I had a few people email and comment on my post couple of weeks ago
asking about the almond milk, so I thought I’d do a followup post with more detail!
First of all, the WHY… I’m trying very hard to eliminate (or at least drastically cut back on) processed foods. You wouldn’t think something like almond milk would have scary stuff in it, but look at the ingredients on a carton. I don’t even know what some of those things are.
But the one in particular that jumps out at me is the carrageenan, which is used as a thickening agent. While carrageenan is touted as being a “natural” ingredient (it comes from seaweed), it has been linked to a variety of cancers and GI ailments in numerous studies. Ummmm…. No thanks.
The HOW was suuuuuuuuuuuuuuper easy. You start by soaking one cup of raw almonds for several hours. The recipe I used said to soak them overnight. I put mine in water in the morning before I left for work with the intention of making the milk that evening. I got distracted and ended up not making it, so I changed the water and put them back in the fridge and made it the next night. All told, they were in the water for about 38 hours and it turned out just fine.
After they’ve soaked, then you wanna drain and rinse them off real good, and toss them into your blender. The more powerful the blender, all the better off you’ll be. Mine is a Dollar General special (because I’m classy like that and it would make my Dollar General toaster and coffee pot feel inadequate if I spent more than $10 on a blender). Add just enough water to cover your nuts (hehe) and blend on high until they’re as broken up as you can possibly get them. A good blender will result in a lot less pulp.
Now you just add another 4-5 cups of water (recipe calls for 6 cups total, my blender is maxed out at 1 cup of nuts and 5 cups of water), a teaspoon of coconut oil (I didn’t have any the first time I made this and didn’t miss it.), and whatever else your little heart desires to suit your taste… honey, agave, vanilla, dates…I used three dates just for some natural sweetness. I plan on trying chocolate at some point too! Your milk will have a pretty thin consistency (remember, we don’t have that nasty carrageenan in it to thicken it), but you can add other things to thicken it up a bit if you wish… banana, greek yogurt… That’s the best part of making this yourself–you can do whatever you want to it!
When you’ve got it blended till it just won’t blend anymore, it’s ready to strain. I’ve read that you can use cheesecloth or a strainer or the like to strain, but I bought a nut milk sack (hehehehe) that’s made just for this purpose. It was about $10 on Etsy.
Put your nut sack (hehehehehehehe) into a bowl and pour your milk out of the blender into the bowl. Then you lift your nut sack out of the bowl and squeeze it (HEHEHEHEHEHHE) to extract as much milk as possible.
As for the pulp that you’re left with inside the sack, I didn’t know what to do with it when I made this the first time either, so I tossed it out. I later learned that was a HUGE no-no. It can be used for LOTS of stuff. Just google it–I was amazed! Granola, cookies, pesto… seriously. TONS of possibilities.
And as for the cost… Is it cheaper? No. At least it wasn’t for me. The price of a 1/2 gallon of almond milk is approximately $3. I bought a 4-cup bag of almonds for $7. If you get 32 oz from 1 cup of almonds, that’s half of a half gallon, right? So for $7 you’ll get 32 oz four times. So $7 = 128 oz = 1 gallon. That’s $3.50 for a half gallon instead of $3ish for store-bought. Plus the cost of any extra ingredients you add in. So it’s not MUCH more expensive (and you can probably make it for less by buying the almonds in bulk). I just like knowing what’s in my milk! 🙂