Happy 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’s 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. Homemade sure beats the stuff in a box, which is very processed. It’s also simple to make. What isn’t better homemade?
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. I’ll post our recipe soon. 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.
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
Making almond milk is simple. First, soak raw almonds in good, filtered water overnight. Soaking almonds unleashes their full nutritional benefit and makes them easier to digest. After soaking, puree almonds and fresh water 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, but do what suits you best. We like the texture of unstrained almond milk. 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 agave syrup, brown rice syrup or green stevia. You can also add a little vanilla extract or almond extract for more flavor. We use it as is, just plain.
As almonds contain enzyme inhibitors (that can interfere with digestion), toss the soaking water and use fresh water to puree your almonds into milk.
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 USDA labeling practice and the importance of seeking out truly raw almonds.
Many of the “raw” almonds you see in stores are not truly raw. The label must say raw and unpasteurized. Unfortunately, a recent US law requires all almonds grown in the U.S. to be 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 misleading is that the USDA still allows these processed almonds to be called raw even though they are basically cooked. Another issue, many almonds are pasteurized using PPO (Propylene Oxide) gas, which is toxic.
Knowing this now, I go to extra effort to buy truly raw, unpasteurized almonds. I am 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
Yield: 2 quarts (approximately 2 liters)
- 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
- A splash agave syrup, brown rice syrup or stevia – optional for sweetening
- Place almonds in container and cover with water. Cover and refrigerate for 18-24 hours.
- 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.
Note – For sweetened or flavored almond milk, use a little vanilla or almond extract and a little agave or brown rice syrup.
Helpful Links and Good Information:
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
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