Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Home Made Almond Milk

Making the switch from cow's milk is pretty easy given all the great options in grocery stores. What's not so great about the other options is the price. I only nurse Logan at night now (and occasionally during the day when he's cranky, pulling at my shirt and screaming "bubbies!"), so he sucks down those cartons in no time. While we will drink soy milk every now and then, I don't feel comfortable giving it to Logan since soy is full of things like hormone mimicking phytoestrogens and enzyme inhibitors that block mineral absorption. You can read more about the adverse health effects of soy here. I found almond milk to be a tasty substitute. Almonds are packed with protein, Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E and calcium, but even the plain, unsweetened almond milk contains 7 grams of sugar. I decided to make my own.

I've made home made Nutella by grinding up hazelnuts before. Seeing how creamy the nuts became inspired me to do the same to almonds. I looked it up online, and browsed through a few recipes before deciding to use one and a half cups of almonds and four cups of water. I began the process by soaking organic almonds I bought from Stop and Shop in one cup of water overnight. Soaking the almonds not only makes them easier to grind, but it makes them easier to digest, thereby ensuring maximum absorption of nutrients.
This morning I added the almonds, along with the water they soaked in, to the blender. I let them grind for a minute or so before adding three more cups of water and letting the blender run for a couple more minutes. Then came the hard part. No matter how long I let it blend there were still little bits of almond in  the mixture. Filtering them with cheese cloth over a pitcher seemed easy, but the mixture was so thick that it took forever! I kept having to squeeze out the cheese cloth and empty the solids from it. Overall it produced about three cups of delicious almond milk!

I will definitely be keeping almonds in the house from now on to make this again. I'll try to come up with    a more efficient method of filtering for next time, but if anyone has any suggestions please let me know!

Home Made Almond Milk
  • 1 1/2 cups of organic almonds
  • 4 cups of water, divided

Soak the almonds in one cup of water overnight, or for at least 8 hours. Pour the almonds and the soaking water in a blender and blend at a high speed until the almonds appear mostly chopped -about 1 minute. Add the other 3 cups of water and blend for another 2 to 3 minutes, until a white foam appears at the top. Filter through a cheese cloth and chill. Done!

The almonds taste great on their own, but Andrew added about a teaspoon of organic, fair trade cocoa to his glass for a chocolate variety. Grocery stores also sell vanilla flavors. This can be made by adding a small amount of pure vanilla extract, to taste.

Update: 2/16/12
As my friend Lorraine informed me this morning, it's "national almond day". I guess Hallmark (in an effort to sell more greeting cards, maybe?) has made every day a national holiday. Yes, it's silly, but I never turn down an opportunity to celebrate anything, So happy national almond day everyone! I've been meaning to post an update for a couple days now, so I guess today is the perfect time.

I didn't measure it, but it seemed
to make a lot more.
Andrew and I finally got a new juicer, so my mom can have hers back now. I had almonds soaking to make almond milk with, but was feeling unmotivated. Straining the blended almonds through a cheese cloth was so tedious. I figured I would try throwing them in the juicer. I don't know why I never thought of it before.. it was so easy! I soaked a cup of almonds overnight in water like usual, but instead of putting them in the blender, I threw them in the juicer. Alternate between throwing in almonds and water (3 cups for every cup of almonds), and you have almond milk in less than a tenth of the time!

And don't throw out the leftover almond pulp! Scrape it out of the scrap container and spread it over the fruit roll tray that comes with most dehydrators. Leave that in the dehydrator until it's completely dry, about 4 hours. When done, blend it through a blender until you're left with a fine powder (I used the Baby Bullet), and voila! You have almond flour. Not sure what I'll be using that for yet, but I'm sure it will come in handy eventually.

1 comment:

  1. I made another batch this morning with a different filtering method that was a lot easier. I dumped the contents of the blender in a colander over a bowl. I set the colander with the solids in it aside, and filtered the milk in the bowl over a cheesecloth. It filtered a lot faster without the rest of the solids in it. I ended by wrapping the solids from the colander in the cheesecloth and squeezing out the remaining milk. So much quicker and easier!