Almond milk is the absolute easiest thing you are currently not making. For the past few weeks I have been making batches and keeping them in mason jars in the refrigerator. My favorite thing to do is combine a cup of the chocolate almond milk, which can be a bit strong, with some coconut milk for a nighttime treat. It's creamy, delicious, and the coconut milk is just sweet enough to make that chocolate sing. My kids think it's chocolate milk. Shhhh, don't tell them.
I started to make my own almond milk after a friend (hi, Susan!) asked me about carageenan, a controversial ingredient in most store bought plant milks. After lots of research and talks with my husband, we decided we didn't drink enough store bought almond milk to really harm us in a big way, but still, I hate knowing an ingredient in something I buy is anything less than good for me. I'm no expert but there are rumors abound that carageenan can help cause cancer. Not true from what we understand. It can help promote tumor growth if you already have one, but not cause one to start. Like I said, I'm no expert and I encourage you to do your own research if this is something you are interested in. Still, I started to make my own milk. We still buy store bought almond milk because we need the fortified vitamins and minerals like iron, vitamin A, calcium, riboflavin, magnesium, copper and zinc, but now I supplement some with homemade. Homemade is still super nutritious for you boasting calcium, phosperous, protein, good fat, and fiber.
So, how do you make it? First you must soak your almonds in a mason jar or other container overnight (this is only so the almonds can get soft so they will be easier to blend). When morning comes, drain your soaking water out because it will be cloudy with almond residue and slightly bitter.
Next, blend your almonds with fresh water thoroughly and voila! You have almond milk!
Now, all thats left to do is strain the almond meal out using a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth or even a coffee strainer in a pinch, and then add your flavorings. Make the almond milk as sweet as you would like. Store almond milk in the refrigerator until ready to use. Don't throw away that almond meal! It can be used in smoothies or muffins and pancake batters!
Easy peisy, right? And so many options. Make the almond milk, choose your flavorings (included here are recipes for chocolate, coconut, vanilla, and cinnamon). Savor and enjoy.
Homemade Vanilla Almond Milk - And Three Variations
adapted from www.simplespoonful.com
makes 4-5 cups almond milk
1 1/2 cups raw almonds, soaked overnight in water and rinsed off
4-5 cups fresh water ( I prefer 4 c. but some people like theirs watery)
1-1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons agave nectar or honey, or 1/2 packet of stevia
a pinch of sea salt (you must use salt, it brings out the flavor)
Blend almonds and fresh water together until well blended. Strain out almond milk with a fine mesh sieve, cheesecloth or coffee filter into a clean container. Pack up leftover almond meal for another use. Pour almond milk back into the blender and add the vanilla, sweetener and seas salt. Blend to combine and pour back into clean container. Store in the refrigerator for 1 week, or longer. If the almond milk smells sour, it's time to go.
For Chocolate Almond Milk: Add 4 tablespoons of good quality cocoa powder and increase the agave nectar or honey to 4 tablespoons total (or stevia to 1 1/2 packets-about 2 teaspoons), and increase the vanilla by a 1/2 teaspoon.
For Coconut Almond Milk: Add 1/2 cup unsweetened dried shredded coconut to the almonds and fresh water at the beginning of blending and blend together. Strain as directed and add in the same flavorings as you would for vanilla almond milk. You could also use sweetened coconut for this since most people sweeten their milk anyway. Just taste first before adding more sweetener to it.
For Cinnamon Almond Milk: Add 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon to vanilla almond milk, and more to taste.
For Unsweetened Almond Milk: Leave out the sweeteners.