I'll start by saying that I am not against cows milk. It's tasty stuff and I do enjoy half-and-half in my coffee. I also really like ice cream. But I try to keep it at a minimum in my diet, especially during the winter, because I definitely do notice I get more mucus-y and congested after consuming it. Do you? Have you ever kept track? Try that out and see what you see.
Today, I'll tell you how to make your own almond milk and why you want to.
I started using alterna-milks back in 2000 when I was a total hippie. I started with carob-flavored rice milk. It had a ton of sugar but I didn't read labels for their ingredients back then. I just looked at calories. 100 calories per cup. Great. I had no idea what was good or not good. I just consumed.
Things are very different now but I had to start somewhere. Over the years, I've learned that it matters what's in my milk. It matters about everything I eat, really, so I read labels and make sure I know what I'm consuming.
When I started drinking almond milk on the regular a couple of years ago, I didn't notice the long list of ingredients on the label. Things like: tapioca starch, carrageenan and sunflower lecithin. Those are mostly natural ingredients used as emulsifiers or thickening agents, so it is shelf-stable and resembles the texture of cows milk. The sweetened versions contain 15-20 grams of sugar* in an 8 fl oz (1 cup) serving! That's about 5 teaspoons of sugar, friends. Just in one cup of milk. And it's cane sugar that's been added in, not the naturally-occurring lactose found in cows milk.
Makes a big difference, huh?
A couple of years ago, I learned how to make my own almond milk to wipe out all those extra ingredients and added cane sugar. I've refined the recipe and process a bit and I am sharing it with you so you can reduce your milk intake. Why would you want to do that?
Cold and flu season is approaching, yes? Less mucus means less sinus pressure means less suffering. Savvy? Good.
HOMEMADE ALMOND MILK
Ingredients 3 cups raw almonds (preferably organic) 7 cups of water per 1.5 cups of soaked almonds 2 pitted medjool dates
Tools heavy-duty blender 2 fine-mesh wire strainers large airtight container
Instructions 1) Cover almonds with fresh, filtered water in a glass dish or jar and soak for 2-3 days in fridge. 2) Rinse and drain. Set aside. 3) Scoop 1.5 cups almonds and add one pitted date to blender and ~7 cups fresh water. 4) Blend on high for 5 seconds. 5) Pour through 2 mesh strainers into airtight container. 6) Let the almond pulp drain completely and toss it in the strainer to remove excess liquid. Store in small airtight container. 7) REPEAT.
This should make about a half-gallon (64 ounces) of almond milk that you want to use within a week or so. You can use it with oatmeal, for smoothies, in tea or coffee or for baking!
What can you do with the wet almond pulp?
Here's the best part of making your own almond milk--you get *free* almond flour!
Make sure the excess liquid is squeezed out and spread it on a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper. Bake in the oven at the lowest temperature possible for 3 hours. Make sure you spread it around so it dries out well. Then, once it is dried out and cooled, blend it to reach your desired consistency for baking!
I 32 oz store-bought container of almond milk (which may or may not be organic): $2.99
3 cups of raw almonds: range from $6.49 (non-organic)- $8.99 (organic)/pound yields 64 ounces of milk PLUS ~3 cups almond meal/flour for baking.
When I realized that the boxed milk might be a tad cheaper but wasn't actually 100% almond milk it was just a no-brainer for me. I'm paying less money because I'm actually paying for all those thickening agents and added sugar (in the sweetened varieties), not just pure almond milk.
I'll spend a tad more on whole foods ingredients, put in a little labor and get a LOT more in the end.
*info courtesy of BlueDiamond.com
When will you give this a try? Did this post help you feel a bit more confident to make the jump to making your own almond milk?
I welcome your comments and questions below.
NOTE: someone already asked me for recipes for other 'milks' due to almond allergies. I don't have those available...yet. ;)