Homemade Raw Almond Milk

by Sally on January 1, 2012 · 33 comments

in Basics and How-To, Beverages, Breakfast, The Daniel Plan, Vegan Dishes, Vegetarian Dishes

homemade almond milkHappy New Year! If your goal is eating more healthfully this year by adding more unprocessed and whole foods to your diet, here is an easy, healthy recipe for homemade almond milk. It sure beats the stuff in a box, which can be processed with additives you don’t want. It’s also simple to make. What isn’t better homemade? 

Start the Day Right

We’ve all heard it a thousand times: breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Eating a healthy breakfast starts your day off right and sets you up for an energy-filled, successful day. Studies show kids do better in school when they eat breakfast, so that must work for adults too.

We usually start the day with a breakfast smoothie based on protein powder, frozen fruit and milk. You can find the recipe at this link. I’ve switched from using cow’s milk to almond milk. It’s one small part of my decision to include more plant-based options in our diet.

Why Almonds?

Almonds are considered by many to be the most nutritious of nuts. From a nutrition standpoint, almonds are a rich source of protein containing fiber, omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, vitamin E, magnesium, calcium, and zinc. That, and I love the flavor of almonds. I snack on them every day.

Homemade Almond Milk – Simple to Make

Almond milk is a great alternative to cow’s milk. We use it every morning for our breakfast smoothies. It’s good over cereal, oatmeal, or just for plain drinking. The best part – almond milk is simple to make.

First, soak raw almonds in clean filtered water overnight. Soaking almonds unleashes their full nutritional benefit and makes them easier to digest.

After soaking almonds, drain off the soaking water. Almonds contain enzyme inhibitors that can interfere with digestion, so toss the soaking water and use fresh water to puree your almonds into milk in a high-speed blender (like a Vitamix) for 90 seconds. That’s it!

Some recipes strain the almond milk through a nut milk bag. I do not. Do what suits you best. We like the texture of unstrained almond milk. It’s thick and rich. It will keep for a few days in the refrigerator. Upon sitting, it can get a little foamy looking on top. Just stir, shake or whisk before using.

If you want it sweetened, add a little natural sweetener like brown rice syrup or stevia. You can also add a little vanilla extract or almond extract for more flavor.

Raw and Unpasteurized Almonds

A few notes about almonds. When I started making my own almond milk I got an interesting education in almonds. Shopping at a farmers market I found Hopkins AG, a California almond grower selling raw unpasteurized almonds direct from their farm. That’s when I learned about a misleading 2007 USDA labeling practice and the importance of seeking out truly raw almonds.

The “raw” almonds you see in stores are not truly raw. They have been sterilized or pasteurized. The label must say raw and unpasteurized. Unfortunately, a 2007 USDA law requires all almonds grown in the U.S. to be sterilized or pasteurized – but there is a loophole. Growers can sell raw, unpasteurized almonds direct from their farms, but not to food distributors or markets. To get them, you must buy from a grower at a farm stand or off the internet.

What’s deceptive is that the USDA still allows these processed almonds to be called raw even though they are basically cooked or “sanitized”. Another issue, many almonds are pasteurized using PPO (Propylene Oxide) gas, which is toxic. Some growers are using a new process pasteurizing with steam versus chemicals. From what I have read it is an expensive process and the only way to know is to call and ask.

To read more, check out the links below the post.

Buy From a Grower

Knowing this, I go to extra effort to buy truly raw, unpasteurized almonds, making a better health choice for my family. I just ordered 10 pounds of organic almonds from D&S Ranches in California. I also buy from Hopkins AG at my farmers market. I also learned that California grows 80% of the world’s almond supply!

As you start off the New Year with a fresh, clean plate, I hope you decide to eat more healthfully. Only you can decide what’s best for your family or yourself. Knowledge is power.

For more information on different types of “milk”, read the link below and a good article from Everyday Health.

Homemade Raw Almond Milk

Simple to make, homemade almond milk is a great alternative to cow’s milk. Use raw, unpasteurized almonds for the best nutrition. The recipe halves easily for individuals. This recipes takes 18-24 hours of soaking time and just 90 seconds to make. If you like thick, creamy almond milk, use as is. If you like it thinner, strain through a nut milk bag. They are available at many health food stores and online. See my note at the end on sweetening or flavoring your milk.

Yield: 2 quarts, unstrained (approximately 2 liters) or about 6 1/2 cup strained through nut milk bag

Ingredients

  • 9 ounces (256 grams) raw, unpasteurized almonds
  • Filtered water to cover the almonds (when soaking)
  • 6 cups (1.4 liters) cold, filtered water (for the milk)
  • A splash vanilla or almond extract – optional for flavoring

Directions

  1. Place almonds in container and cover with water. Cover and refrigerate for 18-24 hours.
  2. Strain off soaking water. Pour soaked almonds and fresh water into a high-speed blender with a tight fitting lid and process for 90 seconds on high. Start slow and build up the speed. Refrigerate and use within 3-4 days. Stir or whisk each time you use as it settles.

To sweeten or not?  I do not sweeten my almond milk. If you choose to, try a teaspoon or two of agave syrup (I recommend Xagave brand because of how it is made), brown rice syrup or liquid stevia, the best choice. Another option for flavoring, try a drop or two of essential oil such as lavender or citrus.  It is surprisingly delicious!  

Helpful Links and Good Information:

Almond article from the Cornucopia Institute and fact sheet

Article from Rense.com on pasteurized almonds law

An informative article from Everyday Health on different kinds of milks you can use for your smoothies, in regards to cholesterol. What is good and not so good. Read and decide for yourself and decide what is best for your family.

Don’t Skip Breakfast, article from the About.com nutrition area.

Direct from the farm, California almonds from D&S Ranches. Good information and raw almond source.

Another source for raw, unpasteurized almonds is Hopkins AG. Their site is under maintenance at the moment but will be back up soon.

Nutrition information on almonds from The World’s Healthiest Foods site

More almond info, from Wikipedia

Click here to buy a Vitamix blender and get free shipping

For a gluten-free, dairy free recipe using homemade almond milk, try the Lemon Almond Polenta cake at this link.

About soaking almonds, from the Good Health Wellness blog

The Benefits of Soaking Nuts and Seeds, by Food Matters

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This post contains links to Affiliate Programs, where I may receive a small commission for any purchases.

{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lisa January 1, 2012 at 7:04 pm

Thanks Sal. Looking forward to the smoothie recipe! Should help with the New Year’s Resolution. :)

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2 Julie January 1, 2012 at 10:52 pm

Thanks for this recipe, I am eager to make my own almond milk. However, I’d like to know about how many days does it stay good to drink? We use a lot of milk here, so that is important for me to know. Thanks again!

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3 Sally January 2, 2012 at 2:18 pm

Hi Julie. Its stays good for about 3-4 days. We go through 2 quarts (2 liters) in about 3 days and it’s good. Once we were away over a weekend and when we got home it smelled a bit sour. Over the edge, so I tossed it. Maybe a half batch would be better for you?

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4 Sally January 2, 2012 at 10:49 am

I think it will be hard to buy almonds from a farm in the northeast, but I guess “steam pasteurized” is better than PPO, or is it the same thing? This sounds like a great healthy snack (especially whirred in the blender with strawberries.) Maybe I’ll just have to find them on the internet! Happy, healthy new year.

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5 Sally January 2, 2012 at 2:21 pm

Hi Sally. Steam pasteurized is not toxic like the PPO gas, but it still kills the enzymes because due to the heat process and the temp the steam gets too. At least that’s my understanding with all of the reading I’ve done. TO get really live, raw almonds, no pasteurization is best. You may need to order them off of the internet for your area. And yes, it’s good with strawberries!

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6 susan January 2, 2012 at 8:01 pm

YUM! That is all my kids drink (started when I stopped nursing them). I am so into this and it is on my bucket list this year. Yours looks perfect!!!

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7 susan January 2, 2012 at 8:02 pm

p.s. where do I get a nut bag?

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8 Sally January 2, 2012 at 9:27 pm

Susan, you don’t need a nut milk bag. I don’t strain mine, prefer it whole. We love the thicker, richer, unstrained milk. I got a bag at Mothers Market and never used it for almond milk. You can order off the internet too, but I’m sure you can find one at a health food store. Let me know how it comes out!

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9 Jill January 7, 2012 at 9:58 am

Hi Sally – can you do the same thing with cashews?

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10 Sally January 7, 2012 at 12:03 pm

Hi Jill, I’ve not made cashew milk but yes you should be able to. I’m sure it would be good. Do you like cashews better? Have you tried almond milk? If you make it please report back in comments so other people know. Thanks!

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11 RB January 11, 2012 at 7:04 am

Thank you so much for the info on almonds and for the link to the D&S Ranch. So very helpful!!! I’ve just been being the ones in the store that say raw. That will change from now on. I just ordered some from the website. Thanks again!

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12 Jeff January 15, 2012 at 9:14 pm

Fascinating! I didn’t know that about almond regulations! Or about the fact that it’s pasteurized with toxic material…. Interesting stuff! And perhaps worth trying to make instead of purchasing!

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13 Ulrike April 22, 2012 at 10:28 am

what can I do with the mash? uli

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14 Sally April 22, 2012 at 3:15 pm

Hi Ulrike. If you are referring to what is leftover after straining, I’m not sure what you can do with it. I do not strain my almond milk so I do not have anything leftover. I like the thickness of it after pureeing at high speed for 90 seconds. Just be sure to stir before use after it sits in the refrigerator. If you compost you might research if it’s a good addition.

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15 lousie April 25, 2012 at 1:02 am

hi this is nice site amzing i like it…Thank you so much for the info on almonds and for the link to the D&S Ranch. So very helpful!!! I’ve just been being the ones in the store that say raw. That will change from now on. I just ordered some from the website. Thanks again!

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16 Mary May 1, 2012 at 2:59 pm

Great recipe! Thank you! I didn’t like the thickness of it though, so I used my Boldtbags filter bags to strain it.

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17 Jaclyn Evans May 25, 2012 at 10:13 am

Ooh, I forgot to fridgerate while soaking.. Still ok? I’m in the habit of not putting things in the fridge.. Like eggs..

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18 Sally May 25, 2012 at 11:02 am

Jaclyn, it should be fine, but refrigerate once you’ve pureed it.

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19 Aimee Clark May 26, 2012 at 10:19 pm

I just made almond milk for the first time today. I used muslin cloth to strain and have almond ‘mush’ leftover. Since I have a dehydrator I’m going to attempt to dehydrate it and use as I would almond meal, and even try making some raw biccies in the dehydrator! Hopefully it works. I used stevia to sweeten the milk and it tastes delicious! However it curdles in my tea and coffee, so I’ve been googling how to avoid this and it seems that warming the milk slightly can help prevent it curdling in the hot beverages. I don’t want to change the fat by heating it too much so will experiment with low temperature and see how it goes. Cross fingers!

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20 DramaQueen September 23, 2012 at 2:29 pm

I love almond milk, but never thought about making my own, I am soo going to try this!!
I’m curious though – where do you get the glass milk bottles?
Even though, I know I could store it in any bottle, I love the one shown in the picture.

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21 Sally September 23, 2012 at 2:34 pm

Hi, glad you found the post helpful. I use this almond milk in my smoothies almost every morning. Sure better than the stuff in a box, which is actually pretty processed. I found that bottle in an antique store, just for the photo. I store my almond milk in a BPA-free plastic container with a tight-fitting lid. I try to avoid glass in kitchens. It breaks!

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22 DramaQueen September 27, 2012 at 7:55 pm

Hi Sally,
Thanks for the response. This is a great recipe, I’m using it in my smoothies from now on; it is soo good! I store most of my stuff in BPA-Free plastic as well…but it is still a great shot and a cool bottle.

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23 sue October 15, 2012 at 12:55 pm

Hi Sally,
I noticed your recipe is to reused the soaked water. I’ve read that the soaked water
should be throw out & new water to be use every 8 hours for soaking. Rinse before
putting in blender and then add fresh water.

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24 Sally October 15, 2012 at 10:34 pm

Hi, in my research I’ve found many opinions on making almond milk and soaking almonds. In the fridge or at room temp, using the water or not, salted water or not. Recently I’ve decided, after doing more research and checking with a friend who is a chef and raw vegan expert, that tossing the water after soaking and using fresh water to create the “milk” could be beneficial, if you want to take that step. Why? Because the water contains the leached-out enzyme inhibitors present in the brown skins of almonds. Enzyme inhibitors protect the almond until it needs to germinate (grow), which might limit the nutrient value that you can absorb, or make it harder to digest. I’ve never had a digestive issue using the soaking water to make my almond milk. But point taken, I will make a note in the recipe. Nice thing about blogs, you can add new information and insights. Thanks. Hope that helps?

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25 Celia January 4, 2013 at 1:47 pm

Love this post! Thank you for the info… I used your link to buy from Hopkins AG. Have you tried (gently) heating the unstrained almond milk? Does it separate or curdle? I’ve got a “wand” frother, so I don’t have to steam it, but warming the milk makes a much nicer latte. :-)

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26 Sally January 4, 2013 at 4:32 pm

Thanks for your comment. Glad it’s helpful. I’ve never tried warming it for a latte but have always wondered. If you try it, please comment back and let everyone know!

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27 Celia January 15, 2013 at 10:41 am

Okay – just made my first batch with the Hopkins AG almonds, and warmed and frothed it just out of the blender.

The warming didn’t make it separate, and the frothing worked, nominally, but you don’t really get a head of froth on it… just a frothy texture throughout.

Tomorrow morning I’ll see if adding the espresso makes it curdle.

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28 Sonja January 12, 2013 at 12:03 pm

I’m not sure if anyone is interested, but I just watched a documentray called, “Queen of the Sun – What are the Honeybee’s Telling Us”, and there was a fascinating section on the California almond market in it. I just thought it might be something worth noting. I’m glad to read that most people are going to their local markets and independent farmers though! It’s a little harder to get fresh organic produce through the winter months (and you pay a premium at the stores for it) up here in Canada…but I make a huge effort to do so for my family, and for my local economy. Thanks for the tips on the organic natural almonds as well. I’ll definately look into it! :)

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29 Shayna March 17, 2013 at 5:59 pm

really nice article- thank you! I’ve been from organic dairy to soy now to almond milk and I’m excited to try this. You noted about being able to purchase raw, unpasturized almonds directly from farmers- any tips for storage, or how long will the raw almonds keep for since they’re not pasturized. Thanks!

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30 Sally March 17, 2013 at 10:00 pm

Hi Shayna. Thanks for your comment and question. The organic almonds I purchase, and I buy 6 pounds at a time, are currently from D&S Ranches. They come vacuum sealed in 1-pound packs. I store them in the pantry until opened, then in the refrigerator. We go through them so fast I don’t know how long they would actually last. A long time I would think.

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31 Adrienne May 15, 2013 at 2:23 pm

Sally, Can I use a food processor? or blender? Don’t have a Vitamix.

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32 Sally May 15, 2013 at 2:44 pm

Unfortunately not. A food processor won’t do the job. You really need a blender. Get the best one you can. If the capacity is smaller than a Vitamix, which has a 2-quart capacity, you may need to blend in half batches. Another option, you can get a reconditioned Vitamix with free shipping from the ad on my home page. The reconditioned models have just been used for shows. They are a great deal! It’s what I would do to save money. Check it out. I know even then, they are $329 but they are a terrific investment. I could not live without mine. It will last forever!

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