I talk a lot about how I don’t eat fake “meats”, and I don’t particularly think fake “milks” (soy, rice, almond, etc.) are a whole lot better in terms of how processed they are and how many questionable ingredients they contain. Some aren’t too bad, but even the best of them are going to be a lot more processed than what you would make at home .
I will admit that I do use fake milk sometimes, it’s too tempting to have the occasional soy cappuccino and there’s a lot of good recipes that call for a bit of milk substitute. But I try to keep it to a minimum, and when I can find almonds for a good price I make my own almond milk! It’s incredibly easy and tastes as good as the store bought stuff with less strange ingredients. In fact, it really only has one – almonds. (And water, but that barely counts as an ingredient, right?)
To make about 3 cups of almond milk you’ll need to start with about 2 cups of raw almonds. Soak them in a bowl of water for at least six hours (I usually just leave them overnight) until they are nice and fat looking.
Your two cups of almonds should have plumped into three cups or so. Add 1 cup of almonds and 1.5 cups of water to your food processor (if you have a big processor you can do more than one cup of almonds at a time, but mine’s sort of small so I do it in batches) and blend for about 30 seconds. You’ll end up with a frothy, milky looking substance like so:
Pour it through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl or other container:
Then press any extra liquid out with the back of a spoon.
Try to squeeze it pretty well. Usually 1 cup of almonds and 1.5 cups of water leaves me with about a cup of “milk.” I then empty out the strainer and repeat the process with my remaining 2 cups of soaked almonds. You can obviously make as much or as little as you’d like – it lasts about 5 days in the fridge. You can use this Almond milk to replace milk in most recipes or anywhere you’d use commercial soy or almond milk. If you want to drink it straight you may want to add a bit of vanilla or a date into the blender when you blend it to make it have a little extra sweetness and flavor.
If you’re paying attention, you may be asking yourself “What happened to all those ground up almonds after she strained it?” (OK, I know you probably didn’t pay that much attention. I wouldn’t have either. But I’m going to answer your unasked question anyway because I hate wasting food and almonds aren’t the cheapest thing in the world.)
Once you strain out the milk you’ll be left with a cup or two of ground up almonds. You could of course just discard them, but it’s pretty easy to make almond meal instead. Just spread the wet almond meal on a cookie sheet as evenly as possible…
Bake at 300 degrees for about an hour until it’s nice and dried out and toasty (you could also dehydrate it for a while if you have a dehydrator.)
Then just run it through the food processor or blender again until it’s nice and fine and has the texture of cornmeal or flour (this will depend on how aggressive your blender is – my food processor gets it to about cornmeal texture.) If there’s any almond skins that didn’t blend smooth just shake the meal through that same strainer you used before to take them out. You now have about a cup or two of almond meal that you can use instead of flour or mix into homemade granola. And you didn’t waste any almonds! Yay for you!