Ah Almond milk, freshly strained with a frothy layer on the top… I love adding almond milk to my porridge, smoothies, evening chai or just enjoying it straight from the jar.
This basic recipe is as simple as blending 3 ingredients: Almonds, water and dates.
Did you know Almonds are one of the most nutritious tree nuts? They are a great source of protein and fatty acids, vitamin E and B vitamins, as well as a wonderful source of Calcium (as long as they have been soaked).
Why bother with the soaking? Soaking will off course make our process a lot easier as the almonds will be softer and juicier than the dry ones. But there is another very important reason to soak them. A raw almond is a seed in its dormant state. Clever nature wants to keep it intact without germinating into a plant unless the perfect time arrives. While the seed is dormant or “sleeping”, it has two main natural substances which allow it to remain intact: phytic acid and a whole group of enzyme inhibitors.
Water essentially tells the seed it’s time to start the sprouting process. This is why we soak almonds overnight, to activate them and wake them up to life!
Soaking helps to remove the phytic acid that would otherwise remain bound to minerals such as calcium, making it difficult to absorb. It also neutralizes the enzyme inhibitors that will make it much easier to digest. Off course a few raw nuts will never do you harm, but if you have time to soak them, your body will thank you for it : )
Store bought almond milks will most likely not use soaked almonds, so the phytic acid content will be very high. Making your own almond milk will not only save you money but will make you feel proud of making a raw, sugar-free, preservative free and sustainable milk at home!
One last thing to have in mind is buying fresh almonds. I have made the common mistake of keeping almonds in a jar for way too long and once they become bitter (have that rancid aftertaste), it means their oils have been oxidised. This rancid taste will still transfer to your milk! So now I know, it’s best to buy small batches of good quality, raw and fresh almonds.
Ok, on to the recipe then!
Ingredients: (Makes approx. 3 cups)
1 cup raw almonds
3 cups filtered water
1 big medjool date
A pinch of salt
A small piece of vanilla bean or a pinch vanilla powder (optional)
You will need a blender and a cheesecloth (or any fine cloth will do)
Feel free to add more dates for extra sweetness or none at all for a neutral version. Another sweetener option is 1-3 tsp raw honey or maple syrup.
Put almonds in a container, cover with water and a pinch of salt. Leave overnight.
In the morning, give them a good rinse. At this point they will have absorbed enough water for the skin to be removed easily. If you have the time, squeeze each almond and the skin should just pop out. Sometimes this might feel extremely hard to do and this means your almonds have probably been pasteurised. Pasteurised or not, activating your almonds will still improve their digestibility. And not to worry if you can’t or don’t have time to peel them, the soaking will have removed most of the phytic acid from the skin.
If you have a high powered blender, you can blend all the ingredients in one go. If you are worried your blender might struggle a bit, just take it slower and blend the almonds with 1 cup water first until you make a smooth paste and then add the remaining 2 cups of water and sweetener.
Place a nut milk bag or piece of cheesecloth over a large sieve on top of a bowl and strain the milk through. Hold the bag or 4 corners of the cheesecloth and squeeze as much milk as you can.
Transfer the milk to a glass jar or bottle, drink straight away to enjoy the froth ; ) or keep in fridge for up to 3 days. Remember to shake before using as the heavy bits will naturally sink to the bottom.
If you’re feeling inspired to try new versions of this classic, you can add a little cocoa powder at the end for a chocolatey drink, sprinkle cinnamon over the top or use fresh chai tea instead of filtered water for a spicy milk version.
What can you do with the leftover pulp? Mix it into porridge or granola, make almond hummus, bake biscuits or muffins, dry it in the oven to make almond flour or if you’re feeling lazy you can keep it in the fridge for up to a week. Now if all these don’t work for you, your compost or worm farm will enjoy the pulp too.
Hope you enjoy your homemade almond milk!
Marina x xx