Almond Milk for the Heart and Soul
Variations of milk are springing left and right, and smack bang in the middle is the rising star: almond milk. Imagine my excitement when I found out you could make it yourself. And it is EASY.
Why almond milk?
Step back in time to Medieval Europe and the Middle East, and almond milk was a popular cooking ingredient. Today, it’s regaining that popularity as a healthy drink and an alternative to animal milk.
It’s no secret that almonds are nutritious, namely, rich in protein, fiber, vitamin E, magnesium, selenium, manganese, zinc, potassium, iron, phosphorous, tryptophan, copper, and of course calcium. So what does all this mean? Basically, almond milk supports a strong immune system and boosts digestive health. It also has zero cholesterol which helps keep blood pressure normal and the heart healthy.
On top of all that it’s even low in calories – coming at only 40 calories per serving, and 1.4 grams of carbs. No wonder it’s becoming a health obsession.
Plus, it tastes good! Its subtle sweetness makes it a tastier alternative to rice or soy milk. Making it yourself results in an even creamier, nuttier combination of flavours that you can control yourself. I am being completely serious when I say you will not go back to store-bought once you’ve tried it DIY.
Use it anywhere you’d use milk; from adding it to drinks to using it in cooking. For a healthier cup of deliciousness, add it to your tea, coffee, hot chocolate, and smoothies. You can also incorporate it into mashed potatoes, omelettes, soups, sauces, pancakes, muffins, cakes…the list goes on! If you’re feeling confident you can even just drink it straight up.
As your almond milk will be all natural, it doesn’t contain pesky preservatives. Solution? Drink it all and drink it quick! Or within 2-3 days, that works too. If it starts to taste sour, it’s time to let go and throw it away. The best method is to make small batches so you always have it fresh.
Do It Yourself!
- 1 cup unsalted, raw almonds
- 2 cups filtered water (for blending) +more for soaking
- Optional sweeteners: (choose one or use all!)
- ½ tablespoon honey
- ½ vanilla bean
- 1 cup coconut (requires another ½ cup of water when blending)
- 2 sliced medjool dates
- My favourite combination is adding the coconut and honey, which adds a beautiful aroma and subtle sweetness to it. Try it. It is amazing.
- Measuring cup
- Nut milk bag*
- Storage jar
- This will give you the consistency of 2% milk, if you’d like it lighter or thicker, adjust the proportions accordingly.
- Soak the almonds from 8 hours to 2 days.
- Put the almonds into a bowl and cover with water. It’s easiest to just leave them overnight, that way they’ll be ready to go when you wake up. The longer you soak them, the creamier your almond concoction, so resist for as long as you can! But not past 2 days. It’ll turn the flip side of funky.
- Drain and rinse the almonds.
- At this stage, the almonds will be all plump and slightly squishy. They’ll be like almonds with collagen – from wrinkly to smooth! They also taste better like this in my opinion.
- Put all the ingredients into your blender.
- If you’re adding sweeteners, now’s the time to do it! If you’re new to natural almond milk, you will most likely need this step. I definitely do.
- Pulse the blender a few times to break up the contents, and then put it into high speed blend-sation. Everything should be broken down, and the mixture will look creamy – I usually leave it for 2-3 minutes. If you’re using a food processor, you may have to stop every once in a while to scrape down the sides so everything is mixed properly.
- Pour the mixture into your nut milk bag, placed over a bowl.
- Line the bowl with your nut milk bag – most of the almond milk will just strain right through. It’s a good idea to do this over the sink in case it gets messy. I’ve heard you can also strain with multiple layers of cheesecloth, but it might turn out chunkier.
- Squeeze with passion.
- Squeeze it hard with clean hands (otherwise you might get some flavours you’re not expecting in there). This is the fun step! Keep squeezing until you can’t anymore, and you should be left with around 2 cups.
- Taste and sweeten if needed.
- Taste test it, and add more sweeteners if you need. You’ll figure out your own favourite flavour – trial and error!
- You’re done! Now place your delicious, natural, homemade, pat-on-the-back almond milk into a sealed container. It’ll keep in the fridge for up to three days.
Leftover Almond Meal – what to do?
After making your fabulous almond milk you’ll be left with the almond pulp. This can be roasted and blended to make almond butter, and used in baking those cakes and muffins I mentioned earlier, let’s also remember that almond meal is a key ingredient in macarons. There’s nothing stopping you from cooking up an almond storm!
To use it, spread it out onto a baking sheet and oven it on low heat until it’s completely dry, which can take 2-3 hours. Once dry, the almond meal can be kept frozen for a few months for your cooking pleasure.
Mmm…tastes like health. Enjoy!
* I bought my nut milk bag ($14.95) from:
Bondi Discount Vitamins
76 Bronte Road
Bondi Junction, NSW 2022
Phone: (02) 0369 1113
Or buy it straight from Living Synergy online.