Monday, July 9, 2012

Almond Milk

Cow’s milk has been my beverage of choice since before my sippy-cup days. I’ve never been a huge fan of juice and I stopped drinking soda long ago (though I do like the occasional Mexican Coca Cola). I love a good pint of beer, but it’s not always a feasible refreshment. Thus, milk has always been my go-to choice. Or at least it was for a good long time. I’ve grown out of the habit of drinking milk regularly, but I still love having it around for cereal and smoothies.

For a while there, I took a break from cow’s milk. I think it was a hypochondriac moment where I thought I was lactose intolerant, so I started buying soy milk sporadically. Turns out I’m not intolerant to dairy, but I found myself really enjoying soy milk. However, I can't help but be skeptical of the soy movement. The nutrient content is questionable (though I’m no expert), and it seems to have shot up there with corn as a predominantly GMO crop in the US. Not necessarily a bad thing, but I'd rather pick something a bit more on the small scale.

Facts aside, I still wanted to try making my own alternative milk. I love making things from scratch, and milk seemed like a cool idea. My skepticism of soy lead me to look for something milk-able that was nutrient-packed and more exciting.  Almonds seemed like the obvious choice, since they're readily available, super tasty, and easily milked. 

Making almond milk is crazy simple. All you need is a little forethought. That is, the almonds need to be soaked overnight or for at least 6 hours. According to Sally Fallon's book, the extended soaking is supposed to release anti-nutrients which would otherwise prevent the absorption of helpful nutrients in the almonds.  So, you can still make almond milk without the soaking, but I recommend it for the health benefits. 

One of my awesome coworkers makes her own almond milk all of the time, and she suggested that I try sweetening mine with dates instead of sugar. It was a brilliant idea. I couldn’t taste the date flavor at all, but the milk was delightfully sweet. If you don’t have dates on hand, mix in a few teaspoons of honey.

Almond Milk
makes just under a quart

*Update* Over the year, I have changed the sweetness level of my almond milk. I find that about 2 dates is plenty.

1 cup raw almonds, soaked overnight (or for at least 6 hours)
2 - 4 dates, pitted (I use 2)
about 3 cups cold water

Drain the almonds of their soaking water. Place in a blender or food processor. Add the dates. Blend until the almond is coarsely ground, about 30 seconds. Add the cold water. Puree for about a minute, or until well blended.

Lay a cloth napkin or a cheesecloth over a strainer and set over a medium-sized bowl. I have a wide-mouthed funnel, so I strained it right into a mason jar. Slowly pour the almond-water blend over the cloth and strainer. You may need to lift the cloth slightly to allow the liquid to get through. Once all the liquid has been poured into the strainer, gather the ends of the cloth and squeeze out excess liquid. Don't be shy.

Viola! You have almond milk. If it's too thick, you can add a bit more water, but I think it's best on the creamier end.
le almond meal

What's all that leftover stuff in the cloth napkin? It's called almond meal. What to do with it? I toast mine at 350 degrees on a large cookie sheet, stirring every 5 minutes until golden, about 15 minutes. I like to throw it in salads, cookies, or even smoothies.


  1. Man, I need to get a food processor, stat!

  2. My food processor is my best friend, next to my immersion blender. It's definitely worth the money!

  3. Wow Autumn, I had no idea! This is great, thanks for sharing!

  4. This is awesome! I want to try this!