With all the issues surrounding dairy and it’s detrimental link to hormones, gut issues, allergies, mucous, and more it’s no wonder people are looking for other sources to add to their coffee, cereal, smoothies, and tea. I’m going to save you some time, and some pain, by directing you to a much healthier alternative than soy. Welcome to the beauty of a properly made almond milk.
Source the Best Almonds
When preparing any recipe, it’s always important to get the cleanest and freshest ingredients possible. In an almond milk recipe, it comes down to two ingredients – almonds and water.
In the case of almonds, its best to go organic and raw if possible. Conventional almonds go through a fumigation, pasteurization, and/or irradiation process that effectively leaves the nuts “dead”, or nutrient deficient, as well as toxic. You will definitely pay a bit more for organic almonds, but in the end you can save on the final product.
Consider that my fresh, organic sprouted almond milk cost me $2.18/L to make, whereas the conventional, weeks and even months old non-sprouted almond milk in the store is typically is in the $2.25/L range. Not only do you save a few pennies, you have just provided your body with a serious upgrade.
As for water, make sure it is at least filtered. If you can get your hands on a spring or mineralized water, even better.
Soak Your Almonds
This is a very important step, and one that is skipped by 99% of every almond milk producer with product on the shelves.
Almonds contain natural enzyme inhibitors. This is nature’s way of preserving the life of the nut that falls off a tree and lays on the ground, waiting for water so it can sprout and grow. The enzyme inhibitors allow the almond to survive a period of time, until it receives moisture, which then releases the enzymes so it can come to life.
Soaking your almonds for 8-12 hours releases those enzymes, and effectively “sprouts” them, which makes the almonds much more digestible and alive. This not only releases the nutrients and allows your body to absorb them correctly, but it also helps eliminate digestive issues that come with many nuts.
During those 8-12 hours you will want to drain and rinse in the first few hours, then one more time when preparing to make the almond milk. * Note that the almonds will not actually grow a sprout, but rather, become swollen. You will know you have a good batch of almonds if they swell after 8 – 12 hours of soaking.
Blend Your Sprouted Almonds
Your next step is to add 1 cup of sprouted almonds to your blender and enough water to cover. Blend the mixture until smooth. Then fill the blender with enough water to make 4 to 5 cups (depending on desired strength). Blend again until you have the consistency of milk. Now you have your first batch of raw, organic almond milk ready! We are almost at the finished product…
Your almond milk is now very gritty and needs to be strained in order to enjoy a smooth and refined product.
There are a couple ways to accomplish this, but I recommend a nut mylk bag as it typically does the best job. Just make sure it is fine enough to sift out the pulp and allow the almond milk to flow through.
One way to accomplish this is to place the nut mylk bag or over top a 1 litre measuring cup that allows you to pour it directly into a container after. The almond milk will slowly sift through and leave a bit of pulp behind, which you can dehydrate and use as almond flour, or simply discard if you have no use for it.
This straining process should take you no more than 5 minutes with a good nut mylk bag and some gentle squeezing. You now have a litre of organic, sprouted, and fresh almond milk!
Freshly made almond milk can last in the fridge for 3 to 5 days before it starts to lose it’s freshness quickly.
Typically a litre of milk won’t last that long anyway, so this shouldn’t be a problem. If you have extra almonds you didn’t use, simply store them in the fridge and they will keep for a couple days until you need a new batch. You could also use them for salads and other recipes that require almonds.
There are also several additions you can make to your almond milk including dates to sweeten (or stevia), along with vanilla or cinnamon.
*Image of “almond milk” via Shutterstock