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. What isn’t better homemade?
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. I wanted a non-dairy milk for smoothies, so this is what I make. Much better made at home.
Homemade vs. Store Bought
Homemade beats the stuff in a box or carton, which can be processed with additives you don’t want. It’s so simple to make, so why not make your own? Since I started making homemade almond milk, a lot has changed with what you can buy. Today there are some decent brands, but I prefer to do it myself.
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.
Almonds are considered 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.
Soy Milk vs Almond Milk
Soy is a controversial ingredient whose health benefits are debated. One benefit is it's high-protein. One, negative, soy is a common food allergy or sensitivity, and gives many people digestive upset.
"On one hand, it’s rich in nutrients, and diets containing it appear to be linked to health benefits, such as lower blood sugar levels, improved heart health, fewer menopause symptoms, and perhaps even a lower risk of certain cancers" reports this article.
On the other hand, some are concerned about soy and thyroid function, increasing breast cancer risk, or the effects of soy's phytoestrogens.
Unless you buy organic soy, it is GMO (genetically modified) and that's a whole other conversation. I avoid GMO's completely. It's up to you to eat what is best for you. If you enjoy soy milk, I suggest not drinking it every day. Switch it up with other non-dairy milks such as almond milk, cashew milk and coconut milk.
With all alternative milks, buy unsweetened and unflavored and add what you want for quality and control.
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 is 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.
Almond to Water Ratios
Depending on the capacity of your blender and your volume needs, try these ratios. The water listed is not the soaking water, but the final water used to make the milk.
- 9 ounces almonds to 6 cups water
- 6 ounces almonds to 5 cups water
- 4 ½ ounces water to 3 cups water
Soak and Drain
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. That’s it.
To Strain or Not
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 un-strained almond milk. It’s thick and rich. It will keep for about 3-4 days in the refrigerator. Upon sitting, it can get a little foamy looking on top. Just stir, shake or whisk before using. If you let it sit too long and it smells sour, toss it.
To Sweeten or Not
If you want it sweetened, add a little natural sweetener like brown rice syrup, liquid stevia, maple or honey. You can also add a little vanilla extract or almond extract for more flavor.
Tips For Buying Raw Almonds
While a 2007 USDA law requires all almonds grown in the United States or Mexico to be sanitized or pasteurized, there are two methods used: steam pasteurization and Propylene gas (PPO). You want steam pasteurized.
Steam pasteurization is non-toxic and does not kill the nut. It's done with a short burst of steam that sanitizes the surface of the nut only. Steam pasteurized almonds will sprout, so they are still alive. Look for the words steam pasteurized somewhere on the package. If nothing is listed, call the producer and ask.
The other method using Propylene Oxide (PPO) gas is industry standard because it is cheaper. PPO gas is classified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a probable human carcinogen. Not too appetizing or healthy for your family. Here are the almonds I buy.
For Other Plant-based Milk Options
Homemade Almond Milk
- 6 ounces raw almonds
- Filtered water to cover the almonds for soaking
- 5 cups filtered water
- A splash of vanilla or almond extract optional for flavoring
- Place almonds in container and cover with water. Cover and refrigerate for 12-24 hours. Strain off soaking water. Pour soaked almonds and 5 cups fresh filtered water into a high-speed blender with a tight fitting lid and process for 30-60 seconds on high. Start slow and build up the speed. Refrigerate and use within 3-4 days. Stir each time you use as it settles.