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 (like carrageenan). 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, in soups, 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. It also makes them easier to blend.

After soaking almonds, drain off the soaking water and rinse. 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 for a smoother texture. 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 about 3 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 Direct 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. Rinse. 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 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.

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