I love almond milk.
I find it to be the perfect base for smoothies, to pour over home made granola and to use as a base in raw desserts and soups. However, I decided a few years ago that store bought almond milk just wasn’t cutting it. It was bland; when you drank it just by itself you realised that it didn’t even taste like almonds; plus the “original” or “vanilla” flavours are super high in sugar. All this made sense when I looked at the ingredient list and saw that actual almonds amounted to less than 8% of the “almond milk,” while a bunch of unpronounceable preservatives and added synthetic vitamins constituted the rest.
I had thought that making it from scratch would be too time intensive, but after I asked a friend who was a raw food chef for some tips, it seemed easy. You just needed the right tools.
I’ve come a long way since that first batch of almond milk 3 years ago. In fact, today not just almond milk, but hazelnut, pumpkin seed, sunflower seed and macadamia nut milks are all part of our family’s repertoire and I don’t travel anywhere without that essential kitchen tool, a “nut milk” bag. I know… 🙂
But this mesh bag has become indispensable and is usually packed in my suitcase even before my clothes.
So how do I make almond milk? Here’s my recipe, it’s simple, delicious and I hope fool proof. But if it doesn’t quite work out the first time, definitely try it again. The taste and deliciousness will convert you and you’ll never reach for one of those store bought tetrapaks again. I promise.
Cos, seriously, this is what I do even when I’m on the road. These pictures are of my fresh batch made today at the villa we’re staying at in the Bukit, Bali.
A few other tips. Use great ingredients.
i.e. Use organic, unpasteurised, i.e. raw almonds, sea salt or himalayan pink salt, dates, organic vanilla beans and filtered water. If you don’t want sweet almond milk, omit the dates and the vanilla bean. And experiment. Have fun. Try adding cinnamon, or cardamom occasionally for a change of flavour. Add some raw cacao powder for a special treat – you can even freeze that mixture into perfect summer popsicles for your kids.
We are not vegan, but I have never loved dairy much, even as a child and now with a toddler of my own I’ve noticed that he can experience some congestion when he ups his dairy intake, which was always an issue I’ve suffered my whole life. So I’ve been experimenting with ways of making him delicious smoothies and non-dairy treats so he doesn’t crave “cow milk.” It’s a journey but we’re on a good path.
Here’s what you need.
- 1 cup of organic almonds, soaked. This is the only step that you need to set aside some time for. Ideally you want to soak the almonds for 8 hours to activate their enzymes and also soften them enough to blend easily into liquid. Yet in a pinch, you could soak them for an hour or two.
- 1 pinch sea salt
- 3 mejdool dates or similar
- 1 vanilla bean: If you’ve never used a pure vanilla bean before, you’re in for a treat. Here’s the best way to get the oozy vanilla paste out from the inside. Slice off the ends of the bean. The vertically (or longitudinally) slice the bean in half with a sharp knife. Use the knife to scrape out the dark vanilla bean paste. It will add beautiful dark flecks to your nut milk and offer a sweet, vanilla taste that is more robust and rounded than vanilla extract.
- 3 cups filtered water
- Drain and rinse the soaked almonds. Pour into a blender.
- Add the sea salt, dates and scraped vanilla bean paste.
- Add 2 cups of water and blend. Ideally you have a vitamix or some such high-speed blender, though as I’ve discovered with all our travels, usually any blender will do – you just have to be patient and perhaps turn it on and off a few times to prevent the motor from overheating!
- Once you have a liquid mixture and the almonds are finely ground, you will need to whip out that nut milk bag. This is a bag in cotton or nylon that has a fine mesh, one that is not as fine as a cheesecloth and you should find it at most health food stores.
- Pour the nut mixture through the sieve like bag. Most of the liquid will pass through quite easily until you get to the sediment at the bottom. At this point, you may have to use your hands and squeeze out the liquid. What’s left is a slightly sweet almond meal that you can use in a vegan dessert. I often add it to a batch of bliss balls.
- And that’s it. Add one more cup of filtered water to the almond mylk.
- Store it in a jar and it will keep in a fridge for up to about 3 days.
I enjoyed mine with some granola this morning and soaked a few chia seeds in a cupful to make a chia seed pudding. My son and husband drank theirs’ up happily today in a cinnamon, cocoa, almond and banana smoothie. 🙂I do hope you try the recipe and if you do, please write and tell me if you’re a convert!!! Namaste + aloha from Bali, where we’re in the midst of teaching a 200 hour Blissology Level 1 Yoga Teacher Training. ps. Here is a great step by step post at Oh She Glows if you’re a super visual learner.