Making Homemade Almond Milk
I’ve been using almond milk for my main milk substitute for a couple of years now. It has replaced the previous candidates of soy and coconut, and seems to be making itself permanent. It makes par for a baking substitute, and I honestly prefer it on my oatmeal to anything else. Unfortunately, it comes in the tetrapak milk containers. I’ve always been jealous of real milk drinkers’ ability to buy their milk in reusable glass jars. It seems like a simple, environmental way of doing things. There’s hardly any waste, no plastic containers involved, and you get fresh milk, what more could you want?
A couple years ago, I read Steph Davis’ blog on making her own soy milk and became inspired. I love getting food and cooking ideas from Steph, who is a vegan. Unfortunately, my motivation stopped dead in it’s tracks when I realized that I needed to buy another appliance. I’m not a big collector of stuff, especially things made primarily of plastic. Add to that a tiny kitchen in Yosemite, and there is no room for another appliance in my life. So, like any unmotivated person, I continued to dutifully purchase the organic unsweetened almond milk in the tetrapak week after week. Yes, every time I threw away the container I felt guilty, but until something better came along, I was stuck in my routine.
Luckily for me, a couple weeks ago, my friend Ali saved me from my complacent doldrums of almond milk. Ali works at Good Eggs, where ideas of good food are as plentiful as a sunny California day. She had made some delicious almond milk the previous night and was giving out delicious samples. I was ready to hear how she used her fancy schmancy milk maker, when she said, “and then I put it in the blender and that was it!”
“What?! A blender?!” I said. “Like a normal, everyone has a blender, blender? I have one of those!”
I was so excited I could hardly contain myself. She had a simple recipe (not a paragraph of ingredients like you get with any store bought milk substitute) and a blender. That was it. No frill or fluff in her amazing almond milk. The only hang up for me was the Vitamix blender she used to create the milk. I have a standard run of the mill blender, but figured it was at least worth a try before I acquiesced into my old tetrapak routine.
Below is her wonderful recipe (it is actually her friend Jamie’s – who has better ideas for good food and good living than just about anyone). I just made my first batch from my “normal” blender and it turned out fabulous! Next time I might add some cashews to mix it up. Enjoy!
2 cups organic raw almonds
5 cups water
4 dates (pitted)
Soak almonds overnight in a bowl of water. Make sure to change the water a couple of times while they are soaking. In the morning, rinse the almonds very well. Place the almonds and 5 cups fresh water in the blender. Blend until smooth. Poor mixture into a nut milk bag (which can be found at most health food stores) inside a large bowl. Squeeze the nuts until all of the milk comes out (toast extra nuts for salads or cereal, or compost). Pour the liquid back into the blender and add the dates. Blend until smooth. Voila!
The milk will separate a bit as it sits. You can add some all natural organic lecithin if you want to prevent that. I don’t mind shaking my milk before I drink it, so I just kept it as is.