For quite some time now, I’ve been reading about the benefits of almond milk versus cow’s milk. While we have no plans to give up dairy anytime soon, I’ve been very curious about almond milk. It contains a wider variety of vitamins and minerals that our bodies need to function (like vitamin E, protein, omega-3 fat, zinc, iron, magnesium, and calcium), but it’s lower in calories and fat than cow’s milk. Due to the high levels of antioxidants, it can also help prevent many types of cancer and slow the signs of aging. It can even be used in place of cow’s milk in most recipes! I purchased a container of almond milk a while back, but I wasn’t crazy about the “extra” ingredients added to something that should be so simple. The ingredients in Silk Pure Almond Milk are: filtered water, almonds, natural cane sugar, calcium carbonate, sea salt, locust bean gum, sunflower lecithin, gellan gum, plus added vitamins. What are the ingredients in the almond milk that I made at home yesterday? Almonds, water, vanilla extract, and honey (and the vanilla extra and honey are optional). If you think that making almond milk is too complex, then you’re just like I was a few months ago! I never envisioned myself making almond milk…like, EVER! In fact, I had barely even heard of almond milk… However, as you know, there have been so many of these moments since we made the transition to real foods back in January. Like starting a garden… And look at me now! I’m totally hooked on gardening and can’t wait to expand for next year! 🙂
After making almond milk for the first time yesterday, I was shocked at truly how easy it was! Really! I immediately asked my 2 1/2 year old boys if they wanted to drink some “almond milk” and they eagerly said “yes!” (I love that my kids have no preconceived notions of new foods right now!) My boys drank it plain and loved it! They asked for more, but I wanted to save it for trying in new recipes. (My daughter was too busy playing in the basement to be interested in coming upstairs for ‘milk,’ so she never actually tried it plain.) I tried a little bit and it was good, but I don’t typically drink anything other than water, so it’s not something I had planned to drink on its own anyway. I really made it because I want to use it IN other recipes.
Homemade Almond Milk
You will need either a “Nut Milk Filter Bag” (I bought mine from Whole Foods) or an “Ultra Fine Cheesecloth.”
(Makes 2-3 cups nut milk)
- 1 cup fresh whole raw almonds
- 3 cups filtered water
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract (optional)
- 1 T honey (optional)
Put almonds in a bowl, cover with water, and let soak overnight. The next day, drain and rinse well. Place the hydrated almonds, vanilla, and honey in a food processor (I have a KitchenAid 13-Cup Food Processor) or blender and then add 3 cups of filtered water (I just used the filtered water that comes out of my refrigerator). Process on high for around 2 minutes until the mixture turns white and the almonds are pulverized. Line a bowl or pitcher with the opened nut milk bag (or cheesecloth). Pour mixture into the bag. Lifting the bag up and holding the top tightly, start to squeeze the bag from the top, slowly working your hand down the bag and squeezing all the milk out of the pulp. And that’s it! You can now drink the milk or use it in many recipes. I put my milk in the fridge and it should last about a week. (It will separate, so you’ll want to shake it before using it each time.)
There will be quite a bit of leftover pulp after making the almond milk. I hate to waste food, so there is no way I’m going to throw it out! Here are a few recipes you can try it in: Chocolate Covered Peppermint Almond Bites, Choco-Coco Almond Bites, Coconut Almond Bites, or Almond Raisin Granola Bars. You could also add it in to my homemade granola recipe.
And as far as what else you can do with almond milk, here are some ideas:
- Drink it on it’s own (less calories than cow’s milk)
- Blend it in to smoothies
- Pour over cereal
- Use it to make homemade ice cream (something I hope to try one day)
- Use it as a replacement for cow’s milk in any baking recipe
I made these Almond Butter Chocolate Smoothies just yesterday with my newly made almond milk and it was AWESOME! The kids and I sucked down every. last. drop. They thought they were getting quite the treat (and we were), but this was also a highly nutritious snack!
Almond Butter Chocolate Smoothie
(Recipe Source: My Whole Food Life)
- 2 bananas (1 fresh, 1 frozen if possible)
- 1/2 – 1 cup almond milk
- 2 T almond butter (or peanut butter would work)
- 1 heaping T of cocoa powder
- 1 T chia seeds*
Blend together and serve immediately!
*What are Chia Seeds and why should we eat them??? These ancient seeds have become extremely popular lately because they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA). They also make for a great way to add fiber to your diet, keeping you fuller longer and help prevent overeating. That’s always a plus for me!