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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Almond Milk

In answer to my previously posted milk dilemma, I have found almond milk.  At first I tried the vanilla and original brands at Trader Joes.  Having never had almond milk before, I figured if I didn't like it I could just use it in smoothies or baking and go back to cow's milk.  I gave them both a try though and ended up actually liking the original flavor pretty well.  The vanilla was too strong for my liking.  But me liking almond milk??  WHO KNEW??

After doing more research though, I decided that most store bought almond milk has a lot of added ingredients that I didn't need and it was kind of pricey just for milk.  That and the way they process it gets rid of a lot of the nutrients that come from the almonds (or so some websites say).

So I decided to give homemade almond milk a go because then I knew exactly how it was being made and what was going into it.  That and the sense of accomplishment from making your own almond milk is always a bonus and it's cheaper =)

Turns out that it was successful!  Why do you ask?  For three reasons...

  1. EASY to make.  Soak overnight, cut pits out of dates, add water, blend, strain, done.
  2. You can change it up however you want it (add flavors, make it more creamy/thick or less creamy/thick, more sweet or less sweet...etc.)
  3. It satisfies my milk needs...and trust me I have them (cereal, chocolate milk, hot chocolate, milk in cooking, milk in smoothies, milkshakes, milk and cookies)







Here is how I made it:
  • Soaked 1 cup of raw almonds in water overnight (at least 8 hours), then drained the water, rinsed and drained the water again.
  • Pitted 3 dates
  • Combined almonds, 3 dates, 4 cups of water, and a pinch of salt.  Blend for 2 minutes.  (No I do not have a fancy blender...in fact I have a very cheap blender and it still blended the almonds)
  • Rubber banded cheesecloth over a bowl and pored milk in.  Let sit until most milk had strained then lifted cheesecloth and squeezed out the rest of the liquid.  
  • Put in fridge. 
  • Done.
Here are some alternative options:
- Blanch the almonds before and take the skins off before soaking.  This makes the almond milk whiter and less almondy tasting.
- Add vanilla or other flavors (there are a lot of websites about making almond milk)
- Add more or less water.  The more water makes it thinner (like skim milk) and less water makes it creamier (like whole milk)
- Simmer the almond milk after.  I need to do this because I am actually allergic to raw almonds and I need to cook the milk before I refrigerate it so it doesn't make my throat itch.
- Buy a nut milk bag...this makes for better straining (less pieces of almond skin) and it's reusable

Almond milk...you ain't so bad after all =) 





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