Every week, without fail, I make a quart of this almond milk for my breakfast smoothies throughout the week. It’s fast, easy, healthy, and most importantly, delicious!
Before I started making my own almond milk I used to buy it from the health food section of our local store. I always got the brands that looked the healthiest, and they tasted great, so I never really thought twice about it.
One day I was randomly browsing the Internet without any real direction (along the same lines as when I open the fridge and just staaaaare into it for no reason) and I stumbled across an article about how almost all almonds, unless they are certified organic, are fumigated by a gas called PPO.
This all started back in 2007 when there were several cases of salmonella linked to raw almonds. Ever since then all domestic almonds must be ‘pasteurized’ either by steam treatment, or PPO gas (the later also makes the almonds unable to sprout).
After looking into in some more I discovered that many of my favorite brands of almond milk either contained PPO (recognized as a possible carcinogen by California) treated almonds, or declined to say. While looking further into this, I discovered that ALL of my favorites also contained Carrageenan, a thickener and stabilizer which has been linked in several studies to cause chronic inflammation even in small amounts.
Even above and beyond THIS sad news, I also realized that my almond milk on general, only contained 2% almonds, – and to top it off, since there were too few almonds in the milk to give it any real nutritional content, the manufacturer instead packed the carton full of synthetic vitamins, so they could still boast the health benefits of the milk. Problem is, these ‘fake’ vitamins are not easily broken down and digested by the body, so they really might as well have not even been in there.
As if all this wasn’t enough, I also realized that ‘real’ almond milk only lasts in your fridge for about five days. Store bought almond milk is shelf stable for up to several years sometimes, and even several months in the fridge…that doesn’t seem right!!
Needless to say I was disappointed.
I immediately started looking up ways to make my own milk at home. Happily, it turned out to be much simpler then I had expected. By buying my own organic almonds it eliminated the toxic, gas treated ones, and by mixing it up at home, and using heat to thicken it, instead of carrageenan, I avoided the potentially inflammatory ingredient. I was also able to use whatever ratio of almonds to water I wanted (I settled on 4:1) which means that I’m getting REAL vitamins from the almonds, and there are no added supplements or preservatives! The icing on the cake is that now I can put any add ins I want in the milk!
If I want to do just plain for smoothies, I can, but if I want to add a little vanilla and agave and spruce it up for guests, I can do that too! I’ve also seen people who have made strawberry and chocolate milk – the possibilities are really endless.
I hope you enjoy making this milk as much as I do! Keep in mind that these are just guidelines, once you’re comfortable with the general idea of making it, branch out on your own and try some different flavors and techniques!!
- 1 cup raw organic almonds
- 4 cups water
- Pinch of salt
- 1.5 tsp vanilla
- 2 tsp agave nectar
Soak almonds in water overnight in the refrigerator.
The next morning toss the almonds and water into a blender (I use a ninja bullet, but any high powered blender should work well) and blend until very well combined. It normally takes me about a minute and a half to get it fully blended.
Pour nut puree into a nut milk bag (I use Ellie's Nut Milk Bags, they literally are the most amazing thing ever!!) or double thickness cheesecloth and SQUEEZE!! You want to get every bit of delicious almond milk out of the pulp, if you squeeze the milk over a 4 cup measure you'll know you've gotten pretty much everything once you get close to 4 cups of almond milk
Once you're done squeezing, pour half of the almond milk into a small saucepan and put it over medium low heat. You don't want it to boil, just to come to a very low simmer. Cook it like this 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, it will start to feel a tiny bit thicker, kind of like whole milk. Once it gets to this point stir in the vanilla and agave if you're using them. You can also skim off the foam that comes to the top. It's nothing bad, just tiny little bits of almond that snuck through the nut milk bag.
Pour your almond milk back with the reserved milk, and then pour it all into a glass jar and put it in the refrigerator. It will stay good for about 5 days, after 5 days make sure to smell it before you drink it! It start to smell funky when it's going bad. Also don't forget to shake it before enjoying!