food prep: almond milk

Medical update

We are both still losing weight steadily.  John’s FBS tends to be 100 or less despite whatever snack he eats at 9 pm while he takes his last round of meds for the day.

Basically we are biding our time until his April cardiologist appointment where we will explore the possibility of dropping Plavix and exchanging Warafarin for Xlarelto as the Xlarelto does not require regular blood tests….saving us $25 an office visit…

Got milk?

You have probably noticed that a lot of our recipes (waffles, pancakes,  soups) call for non-dairy milk. We tend to use almond milk rather than soy during to our allergies.

After a week or so of using almond milk in shakes and in cooking, I developed a rash and some stomach issues. When I mentioned this in passing to a colleague who works with dietetic interns and is herself vegan, she suggested I might be having a reaction to one of the chemicals in the processed almond milk and to try making my own.

Yeah.  right.  Make my own milk.  sure.  Wait….chemicals in the milk?

I grabbed milk from the fridge and checked the side panel … and found lots of items that just didn’t seem natural.  So I googled other labels on other brands….and found none that were more pure.

Hmmmmm….

I have long been a proponent of whole foods…and no chemicals…no wonder I was having rashes…

Additional research suggested that the chemicals added to shelf life …and I really could keep one  carton of almond milk for almost a month….

So, I decided to make my own almond milk and avoid the chemicals.

The why behind the process

Let me be very up front.  Homemade almond milk only lasts a few days in the fridge….perhaps 3-4 days only.  This means I need to plan ahead as to when I will need the milk for baking as the first step is to soak the almonds at least 12-48 hours…. so if we are making pancakes on Saturday morning, then Friday night I need to start soaking almonds.

You must start with raw almonds…not salted, not roasted, but raw.

As I mentioned before, plan ahead, allowing the raw almonds to soak at least 12 hours before blending. This saturates the nut from the inside-out, resulting in a smoother, creamier texture. It also yields more liquid, because fully saturated nuts blend better and leave less “pulp” behind. Soaking the almonds also activates the enzymes, making the milk more nutritious. The longer the soak, the creamier the milk…so…to make better milk, I start soaking almonds on Thursday.

The process

Making almond milk uses a Vitamix in all of its glory! I’m sure there are other ways to do this, but I love my Vitamix.

Almonds that have soaked overnight

The ingredients are simple:

  • 1 cup raw almonds – soaked for 12-48 hours
  • 3 cups filtered water

So…one or two days before you plan to make the milk, measure out 1 cup of raw almonds into a glass container.  Add enough water to cover with an additional inch or so of water. Cover this container with a cloth and set aside until you are ready to make your milk.

Yes, when you take the cover off, the water will have a reddish tint and look murky.  That is good!   This means your water has saturated the nuts and has activated the enzymes….and pulled out anything in the almond that you don’t want in the milk.

Rinse the almonds thoroughly.  Then rinse them again. The soaked almonds will actually have swelled up as shown below:

Add the rinsed soaked almonds to your Vitamix and add 3 cups COLD WATER.

Here it is, all whirling around.
after 45 seconds of blending

Select variable 1. Start machine and slowly increase to the highest speed.  Blend for approximately 45 seconds or until you reach the desired consistency.  Blending for much longer than this could warm your milk.

When you finish, it will look like the photo on the above right.

Now it is time to strain the milk to remove the pulp.  some people like to leave the pulp in and just shake thoroughly before drinking.  When I bake, however, I want as little pulp as possible, so I strain.

You can purchase a nut milk bag and pour the liquid into it and then squeeze as if you were milking a cow – in case you know how to already do that. If milking is new to you, then start squeezing down from the top of the bag. It makes sense after a few tries.

I tend to use a fine mesh strainer (and I am thinking about adding a layer or so of cheesecloth the next time to reduce clean up). Gently pour in the milk, being sure to not overflow the strainer. Once the milk stops dripping, gently press all of the almond milk from the pulp.  I use a small silicon spatula for this. When it looks like the pix to the right, you can remove the pulp and pour in more milk to strain.

This makes 3 cups of FRESH almond milk.

If want to make sweetened almond milk, add in a little vanilla and three whole dates before blending.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Author: mduggan10

I have lived in a Victorian-era house, spent several years living on a boat, and now live at the top of a mountain. Throughout his all, I have been a coffee snob, a whole foods snob, and an instructional designer.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s