the almonds
- A blender
- A large mixing bowl
- A clean t-shirt or other cloth
- Bottles or pitcher for storing
Optional ingredients to flavor your almond milk:
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup to 1/2 cup pitted dates OR the desired amount of your preferred sweetener (agave nectar, sugar, etc)
Note: If you are accustomed to vanilla or “original” almond milk, you will probably want to sweeten it.
Step one: Soak your almonds.
Put one cup of raw almonds in a jar or bowl and cover with about a cup and a half of water. Cover tightly and let sit in the fridge for at least eight hours and up to two days. Soaking or “sprouting” your almonds for enough time activates enzymes and makes your milk nice and creamy.
Starting the soaking process: one cup of raw almonds plus about one an a half cups of filtered water.
Almonds and water after about 16 hours of soaking. Notice they have swollen up and are lighter in color.
Step two: Blend!
Pour your almonds and their soaking liquid into a blender. If sweetening with dates, add those as well (make sure there are no pits!) Add another cup or two of water, put the lid on tightly and blend on high for about one to two minutes.
One cup of raw almonds, soaked, plus about three cups of water.
Creamy, pure almond milk. Almost ready!
Step three: Strain.
For a smooth, milky consistency, use the finest strainer possible–a t-shirt! A cheese cloth can leave some sediment in your milk, which isn’t so terrible, but if you prefer super-smooth milk (or if you plan on putting the milk in a baby’s bottle), definitely use a t-shirt or similar cloth (a non-terry cloth kitchen towel) to strain it. Just place the shirt over a large mixing bowl and pour the milk in the middle, then carefully gather the sides of the shirt and lift. With clean hands, start to squeeze and twist the shirt and voila! Beautiful, white almond milk! Squeeze and twist to get as much liquid out as you can.
Freshly blended almond milk ready to be strained.
Straining with a t-shirt or similar fabric makes sure no sediment gets into the milk.
Start by grabbing two sides of the t-shirt.
Carefully gather the sides of the shirt before lifting to ensure everything gets strained.
This part sort of reminds me of milking a cow, but you’re milking a t-shirt and almond milk is coming out.
Almost done. Keep squeezing and twisting to get it all!
Note: You can also buy a “nut bag” online or at certain kitchen stores instead of using a cloth to strain your milk.
Step four: Store your almond pulp!
Your fresh milk contains all the almonds’ great flavor, healthy fat, minerals and vitamins, but the pulp has all the fiber, which is a shame to waste. Set the bowl of milk aside, then carefully open the t-shirt and scrape out the compressed pulp into a bowl. Tightly cover it and refrigerate it until you use it in pancakes, muffins, cake, or my awesome healthy cookie recipe (coming very soon!). If you prefer, you can also dry out the pulp in the oven by spreading it out on a cookie sheet and baking for about an hour at 275 degrees. After letting it cool completely, grind the dried pulp in a coffee grinder and sift out any large chunks. This is extra work, but it turns the highly perishable almond pulp into a high-fiber flour that lasts for months in the cupboard.
Fiber-rich almond pulp. Be sure to cover and refrigerate or dry out completely and grind into a flour.
Step five: Taste the almond milk and adjust.
Here’s where you have the most control of your final product. First, add the desired amount of water to your milk to reach your preferred richness. Just keep adding water little by little until it’s the perfect consistency, being careful to not dilute it too much. Not sweet enough for your taste? Add some agave nectar or sugar to adjust. What about throwing in some cinnamon and having an horchata-like beverage? It’s up to you. To save space in the fridge, we like to make a rich, condensed almond milk (three total cups of water to one cup of almonds) which we then dilute when we use it. Also, we keep ours unsweetened, but make yours as sweet as you like.
Step six: Store the milk.
Use bottles, a pitcher, whatever you want, just be sure to tightly cover and refrigerate. Since your almond milk is unprocessed and unpasteurized, you will need to consume it within about five days. Also, don’t be alarmed if you see it separate or look like it has curdled. Just shake or stir it up and it will go back to its creamy, beautiful appearance and texture. YUMMMM.
Creamy and delicious pure, homemade almond milk. Try some out today!
Now it’s time to enjoy your delicious, pure, homemade almond milk! Here are some ideas on how to use it:
- In a fruity smoothie (with berries, bananas, and peanut butter)
- In a dairy-free milkshake (add ice, frozen bananas, dates, cocoa powder, etc)
- In a glass alongside some delicious cookies (recipe coming soon)
- With your favorite cereal
- Mixed into oatmeal while cooking
- In homemade healthy refried beans
- In a creamy pureed soup
So there you have it! Now anyone is capable of making their own fresh, delicious almond milk! Stay tuned for my recipe for awesome healthy cookies using the almond pulp, almond butter, dates, and other yummy and wholesome ingredients. And remember, you can make anything from scratch at home, all you need is the desire to learn!