How to Make Homemade Almond Milk
I’ve done a lot of crunchy things in my life…but my husband can attest to the fact that making almond milk from scratch has taken green living to a whole new level. Last month, I had an opportunity to meet with Veronica Bosgraaf, founder of Pure Bar (Organic, Gluten-Free Vegan Snack Bars). Her story is quite interesting…at the age of six, her daughter made the decision to become a vegetarian after visiting a petting zoo and making the connection between the animals she interacted with and the food on her plate. As she explored new ways to eat with her daughter, she saw a need for healthy vegetarian snacks. Together they worked to create snack bars using organic fruits and nuts free from pesticides.
During breakfast, we had an engaging conversation about the foods we eat. The topic of alternatives to cow’s milk came up, and I shared how both of my children drink Almond Milk due to food allergies. In fact, the amount of dairy consumed in our household is very minimal these days, since foods like ice cream, cheese, and even yogurt can be made with cow’s milk alternatives. But what exactly is in those foods? Is it really possible to take something like rice and make it into a cheese with the resulting food still being something “natural?”
We typically purchase Silk Almond Milk, and for the most part, the ingredients are recognizable: Filtered Water, Almonds, Cane Sugar, Sea Salt. But then we get to Locus Bean Gum, Sunflower Lecithin, and Gellan Gum. I had to do a bit of “Googling” to find out that these 3 ingredients are used to thicken, emulsify, and stabilize food products. While they seem to be pretty benign, I’m not entirely sure whether those ingredients are ok to consume on a daily basis.
Interestingly enough, many brands that sell almond milk actually include a thickening agent called Carrageenan. Since the safety of this ingredient has been questioned, I avoid it when possible. But a quick glance at my local store’s options for Almond Milk only resulted in one (Silk) that did not contain this ingredient. As we were discussing this very topic, Veronica explained to us how she makes her own almond milk. I was intrigued. Her recipe simply contains Coconut Water and Almonds blended and strained at a ratio of 2:1. It sounded so easy! But could I do it?
Since my son has had a sensitivity to coconut, I did some more research, and spoke to my friend Angela from Nine More Months. Her “recipe” simply includes filtered water and almonds, so I decided to make my own almond milk with a few “additions.”
- 1 Cup Raw Almonds
- 3 Cups Filtered Water
- 1/2 Tablespoon Agave Nectar
- 1 Vanilla Bean
- Soak the almonds in water overnight (approximately 8-12 hours)
- Drain the almonds
- Place them in a blender with 3 cups of filtered water and blend
- Add vanilla bean (sliced lengthwise to remove the seeds) and agave tot he almond milk and blend lightly until combined
- Refrigerate and serve
After going through the process of making almond milk from scratch, I have a few tips and pointers that I think will help streamline the process.
1. Be sure to use raw almonds (sprouted almonds do not need to be soaked)
2. Try to use a quality blender, such as a Vitamix
3. Consider investing in a nut milk bag if you plan to make almond milk at home regularly
4. Save the almond pulp and dry it out in the oven (lowest setting for 2-4 hours). Use the food processor to grind it up into almond meal and use it in breads or to coat fish.
5. Try adding cinnamon, maple syrup, chocolate or anything else you desire to give your almond milk a bit of flavor
6. Adjust the ratio of almonds and filtered water for a thicker or thinner milk
7. Remember that since there are no preservatives, the milk will only last 4 or 5 days. Consider doubling this recipe if you consume a lot of almond milk in one week.
8. Since there are no added vitamins or minerals, be sure that you (and your children) are getting essentials like Calcium and Vitamin D from other sources.
9. Be sure to shake the milk before using because it will separate.
Have you ever made homemade almond milk? I’d love to hear your stories and techniques!
For more information on Pure Bar, please click here.
Source: Rockin Mama