When I was 14 years old in Sweden, I stumbled across an enlightening article about dairy products and decided there-and-then that I simply didn’t need to consume as much of it! Fast forward to today in England and the supermarket shelves are stocked with countless milk alternatives to cater for the 5% of Brits who are lactose-intolerant along with those who’ve intentionally adopted a different approach. These substitutes are hewn from the likes of soya beans, rice, oats, hemp, hazelnuts and, perhaps the UK’s most popular according to Waitrose, Almond milk. Making your own version of the latter is the subject of today’s post; it’s ridiculously easy, takes no longer than 10 minutes and can save you money in your quest to eat healthily! Plus, you’ll also have peace of mind from knowing exactly what’s in your drink, and that you’re optimising the nutritional value to max!!! Click MORE to see it all…
But first, we must “unlearn what we have learned”. Almonds are not nuts; rather, they’re a seed from the fruit of the almond tree, not too dissimilar to the likes of cherries, apricots and peaches. So now that we’ve gotten that useless piece of pedantic trivia out of the way, I can praise the humble almond a little more! I think it’s a giant in it’s superpowers – a supreme source of monounsaturated fats (which are associated with reduced risk of heart disease), naturally high in protein and fiber, but also low in sodium and cholesterol. Plus, they contain a swathe of vital vitamins like iron, phosphorus calcium, magnesium, zinc and potassium. To me, they make the ideal afternoon snack!
You could buy your almond milk at the store, but I like the organic process of creating my own, tasting the slightly pulpy imperfections of it, and savouring the result that little bit more. When practically possible, I like to whip up a batch of my own!
Flavours & sweeteners?!?
Nature has done a great job of giving us non-artificial deliciousness! I think you can supplement the taste profile of your home made almond milk quite easily, with just a tiny bit of extra work! The recipes below feature 3 different almond milk varieties with ‘twists’; the classic ‘plain’, a raw chocolate flavoured version & a fresh coconut tinged edition! When it comes to sweetening the almond milk I personally don’t think it needs it BUT if you have a bit of a sweet tooth I suggest adding dates, some vanilla pod/ vanilla extract, agave nectar or manuka honey. These options are all natural and rich in flavour so require very small portions (e.g. a couple of teaspoons of honey for each litre of almond milk you make!)
- Soak the almonds overnight in filtered water (8-10 hours soaking time minimum).
- Take them out of the fridge the next morning – warning, the water may look a little murky like some sort of pond – don’t worry, just rinse the almonds clean.
- Put the almonds, along with fresh water / coconut water (as per above suggested ‘Ingredients’ measures) into a high speed blender (I used my beloved Vitamix).
- Add a pinch of pink salt.
- Blend for circa 2-3minutes
- Strain using a straining bag, muslin or a tight sieve (as per photo) and ideally a cheese cloth. I save the left over pulp and use it for my healthy energy balls or granola bars, but you can also bake with it if you just dry it out and blend it again, to get Almond flour!
- Refrigerate the milk, and be sure to shake it each time you use it, as it tends to separate out 😀 Also I’d drink it within 3-4 days, so perhaps don’t go making 3 litres of the stuff in one go, or you may have some wastage on your hands!
N.B. When the almonds are soaked overnight, in the morning they may have split open, which releases the enzyme inhibitors. The enzyme inhibitors basically decide when the almonds sprout. When a nut or indeed seed start to sprout they are inheritantly using up some of the carbs and fats that are present, so this overnight process of maturation makes a huge difference to the nutritional content of the ensuing Almond milk!
Enjoy your accomplishment 😀