Search This Blog

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Homemade Organic Almond Milk

Just like it sounds kiddies; Organic Almond Milk, made from scratch.


Simply put: because it's good, and good for you.  

We haven't drank dairy milk for almost a year now, and not only does Almond Milk fill that gap for the vast majority of intents and purposes, but it's also quite delicious.

In any case, I think that no one would disagree that almonds, almond butter (we've also kicked the peanut butter out of the kitchen), and almond milk are all great things to include in your diet regardless of what that diet might be.

So, here you'll see our first (and last - more on that after) assay in making almond milk.

What we used:

1 package raw organic almonds.

1 Nut Milk Bag.

These are available in most kitchen stores these days, although I bought mine off Amazon for like $3.00.  If you don't have a nut milk bag, you can use a few layers of cheesecloth and a funnel.  This just makes it easier, and cleaner.  Plus it is re-usable!

About 1 litre of purified water.

A high-powered blender like a Vitamix or Ninja Ultima.

A funnel, and some sort of vessel.

Other than that it is pretty much self-explanatory.

Soak the almonds in some water overnight, and it softens them nicely for their upcoming, exciting and ultimate, pulverization.

After several hours, they start to froth a little bit.  That surprised me.  I had rinsed them very well (literally, washed them in clean water).  I was tempted to use this water as the water in which the almond suspension would be suspended.  If you've followed my cooking habits in the past, or if you know me, I am always loathe to lose nutrients, and it seemed to me that there would be some nutrients in that frothy water.

Well, after tasting it tentatively, I found it extremely bitter and disgusting.  So I opted to throw that out, re-rinse the almonds, and use some fresh purified water.

But then it's just GO time.

After only a few seconds on 'high' power, this was quite clearly almond milk.

But, I'm a perfectionist with a little bit of O.C.D., so I blended it for quite some time after that.

The result was almost 2 litres of almond milk.

And it was really quite delicious.

Anyway, drinking it like this would have been really chunky... so that's where the nut milk bag comes in.

Pour it in there in batches, and then gently squeeze it out.

You can see that the bag filters out quite a bit, and the resultant 'milk' is very smooth indeed.

In fact, there was so much residue left over, I thought I'd save it for something.  I never did (and ended up throwing it out after a few days) but I think if I ever did this again, I'd probably find some use for it.

It looks much different than it felt.  In fact, it had a very, very fine consistency, and was more like flour than anything else.

Anyway, the milk though, was poured into one of my beautiful Weck pitchers.  You can see that I got almost exactly 1 litre, which was going to work perfectly.

The end result was surprisingly attractive, and delightfully delicious.

Even though this had a weck jar lid, it needs to be refrigerated.  So I stuck it in the fridge right away.

So... conclusions...

Pros of this endeavour include: 
  1. Very easy to make this way.
  2. Was the most delicious almond milk we'd ever tasted.
  3. Because I made it myself, I was aware of exactly everything that was in it.
There were cons, however... and they included:
  1. Cost.  That package of organic almonds cost over $6.
  2. Time/effort.  Even though I say it was easy and quick, if we're comparing it to store-bought almond milk, it's still much more time-consuming.
  3. Significantly shorter shelf-(fridge)-life.  This went sour within 3 days only.  Although we came close to using it all up before this, I still had to dump some of it out after a few days.  :(
So, all-in-all, this was fun, and definitely a worthwhile test, but I can't say I'd ever really do it again.  It had significantly increased cost, time and effort for something which was admittedly better tasting, but which only lasted a fraction of the time a commercially-bought carton would.

I should say that it was pretty as well, because it was.  Perhaps when I have guests staying with us for a few days, it would be nice to serve this on the table.

Anyway... we continue to purchase store-bought almond milk, because it is much cheaper, and even though they suggest using it within a few days as well, I've had a 2 L carton last for weeks.

I should say that the brand of almond milk you choose, does matter.  Make sure you get one that has as few ingredients as possible, and especially, as few preservatives as possible.  Many (most) brands contain carrageenan which is ostensibly a stabilizer, but is really NOT NEEDED.  Anyway, try to avoid carrageenan.  Just because it comes from seaweed, does not necessarily mean it's good to ingest.

Anyway, the brand which we buy regularly, and quite enjoy, is called So Nice.  

In addition to using gellan gum as a stabilizer instead of carrageenan, it is also organic, and has a nice addition of some good vitamins too.  

Which is especially helpful if you are truly trying to replace dairy milk.

A 2L carton of this stuff is significantly cheaper than buying the almonds, and it lasts way longer.  Couple that with the fact that the stuff inside the carton is all organic and actually quite decent, I feel good about buying and consuming this product regularly. 

So, even though it was fun and delicious to make my own almond milk, I think the pros just don't outweigh the cons in this equation.  

Especially when there are some decent, cheaper, and vitamin-fortified commercial options out there.