For several years now I have been on and off dairy, and since I have not been able to find sugar free almond milk in my local health food store, I have been making my own. And truthfully, I have tried quite a few non-dairy bevarages that come in cartons, and never found one (except for coconut "water", which is delicious but very high in fat and calories) that I would want to consume on a regular basis, so homemade almond milk is the answer. Yes, it does take a few minutes or more to prepare, but you can make small quantities and I do think doing your own processing is always preferable!
Almond milk only keeps for a few days, so I generally make the amount that fits into the jar you see above, which uses 1/2 cup almonds. This works for me as I am the only one drinking the almond milk, you can certainly make more if necessary. Also, if you want to make almond milk that will serve as cream for your coffee, you may prefer it just a bit thicker, so simply use less water.
- 1/2 cup almonds, soaked for 8 hours in water, or blanched
- 4 cups water
- 1 large date (optional)
- a splash of vanilla
Add almonds, date (if using), and half of the water to a strong blender and blend. Strain almond milk using a fine strainer over a bowl, or a piece of cheese cloth inside a strainer over a bowl.) A "nut bag" for making nut milk would also be great probably, though all I had available to me is a large tea strainer, which works fine, though I'm not able to get every last drop out of the pulp. Return the remaining pulp to the blender one more time and repeat with the remainder of the water.
If you will be using the almond milk for coffee and it bothers you if it separates, I just read that one can heat the milk to avoid this happening. Heat on low and simmer for 15 minutes. Not sure if this extra step is worth the trouble, but just keep it in mind. Also, the milk keeps for no more than 5 days, and possibly less which is why this recipe is for a small quantity.
Almond milk really is delicious as a milk substitute with say oats or quinoa, or granola, and I have to say in my opinion it's the only milk substitute (ah yes, except for that aforementioned coconut) that really actually stands on its own taste wise. So giving up cow's milk really can be done with minimal discomfort, yippee!
Note: I'll admit, there are days when I make almond milk without soaking the almonds, which just means i believe that you won't benefit from all the nutrients in the nut. I'm not sure if there is anything on the outside of the nut that one is getting rid of by soaking it, will have to look into this!