Almond milk is a dairy alternative that became popular a number of years ago and has continued to gain traction since then. This healthy and delicious drink now lines the shelves of grocery stores and is a staple in many households. However, did you know that you can easily make your own homemade almond milk rather than buying it from the store? Read on to find out the benefits of doing so and how you can make your own!
Tools and Materials:
1 cup of raw almonds
Pinch of sea salt
5 cups filtered water
Large bowl for soaking
Nut milk bag, cheesecloth or thin, clean dish towel
Bowl for straining
Jar or bottle for storage
Vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean (optional)
2 pitted dates (optional)
2 tablespoons cocoa powder (optional)
1/2 cup fresh berries (optional)
What is Almond Milk?
In case you’re not so sure what almond milk even is, the explanation of this dairy substitute is actually quite simple. It is an alternative to traditional cow’s milk that is derived from—you guessed it—almonds. This substance can be used wherever you’d use regular milk—in cereal, coffee, or consumed on its own. This milk has a range of benefits associated with it, from being low in calories and sugar, rich in vitamin E, and proving to be a good source of calcium all while being lactose-free, there’s no reason not to indulge in almond milk!
What Are the Benefits of Making Your Own Almond Milk?
Since it’s so easy to acquire almond milk at the store, you may be wondering why you’d want to go through the trouble of making your own. Doing so has a host of benefits though. First, it allows you to better control the ingredients that are going into the almond milk that you consume. Store bought almond milk—while certainly healthy—sometimes contain carrageenans, which are associated with adverse side effects at times. For those concerned with what they put in their body, concocting your own almond milk is an easy way to focus on using only organic and fresh ingredients.
Another reason to make your own almond milk is to take advantage of the fact that you can customize the flavor. When you make your own, you can control exactly how sweet the milk is or you can add in additional flavors if you so choose. Many think that homemade almond milk even has a better taste!
Making Your Own Almond Milk
Making your own almond milk takes only a few simple steps and ingredients, outlined below.
Step 1 - Select Your Almonds
The best almond variety to use are organic, raw almonds. While virtually all varieties of these nuts contain nutrients that provide health benefits, almonds that are roasted or salted have likely been roasted in oil. To avoid the addition of unnecessary oil and sodium in your finished product, avoid using these variations of almonds.
Step 2 - Soak Your Almonds
First, soak your almonds in cool water overnight or in very hot water for one to two hours. For every cup of almonds used, soak them in five cups of filtered water. If you prefer your milk thicker, use a bit less than that. For thinner milk, use more.
Step 3 - Blend Your Ingredient
For this step, you’ll want to use a high-speed blender. Place the soaked almonds, water, and a pinch of sea salt to the blender. This is also where you’ll want to include any flavor add-ins, depending on your preference. If you’d like the milk to have a vanilla flavor, use a teaspoon of vanilla extract or a vanilla bean. If you’d like the milk to be on the sweeter side, add two whole pitted dates here.
For a more unique and tangy berry flavor, add a half cup of fresh berries into the mix. Finally, to make chocolate "milk", add two tablespoons of cocoa powder to the blender at this step. Blend the mixture for a couple minutes until it has a creamy and smooth consistency.
Step 4 - Strain the Mixture
In this step, you need to use a nut milk bag, a cheesecloth, or a thin dish towel to strain the mixture to rid it of almond pieces. Lay the bag or dish towel over a mixing bowl, pouring the milk mixture onto the rag. Lift the rag by the corners and squeeze to wring the liquid into the bowl.
Step 5 - Transfer and Store
It’s as easy as that—your milk is now done and should be transferred to a covered bottle or jar and placed in the fridge. While the mixture will keep for several days when stored properly, it’s best consumed fresh. If the ingredients separate in the fridge during storage, simply shake it up before serving as this is usual.
Now all that’s left to do is for you to enjoy your delicious and homemade almond milk along with its vast range of health benefits.