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By now you have heard of ‘almond milk’.
Not only is almond milk about half the calories of cow milk, but it also is low in carbs making it a healthy decision for dieting. In addition to being lower-calorie and lower-carb, it is also dairy-free.
What peaked my interest in almond milk is the fact that a dairy cow produces 7 gallons of milk… A DAY!
Yup. You heard me.
Albeit being interested in producing as much food as possible, I do not have time, space, or means to take care of even ONE dairy cow. I would be making cheese and butter and all dairy products all of the time. Don’t get me wrong, I love being in the kitchen, but the idea of solely working on dairy is monotonous to me. I prefer to dilute myself across many food groups.
Some days you’re just craving a bagel, ya know?
The fact that making almond milk is also zero-waste is extremely appealing to me as well. Soak nuts, grind in water and strain. Dehydrate strained nuts into almond meal and ground to flour. Use almond flour while baking to create lower-carb foods. Amazing.
After whipping up a few batches of almond milk I plan to delve into this project a little further and see if we can substitute other dairy products with this milk, and also kick some carbs in our flour-based recipes.
Step 1: Soak.
So I am going to break it to you early… making almond milk is extremely easy.
It is going to be a bigger project writing a post about it. Honestly.
The end result is a very light milk that has a slightly nutty and vanilla flavor. It is extremely versatile and to be honest, my kids chug it. Almond milk is also plant-based so it is said to be easier to digest than dairy. Making almond milk at home also removes the presence of added preservatives or other unwanted ingredients.
MAKING things from scratch often results in them going bad MUCH faster than buying them in the store, but also… shows how many preservatives are put into our groceries and in turn, our bodies.
For how easy this milk is to make, it should be no problem to make it once or twice a week.
Whole, natural almonds, water, a flour sack, blender are all you need for this project. I add honey and vanilla to the recipe for sweetness in smoothies and coffee.
The first step in this process is to soak the almonds. I used a mixing bowl and let them soak for 12-48 hours is best. It helps to saturate the nut from the outside to the core resulting in a creamier texture. It also helps to activate the enzymes when converting the nut to a milk.
I chose to soak the first batch for 12 hours.
Step 2: Peel Almonds.
Almond milk is so easy to make, my three-year-old basically made it himself. Ha.
The hardest part of this whole recipe was peeling the almonds. Come to find out, this step is completely unnecessary. Actually leaving the skins on the nuts makes for a creamier texture – duly noted.
It was a fun memory with my youngest. We were peeling almonds at the kitchen table and of course my pile was exponentially out-growing his. Then I hit a nut that had water trapped between the skin and the meat and when I peeled it water gushed into my face. I was startled and both of us had a great laugh.
Long story short: this is really a three-step almond milk process. Soak, Blend, Strain. Also – so easy a toddler can do it (almost).
My idea in peeling the almonds was to have a white flour instead of brownish-red flecks. If that is also an appealing end result that strikes you – it is worth the extra work. The milk is not gritty when the nuts are peeled.
Do this step, or don’t. For the future I will skip this step, but if I find a great recipe that will be ruined by the flaked almond skins, I may revert back to peeling.
Skipping this step turns making almond milk into a literal five minute process.
If you choose to skip peeling almonds, then be sure to strain them and rinse. When moving to the next step use FRESH water.
Step 3: Blend!
This is the fun part!
After you strain and rinse the almonds, add a sweetener, salt, flavor and water to a high-powered blender and blend well. Easy peasy.
Choosing to flavor or not flavor almond milk is the best part.
Almond milk plain is extremely flat. It needs to be dolled up.
Most people prefer to bring dimension to the drink by sprinkling a pinch of sea salt paired with a natural sweetener and vanilla. This is my favorite way because it is the most versatile. Feel free to experiment with the recipe and let me know what you love best!
Honey, maple syrup, stevia, coconut sugar, or molasses are all ways to naturally sweeten almond milk. Agave nectar is another common way to bring a lightly sweet taste to the beverage. How little or how much sweetener you add to the almond milk is really based on your preference. I really like to have it just touched with sweetener, not overpowering it.
Vanilla is a safe option for flavor to accompany the smoothness that is almond milk. Almond milk is velvety and light, a hint of vanilla complements that flavor well. Other extracts would be fun to experiment with. I love to keep things simple and classic. Maybe someday I will feel spunky and try mixing it up.
Add fresh water to the mix. Blend all ingredients into the water and strain to leave creamy almond milk.
To be sure the milk is creamy and reduce separating once it is in your fridge – blend for at least one minute in a high-powered blender. This emulsifies the almond milk. There may still be some separation, but it will be reduced.
Taste the product in the blender and add sweetener or flavor to your desire. The flavors will blend once they are in the fridge for awhile. Kind of like a summer salad – the flavors tone down and mesh when they marinate for awhile in the refrigerator.
Experiment, blend and remember: you can always add, not take away!
Step 4: Strain.
I typically strain liquids in a flour towel – the strain is extremely fine and removes most particles, they are easy, and I have a million.
Mason jars are a great option to store almond milk in – also because they are effective, I have a million and they are sturdy. I typically store most of our food in mason jars.
In fact – mason jars and flour sack towels are probably the most used items in my kitchen. This is also why I go through so many flour sack towels. Syrup, jam, and now milk stain flour sacks.
Set a clean mason jar and place a funnel or sieve over the mason jar and cover it with a flour sack. Slowly pour the almond milk over the flour sack and let it strain into the mason jar. The nuts will be crushed at the end – let them gently fall into the flour sack. When the milk is transferred, squeeze the flour sack to drain out all of the liquid.
Get. Every. Last. Drop.
Boom. You done!
Bonus Step: Almond Flour.
Here’s the best bonus part of making almond milk – the byproduct: almond paste.
The almond paste is nutritious and as versatile as almond milk. Transform almond paste into two separate ingredients with a simple step.
Spread almond paste onto a cookie sheet and put into a cool oven – about 170 F for 2-3 hours. This process turns almond paste into almond meal.
Use almond meal in granola bars/bites, oatmeal, in smoothies, yogurt, or parfaits. Add almond meal to cookies or brownies for nutrients, a slight nutty flavor and a little texture.
Grind almond meal down into almond flour using a food processor or a coffee grinder.
This flour is a finer texture and can be used in recipes to cut down the gluten content. Almond flour is higher in calories and does not provide the exact replication as flour, so try to stick to only substituting 1/4 of the flour in a recipe.
Whether you choose to use paste, meal or flour, the byproduct of almond milk is versatile, nutritious, delicious. Making almond milk is a no-waste process – all parts are used.
Almond milk is low calorie, low carb, no dairy, versatile and extremely easy to make.
four three easy steps, and less than five working minutes, you can have fresh almond milk in your home too.
Go out and buy some raw almonds, and everything else should be on-hand.
Soak for 12-48 hrs, rinse+blend+flavor, and strain.
Keep almond paste for smoothies, dehydrate it into meal, or even go a step further and grind the meal into almond flour.
The possibilities are endless and adding one simple step of making almond milk can bring health benefits into many facets of your life.
- mixing bowl
- flour sack towel
- high-powered blender
- oven (optional)
- mason jar(s)
- 1 cup almonds raw
- 4 cups water separated - 2 for soaking, 2 for blending
- 1 tbsp natural sweetener optional (honey, maple syrup, agave syrup, stevia, coconut sugar)
- 1 tsp vanilla optional
- Soak. Soak the almonds in 2 cups of water for 12-48hrs in a medium to large mixing bowl.
- Strain & Peel. (peeling optional) Strain the almonds out of the water & discard the soaking water. Rinse almonds. You may choose to peel the almonds before blending. This would only be necessary if you wanted 'white' almond flour vs. flecks of almond skin.
- Blend. Place strained & rinsed almonds into a high-powered blender. Add remaining 2 c water & optional sweetener + vanilla). Blend for 1 minute on a high speed. Taste & add sweetener or flavor to your liking.
- Strain. Set up a 32oz mason jar with a funnel and drape the flour towel over the funnel. Slowly pour the almond milk through the towel into mason jar. Be sure to include any nuts at the bottom of the blender. Squeeze all milk out of the nuts through the towel - get every last drop of goodness. Store milk in fridge for 3-7 days.
- Optional: The remaining nuts are 'almond paste.' You may choose to place these on a cookie sheet in a 170F oven for 2-3 hours to dehydrate. This will result in almond meal. When the almond meal is cooled, you may process the meal in a coffee grinder or food processor to create almond flour.
If you ever have any questions, or ideas for future blogs, comment below or shoot me an email!
From the farm,