First, kudos to you for deciding to make your own almond milk, most are satisfied with picking it up off of the shelves. Convenience is king. Unfortunately, our affinity for convenience puts our health in jeopardy. The additives found in the majority of today's brands often come with some harmful side effects. Making your own is always the best choice.
Now, on to the good stuff...
Choosing Your Almonds
Before we learn how to make almond milk, we need to discuss just which almonds work best. Generally, the rule is: "Use Raw Almonds"
What does "raw" mean? Raw almonds are untreated nuts that still contain their natural nutritional value. Their fats, enzymes, and other beneficial contents are intact.
There are almonds on the market that are being labeled "raw", but have undergone some processing, most frequently pasteurization.
Distributors are permitted to label these almonds raw, even though they are pasteurized. They are not required to release that information.
Does processing affect taste?
Well, if this is your first attempt to learn how to make almond milk, you may have limited room for comparison. If you've been exposed to really raw almonds, then you are aware of the difference.
Not only does pasteurization affect taste, but nutritional value as well. Some have suggested that it's effect on the nutritional value is the reason why distributors are required to pasteurize their almonds. Almonds are natural sources of Vitamin B17, which is extremely effective in cancer treatment. Pasteurization kills Vitamin B17. Others argue that it was a precautionary measure developed after a salmonella outbreak earlier this century. Draw your own conclusions, we're not suggesting anything. Moving on...
How do you distinguish the real from the fake raw almonds?
I tend to look for almonds not grown in the U.S. Perhaps that is a bit prejudiced, but it's been working. I just try to play it safe. There is one domestic farm, that I know of, that still distributes truly raw almonds.
If that's not the approach you wish to take, there are certain characteristics of truly raw almonds that may help. Unprocessed almonds are usually larger, flatter, and most notably, more money.
The Shopping List
Tip: I've found that if I ask the attendant how to make almond milk, they point me in the direction of the best quality ingredients. Most appreciate you seeking their expertise.
Here's what you'll need:
Step 1: Soak Your Nuts
Whether you are learning how to make almond milk, hemp milk, cashew milk, or any other nut milk, you must soak your nuts.
Soaking the nuts makes the blending process much easier on whatever equipment you may be using. Submerging the almonds in water also helps to release some of its enzymes, which is good news for your body.
How long should you soak? Well, I let my nuts soak over night, that way I know for sure they're just right for my blender. I would soak a minimum of 4 hours if you can't wait all night.
Step 2: Blend It Up
Once you've soaked your nuts, just put them in the blender. Add some water and you're ready to get started.
How much water? Well most suggest you follow the 3 to 1 rule. If you're using 1 cup of almonds, add 3 cups of water.
Depending on which sweetener you use, you may want to add it now. If you're working with dates, add them now, because they are tough to break down. When I use vanilla or honey, I usually mix it in after straining. That's just a personal preference, whenever you add your sweetener is totally up to you.
Blend until mixed well. The time will vary depending on the type of blender you are using. I usually blend for just over a minute.
Step 3: Strain It
This part of learning how to make almond milk can be quite fun. I usually get my kids involved, and let them have at it.
If you're using a sieve, place it over a bowl or any large container (to avoid a mess). Pour the mixture, in small amounts, into the sieve. Make sure you get every drop. Don't be afraid to get your hands dirty. Push the liquid through that pulp.
The nut bag method can be a great work out. Place the bag over a container (again, to make clean up much easier on yourself), pour the mixture into the bag, and SQUEEZE. Squeeze and twist the milk out there. Let me just say, since I've adopted this method, I can crack walnuts with my bare hands. Well, not exactly, but there's more definition in my arms. That's something.
What to do with the pulp? I actually save it for other recipes like maybe a smoothie or some ice cream. Get creative; it'll definitely save your wallet some aggravation.
Add it to your morning cereal, bake with it, or just treat your taste buds to a tall glass! However you use it, it's sure to be DELICIOUS!