Are you a label-reader? I am. I’m probably that annoying mom in the grocery store with two bored-looking kids, who’s blocking the aisle as I closely examine the fine print on every box, bottle, jar and carton that goes into my cart. The longer the ingredient list, the less likely I am to actually buy the product, especially when I can pronounce less than half of what’s on the list. I’m of the opinion that I should be buying ingredients, not things with ingredients, when it comes to my grocery shopping, so the simpler the food, the more I will like it.
I started on almond milk a little over a year ago, in an attempt to go dairy-free. Even though I am no longer completely dairy-free, the one habit I have kept is using almond milk instead of regular milk [for myself, anyway, the kids are a different story…]. I love the creamy, nutty flavour, and most of all, I love that I can make it myself. Say what? Yes. I make it myself.
My foray into homemade almond milk came after a shopping trip, during which I’m sure I annoyed many fellow shoppers as I pored over the ingredients on the side of the carton. I was texting a friend about which milk alternatives she liked, my kids making some kind of unholy racket beside me. And she texted me back: “Don’t buy the almond milk,” she said. “You can make your own. And it’s cheaper.”
Whaaa? Mind = blown. But she was right: I could make my own. As soon as I got home, I started looking up recipes, and that was the end of my nut-milk-buying days. In the end, it is cheaper, and most importantly, it is preservative-free. It is – no joke – almonds and water. Period. All you need is a blender, and something to strain out the solids, how easy is that? There’s a tutorial up on Blissful Domesticity [my other blog], where you can learn to make your own nut milk bag, and enter a giveaway to win one that I’ve made, if you are so inclined.
And this is how you do it. Take one cup of raw, unroasted almonds. Place them in a bowl and cover them with water. Soak them overnight. I didn’t snap a photo of the almonds after soaking, but take my word for it – you want to soak them. It doesn’t work as well if you don’t, it’s worth it to plan ahead a little.
All that’s in the blender now is the pre-soaked almonds and four cups of water. If you are planning to sweeten this up with some dates, add them to the blender as well. Once you’re ready to go, turn this sucker on. Start on low, but crank it up to high pretty quickly. You don’t need a Vitamix for this, either. I happen to have a fancy-pants expensive blender, but a whatever blender you already have will do just fine for this, I promise.
That’s what the nuts will look like in the blender. Make sure your lid is on securely, or it will make for a mighty fine mess! Blend on high for 1-2 minutes.
Voila! Almond milk. This recipe yields about a liter, more or less. Don’t be afraid to get in their with your hands and squeeze it out, either. It might squirt a little, but it’s fun to get in there and squeeze. And what’s in the bag? Look below:
This is all the leftover nut pulp that you filtered out. You can garbage this if you want, or put it in your compost. But if you’re like me and you loathe to waste anything, you can save it and use it in homemade hummus, in cookies or muffins, or you can dry it out in a low-temperature oven and grind it into almond meal. I like to use it for coating baked and pan-fried fish instead of flour!
Something to keep in mind: because this recipe lacks all of the
stabilizers and whatnot that’s in commercial almond milk, it will
separate. Do not be alarmed when you look in your fridge and your jar of almond milk appears to have separated into a couple of layers. It hasn’t gone bad, it just needs a good shake. Shake it up and enjoy your homemade, 100% preservative free almond milk!
DIY Almond Milk
1 cup almonds
4 cups water
pinch of salt
Place dry almonds in a bowl and cover with cool water. Soak overnight.
Drain and rinse almonds. Add almonds and water to the jug of your blender, and blend on high for 1-2 minutes. Filter through a nut milk bag, add a pinch of salt to enhance the flavour, and store in a jar in the refrigerator. Shake before using, as it may separate after a while.