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?
How To Make Homemade Almond Milk
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.
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.
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 (like a Vitamix) for 90 seconds. That’s it. Simple.
To Strain or Not to Strain
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 let it sit too long and it smells sour, toss it.
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.
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. Its 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, maybe near the ingredient list. 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. I am sure, like me, that does not sound too appetizing or healthy for your family.
Where to Buy Steam Pasteurized Almonds
If you can’t find steam pasteurized almonds near you, you can buy them online. For top quality, fresh almonds of the current harvest, buy direct from a grower. I’ve purchased from Hopkins AG and D&S Ranches, both in California. California grows some 80% of the world’s almond supply. Another option is on Amazon at this link. You will get a better price per pound when you buy multiple pounds. I generally buy anywhere from 3-10 pounds at a time.
Homemade Raw Almond Milk
Homemade almond milk is a great plant-based alternative to cow’s milk. 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.
- 9 ounces raw almonds
- Filtered water to cover the almonds for soaking
- 6 cups cold water
- A splash vanilla or almond extract optional for flavoring
Place almonds in container and cover with water. Cover and refrigerate for 18-24 hours. Strain off soaking water. Pour soaked almonds and 6 cups 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 raw agave syrup, brown rice syrup or liquid stevia. You can always use raw dates. Another option for flavoring, try a drop or two of essential oil such as lavender or citrus. It is surprisingly delicious!