You will forget about shop bought almond milk once you have made it yourself! Just get yourself a nut milk bag or a muslin cloth and start squeezing all the goodness out of those healthy pearls.
Unless you buy almond milk from a reputable supplier for a massive price tag, you will never be sure of what you are getting – the percentage of nuts is often minimal (this explains the rather watery taste). Further, the nuts may not be soaked beforehand (read below why this is important) and they will be packed with artificial sweeteners, emulsifiers and additives to prolong shelf life – obviously! But what will strike you most is the wonderful taste of homemade almond milk – drink it plain and it will taste like nothing found in any supermarket!
I’ve incorporated this post into my Basic Skills Section as I am using almond milk a fair amount and think it actually deserves a post of its own. Here are all the recipes I am currently using it for:
Almonds & their Health Benefits
Almonds are actually not classified as nuts but rather as seeds of the fruit of the almond tree. Just like the peach or plum, they belong to the family of the drupe – a synonym for a stone fruit. They are very rich in vitamin E (the most important fat soluble antioxidant), contain lots of healthy fats and fibres and are a good source of the minerals potassium, magnesium and zinc. They can help you…:
- lowering cholesterol: thanks to their high content of cholesterol lowering monounsaturated fatty acids.
- controlling blood sugar: the intake of magnesium can lower blood sugar levels and improve the function of insulin.
- support health skin: vitamin E is often used on scares and burns as it can accelerate the healing process through the reduction of the oxidative stress. For instance, stretch marks can be reduced by the ingestion and by the topical application of vitamin E.
- lose weight: being low in carb but high in both protein and fibre, they can increase your satiety making you eat less.
- improve cardiovascular health: high levels of antioxidants can protect the cells from oxidative damage.
The brown skin of the almond contains enzyme inhibitors that prevent the nut from germinating as long as it hasn’t found the proper surrounding to do so – this can be in form of sunlight or moisture. These enzyme inhibitors make it more difficult for your body to absorb all the nutrients and minerals, hence almonds are difficult to digest. Soaking almonds will rid the almond of these enzyme inhibitors, thus unlocking more health benefits and rendering them more digestible. Some call this step ‘activating’.
Just soak your almonds or any other nuts and seeds in double the amount of filtered water. Leave covered to rest at room temperature for 6-8 hours or even overnight. Rinse and drain well. In case you can’t use them straightaway, store them in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days – this can come in quite handy if you don’t know when you have the time to make the nut milk.
To peel or not to peel
This will cause a healthy debate amongst nutritionists! Some accounts tell you to peel the almonds after soaking because the skin contains enzyme inhibitors which could prevent our own enzymes from working properly and from breaking down the food we are eating. Others tell you that soaking is enough to get rid of those enzyme inhibitors and that the skin actually does contain flavonoids which combine with the vitamin E in their meat, thereby doubling their antioxidant impact. To be totally honest…having peeled every single almond in the past and seeing how time consuming it is – I dread this step and don’t think it is worth it – I have concluded that making your own almond milk is enough!!!
Almond milk, besides soy milk, is most probably the best known of all the dairy free alternatives. But have you already thought about pistachio, macadamia or walnut milk? If you are not a huge nut fan, why not produce your own hemp or sunflower milk? As ever…the sky is the limit so go get yourself a nut milk bag and let your imagination freewheel. I’d be curious to find out what you come up with.
makes 750ml / 3 cups
150g / 1 cup organic raw almonds
pinch of Himalayan or sea salt
high speed blender
nut milk bag or muslin cloth
- Put the almonds in a bowl. Add at least the double amount of filtered water. Cover with cling film or a tea towel. Set aside and let soak for 6-8 hours or overnight at room temperature.
- Rinse well and drain the almonds. Put into your blender with a pinch of salt and 750ml / 3 cups of filtered water. Blend until fine – depending on your blender this can take 1-2min.
- Strain through your milk bag or muslin cloth into a big bowl or jug. Squeeze until you have got all the milk out.
- Pour the milk into a glass bottle and keep in the fridge for up to 3 days. Shake before use.
Tips / Variations:
- What do I do with the almond pulp: add it to your smoothie, cakes, cookies, dips etc. or discard it on your compost. You may as well leave it in your milk for extra texture.
- Add flavour: why not add a bit of excitement with vanilla extract, cinnamon, honey or dates!
- Use different nuts: ever thought of pistachio or macadamia nut milk?!? Yummm…
- Soak ahead: after the soaking and rinsing you can store the almonds in the fridge in an airtight container for a few days.
- Change the consistency: make it creamier by adding less water or make it thinner by adding more water to the blender.
Print recipe here: Almond Milk – Recipe