We live in one of the premier almond growing areas of America if not the premier area of the world. The San Joaquin Valley. Just down the road from us there are acres and acres of almond groves. So naturally I'm taking an interest in almonds. Just so you know, if you grow almonds you pronounce it "eh-muns". If you're a manufacturer or consumer it's "all-muns". Which are you?
I love almond milk. I started drinking it when I noticed that I got "phlegm-ish" (not "Flemish") after I drank cow's milk. Now that I have a really big market from which to get organic almonds I decided that I should make my own. My grandmother would not have made her own almond milk. She was from Illinois and almonds don't grow there. But if she had been from California I am 100% positive she would have made it. She was a homemade girl.
Making almond milk is super easy. Here's how I did it. This recipe makes about 2 cups. You make a little at a time since homemade doesn't last as long as store bought. It's not pasteurized.
2 cups raw almonds, preferably organic
3-4 cups water, plus more for soaking
Fine mesh strainer
Fine-mesh cheese cloth
If you didn't buy blanched almonds (and I didn't because blanched are oh-so-expensive) remove the skins by boiling water and then immersing the almonds in it for about 5 minutes. Test one. You're looking for the skin to slip off easily.
Once you've got them all skinned soak the almonds overnight or up to 2 days. Put them in a bowl and cover them with water. They will plump a bit as they absorb water so cover them with a little extra. Covered with a cloth or refrigerate for up to 2 days. The longer the almonds soak, the creamier the almond milk will be.
Drain the almonds and rinse them under cool running water. Discard the soaking water. It contains phytic acid which works against the body's ability to absorb nutrients.
Put the almonds in the blender and cover with 2 cups of water and depending on how thick it becomes as you blend add more water until it is the consistency you want it. You can always add more water later but you want enough water so the almonds don't turn into paste.
Blend at the highest speed for 2 minutes. You're looking for the almonds to be broken down into a very fine meal. The liquid should be white and opaque.
Pour the whole business into a fine mesh strainer. Stir the liquid to get as much milk out as you can and then put the meal into fine mesh cheesecloth. Clean your hands and then gather the cheese cloth around the almond meal and squeeze to extract as much almond milk as possible.
Taste the almond milk. If it tastes good to you, you're done. You can add sweetener or flavoring. I add a little bit of vanilla and honey — that's it.
Store the milk in a sealed container in the fridge. Try to use it right away just as you would any fresh homemade beverage. It hasn't been pasteurized and won't keep really long. That's the benefit, though. It hasn't had all the nutrients cooked out of it. Be aware that it will separate when stored. Just give it a good shake to mix it.
Use your imagination for what to do with the leftover almond meal. You can add it to cooked cereal, smoothies, and muffins as it is. I'm actually going to add some to a pie crust for a treat. You can also spread it out on a baking sheet and bake it in a low oven until completely dry (2 to 3 hours). Dry almond meal can be kept frozen for several months.
What will you do with your homemade almond milk?