For as far back as I can remember, I’ve used nut-based milks in my cereal, cooking, etc. Earlier on, I was using mostly Soy milk until I read about the whole “spiking of estrogen levels” stuff. I never fully cut out soy in my diet, as I do embrace the benefits of it (protein, iron, fiber, Omega-3, my “man-boobs”…hahaha). But I did switch my nut milk of choice to Almond Milk a while back, as I preferred the taste over soy milk. Recently, I was recording with my band, Space Orphans, when my friend/band-mate Kelly had mentioned that most “packaged” Almond Milks were extremely watered down and lacked the nutrition of just eating a serving of plain almonds. I thought about this a bit and I agree that store bought almond milk is watered down and that a more nutritious one can be made from scratch. Also, if you make your own, you can re-purpose the almond pulp in other recipes so as not to waste the complete nutrition of those almonds. In any case, though, I don’t see Almond Milk as a substitute to simply eating 1/2 cup of almonds; and most people shouldn’t. Please, eat your nuts too!!! I see Almond Milk as a “vegan’s” substitute for dairy milk, in cereals, coffee, tea, golden milk and any other vegan recipes where a “milk” would be required.
With all of this in mind, I decided to do some more research and found out something shocking about the Almond Milk I buy. As I already figured, most of them have added water, sugars and salt. But then I found out about “carrageenan”, which is a natural ingredient in most store bought nut milks. It is derived from Red Seaweed and is used to keep liquids mixed and of a thicker consistency. Carrageenan has been found to have little to no nutritional value. There is research in the medical world that it has been proven to cause digestive issues such as colitis and other disorders. Since carrageenan is not GMO and can be included under the “organic” umbrella of products currently, this made it harder for me to identify as a potentially toxic ingredient. That said, I’ve been trying to avoid buying Almond Milk as much as possible and have been making my own recently. It requires very minimal time, effort and ingredients. When I first made it, I was amazed at how much better tasting it was compared to store bought. You can really tell it comes from almonds! It also has a nice, creamy texture that is suitable to use as a “light cream” in recipes and such. You should keep in mind, this recipe only makes about 2 cups (16 oz) and should not be kept in your fridge for more than a few days, as it will spoil much quicker than store bought. The main reason to only make 2 cups at a time (I learned the hard way), is that if you pour too much into the cheesecloth, it will spill over and spray everywhere when you squeeze it. If done right, making almond milk yourself takes less time than making a juice or smoothie and, man, is it worth it!
1 Cup of Organic Raw Almonds
2 Cups of Filtered Water (+ more for soaking almonds)
Cheesecloth or Nut Bag
Natural Sweetener of your choice (optional; I do mine completely unsweetened)
#3. BLEND WATER & ALMONDS
Fill your blender with 2 cups (16 oz) of fresh, filtered water. Add the almonds and put the lid on. Pulse the mixture a few times to start breaking up the almonds and then switch to the highest speed setting and blend for 2 full minutes.
#4. STRAIN MIXTURE INTO A BOWL
Resting a strainer over a medium sized bowl, line the inside of it with the cheesecloth and pour the mixture in. Collect all the hanging sides of the cheesecloth and bundle it all together. Gently begin to squeeze the bundle until the liquid is all strained out into the bowl beneath.
#5. JAR & COOL
Now pour the almond milk from the bowl (through the strainer again if pulpy) into a 16oz Mason jar. Screw the lid on tight and refrigerate immediately (after you take it outside and snap a glamor shot for Facebook!). Use within 2-3 days.