Tuesday, April 8, 2014

How to Make Your Own Healthy Almond Milk at Home


Almond milk is a great alternative for those who can't tolerate dairy or for those who just choose not to drink dairy.

I thought I was doing a good thing by buying almond milk instead of dairy milk.

I was wrong. Bought almond milk still contains additives that may be harmful.

So, I've been making my own almond milk for about ten months now.

Most of your homemade almond milk recipes are basically the same, however, some do use different quantities of ingredients.

After trying several different combinations, this is my tried, true and favorite recipe, it gives me the best yield for my money without sacrificing taste and richness.






Making your own healthy almond milk at home is incredibly simple. I'll guide you through it step by step, but first let's assemble our ingredients.

But first...

UPDATE:
Special Note: I've been asked about the cost of making your own compared to buying.  Here's a breakdown of my cost.

There are nine cups of almonds in the bag I buy. I've been paying $11.99 but they were up to $13.99 this month. I get 1/2 gallon of milk from two cups of almonds, so you will get two gallons plus one quart from one bag of almonds.

Almond milk in our area is $3.50-$4 per half gallon here depending on where you buy and the brand you buy. Buying it, you'll pay around $15 for two gallons + one quart. Add in the savings for the almond flour and it's a much bigger amount. 

Almond flour bought locally in the stores is$10 a lb. I pay around $40 for five lbs when I buy my flour. That's another reason I decided to go back to making my own milk and flour. 

Meanwhile, back in the kitchen...

You actually start your almond milk twelve hours before the blending by soaking the almonds, so plan ahead by putting the almonds on to soak the night before you plan to make it.

This recipe makes a full half gallon of milk, if you only want a quart, simply cut everything in half, except the soaking time of course.


Ingredients for soaking the almonds the night before


  • 2 cups whole, plain almonds(not roasted & salted)
  • 4 cups water to cover almonds
Put 2 cups almonds in a bowl, cover with water and let soak 12 hours. All the recipes I used prior to this one called for 8 hours or less of soaking. I've found that the longer soaking time really makes a difference.

Assemble the troops!


You'll need to assemble a few items before you start. I'll list what I use, which works great for me.




  • 3 large bowls(pitcher type bowls work best, at least two of them and yes, you'll need them all before we're done)
  • a colander or something to drain the water from the almonds
  • a large basket strainer 
  • a measuring cup(I use a two cup)
  • large spoon
  • half gallon jar or pitcher
  • straining cloth - Some people use cheesecloth, I don't. I prefer a muslim cloth with a tighter weave than cheesecloth. Cheesecloth tends to let pulp through when squeezed. The cloth pictured here is actually a paint straining cloth, they are perfect.
  • a canning funnel(I forgot to put it in this picture, sorry)
  • a good blender is an absolute must, you might get it done with a food processor but I haven't had much success that way.

Ingredients for making your milk


If you're making a half gallon, you'll be making this in two parts, or maybe three, depending on the size of your blender, so divide your ingredients accordingly for each batch. My blender holds six cups and I make mine in two batches.

  • soaked almonds(drained)
  • 10 cups water(divided)
  • about four grinds of sea salt
  • 2 tsps vanilla flavoring(divided)*
  • 2-3 TBLS pure maple syrup or honey*
*If you're on the Whole30, you'll need to NOT USE the honey and vanilla. You can use 4-6 dates to sweeten, but you need to soak them with the almonds overnight. 



Now then, on to the fun part


Drain the water from the almonds, then divide the almonds in half. If you soaked two cups, you'll have approximately four cups soaked almonds, give or take a few. It's not rocket science, really. I take my two cup measuring cup, measure two cups, pour them in the blender and then measure another two cups of almonds in the measuring cup. If there's any left in the colander, I simply divide it between the blender and the measuring cup for the second batch.

There should be a picture here of the almonds and water in the blender, but someone forgot that particular picture, so you'll have to picture it in your mind.

  • Measure five cups of water over your almonds in the blender and make sure the blender lid is securely fastened down(see picture below)because this is going to be a blender full.
  • Add vanilla, a dash of sea salt and maple syrup or honey(you'll learn to adjust to your individual taste)
  • Start blender at low speed, move to high and you might want to hold your hand over the top. Blend for about 20 seconds. I have a VitaMix that is very powerful, you might need to adjust the blending time if yours isn't a powerful blender.

I wish I could say I did this intentionally to show you what will happen if you don't make sure your blender cap is on securely, but actually it happened because I was in a hurry and didn't make sure.

What you get if your blender lid is not quite down all the way....
a big mess all over everything!

This is what you have after blending for about 20 seconds. It's like magic, you have almonds and water and then kablooie! you have beautiful milk!  


Now the real fun begins. Of course since there is almond pulp, the milk has to be strained. This is why you need three large bowls.



Holding a large strainer over large bowl number one, slowly strain milk.



Using a large spoon, mash the pulp to push all the milk through. Go ahead and get tough with it, you're going to strain it again.




Dump the pulp in large bowl number two.




Rinse the strainer thoroughly





Place your strainer cloth in the basket strainer over large bowl number three and pour the previously strained milk(which should still be in large bowl number one) through the cloth. 




You're probably wondering why I double strain it; here's the reason. There is so much pulp, that if you try to strain it through the cloth first, it takes much longer. You basically get most of the pulp out using the basket strainer and then you get the finer pulp with the cloth.




Using the spoon again, push the milk through the cloth and then carefully take the corners of the cloth in your hand and squeeze, twisting the cloth firmly to push all the milk out. 




You have a finer pulp with this straining, just add it with the other pulp in large bowl number two.


  

Using a canning funnel, I strain one last time, but you can easily bypass this if you like. There is virtually nothing left but milk at this point. Also, if you want to skip the step before this one and just make your strain directly into your jar or pitcher, you can do that. I prefer to strain into a bowl because there's less chance of spilling. 


That makes your first quart. If you're making a half gallon, just repeat the process. You don't always end up with a perfect gallon. If you're a bit shy of a jar full, just add a little water. If you have a bit too much, just drink it, that's what I do.




A beautiful half gallon of healthy almond milk with no additives, made right in your own kitchen! What an awesome thing. It's almost like having your own cow, and you don't have to buy feed.




This is what you have left. Don't throw it out! Tomorrow we're making almond flour/meal!

Blessings from Patti's Place to your place!


8 comments:

  1. Thank you for the recipe. Especially for the extra hints, like what not to do (soak for 12 not 8 hrs). I appreciate those tips! I love almond milk, but this will be my first attempt at making it.
    Looking forward to it. By the way, almonds are going to skyrocket in price because of the California drought. I read that many almond trees are dying because of the lack of water. This will also apply to other produce from Cal. Like grapes (wine!). Need to buy lots and start storing!!

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    1. I had heard that, Michele, but wasn't sure if it was true. I need to stock up on them. I'm sure they'll keep a good while in the freezer.

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  2. Second comment: Patti you said you like the color green. Ball jars are not coming in the green color. You can get them on line at their website. So pretty!

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    1. I got some at Walmart! They are awesome. I just wish I'd gotten two cases, because I know they won't last long.

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  3. I'm not really a pest, but I meant: to say that the Ball jars are NOW coming in the green color.

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    1. Oh hush! You're not a pest....lol It's very refreshing to actually get some comments that aren't spam. I rarely get comments here. My green jars are quarts by the way.

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  4. I wrote to the company asking if they made the green ones with the wide mouth. I haven't gotten a response yet. I prefer wide, but I will get the others too. Who would guess we could get excited about canning jars? Ha!

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    1. The ones I found at WalMart are wide mouthed, six to a case. I'm hoping there's more when I go back.

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