The day has arrived!
I declared in the comments of this post that I planned to make my own almond milk. Unusually, I followed up on that bold statement within a few weeks. Partly because I had a little extra time this week, and mostly because I ran out of store-bought almond milk. In any case, I’m not crazy about the extra ingredients in the store-bought stuff. Check out the ingredient list on my latest store-bought almond milk:
There’s some calcium, vitamin D, vitamin A, even vitamin E. Not crazy about the addition of carrageenan, a common thickener and stabilizer, and lecithin, an emulsifier. I understand why these ingredient are used in a product shipped over long distances – no one wants separated almond milk, after all – but for me, they are unnecessary (and I’m not even mentioning the addition of “natural flavors”, which is so vague as to be meaningless – well, okay, I did mention it. Once). Why consume all these ingredients when I can easily make my own almond milk?
The handy-dandy recipe is at the bottom of this post (based on this recipe). The following pictures illustrate the steps.
(1) Soak 1 cup raw almonds in 2 cups water overnight in refrigerator:
(2) Drain. Add almonds to blender with 2-1/2 cups fresh water and 3 or 4 dates (use other dried fruits like apricots or cranberries for a unique flavor, if desired, or leave out fruit altogether). Blend:
(3) Pour into cheesecloth-lined bowl:
(4) Being careful not to let almond milk flow above the cheesecloth, gather together tops of cheesecloth and press “ball” to release milk. The almond solids will remain in the cheesecloth.
(5) Add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract to almond milk, if desired. Stir. Store in closed container in refrigerator.
I imagine the leftover almond bits would be great in a baked item, like these chocolate flax muffins. Swap leftover almond for the ground flax seed and you’re all set.
If you have trouble straining out the almond milk without making a mess or getting almond bits in your milk (like I did), you can strain it again. Or you can be like me and ignore the stray almond bit or two. Or two hundred.
See those brown specks? Yeah. Not supposed to be there.
Here’s where I show off my awesome photography skillz (i.e. if you can’t think of an original way to photograph food, scatter pretty ingredients around it and call it a day):
Bonus points for using Powerpoint to insert an artsy title.
The Homemade Almond Milk Showdown:
*Tastes more “almond-y”.
*Almond, water, vanilla, and dates. That’s it.
*How often do you get to use cheesecloth? Exactly.
*Thinner (for me, that’s a pro since I know I’m not getting any extra thickeners).
*Not fortified with calcium or vitamin D. Not a problem for me since I get plenty from other sources, but something to keep in mind if you depend on almond milk for your calcium.
*Cost. Almonds are pretty expensive, but I plan on buying in bulk from Restaurant Depot later this week.
Overall, I definitely prefer homemade.
Homemade Almond Milk
Prep Time: 10 min + overnight soak
Keywords: blender raw beverage vegan dairy-free
Ingredients (2-1/2 cups)
- 1 cup raw almonds
- 4-1/2 cups water, divided
- 3 – 4 dates, pitted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
Soak almonds in 2 cups water overnight in refrigerator. The next day, drain almonds, then place them into blender with 2-1/2 cups fresh water and dates. Blend until smooth.
Drape cheesecloth over large bowl and pour almond mixture into it. Gather together tops of cheesecloth and press almond milk through, leaving almond solids inside cheesecloth. Discard almond solids or set aside for baking.
Stir vanilla extract into almond milk, if desired. Store in covered container in refrigerator.
Q: Have you ever tried making your own non-dairy milk?
What’s the biggest kitchen mess you’ve ever made?
Edited to add: I tried homemade almond milk in my Bircher muesli this morning and it was delicious! Without emulsifiers the milk separated, but one good stir was enough to bring it back to perfection.