Last summer, I gave up sweetened creamers for my coffee. I know, crazy, right?? (Disclaimer: this does not include the occasional Starbucks, Dunkin, or Sheetz coffee treat.). I knew I needed to lower the amount of sugar I consumed and this was a step in that direction.
I also was trying to lower my dairy intake to reduce inflammation. Please hear me loud and clear…I have nothing against dairy! A dear friend of mine is a dairy farmer. I still eat some dairy…I mean cheese is just too good to give up altogether! But I knew I needed to moderate my intake.
So I started looking at unsweetened almond milks in the grocery stores. They are probably fine, but some of the things added to them just made me a little uncomfortable, and I researched how to make homemade almond milk.
It turns out it is rather simple. A blender, some almonds, and water, an occasional flavoring, and that’s it! I do not know if this is how big companies make their almond milk, but it works for me!
First, I soak the almonds in water in the fridge for at least 12 hours. I’ve watched videos and read that this process makes the milk creamier and begins the sprouting procession the almonds. I cannot say with certainty that’s the case, but it would make sense!
Then it’s time for action. I usually use a 1:4 ratio of almonds to water. I usually only make 1 cup at a time, because I don’t know how long it actually keeps in the fridge. So, that means I use 1/4 cup of almonds and 1cup of water. Lately I’ve been making more because I started using this almond milk in oat pancakes and overnight oats as well as coffee.
After the almonds have soaked, I rinse them in cool water and put them, along with distilled water, into a blender. I’ve flavored my almond milk several different ways. I usually just pour in about 1/2 tablespoon of vanilla extract. In the fall, I added a sprinkle of cinnamon and some raw ginger. Around Christmas, I used peppermint extract and unsweetened cocoa powder. (The cocoa powder was a little tricky because it made the milk too thick to be strained.). If you have any other ideas of how to flavor almond milk, I would love to hear your suggestions!
I do not sweeten this almond milk at all, as that would defeat my purpose of limiting sugar intake. If you prefer a sweeter milk, I’ve seen people use dates and grind them up in the blender with the almonds. I would probably use maple syrup personally, but there is always stevia and honey too.
The next step is just to blend everything up. I usually let the blender run for about 30 seconds or so. Once the bits of almond skin flying around look very small, then I know it is finished.
I have a mesh strainer with a handle that fits perfectly on top of a two-cup measuring cup, which I line with 2 paper towels. I then pour the contents of the blender through the paper towels and strainer. Some of the other instructional posts and videos I have checked out talk about using a nut bag. Well, I don’t have one of those, so I improvised. And, if you’re careful, it works just fine!
Most of the liquid filters through the strainer with no problems, but once it gets down to the end, the remainder needs squeezed out. This is when things could get a little tricky. I’ve found that I can’t just squeeze the paper towels any old way. I need to be gentle and careful, squeezing slowly at one end, and just working the liquid out rather than forcing it.
And sometimes (ok, many times) the paper towels tear, but I just squeeze around the tear and try not to make it bigger.
And that’s it! I just pour the almond milk into a mason jar to keep it, put a plastic lid on, and place it in the refrigerator until I need it. I like to store it in mason jars because there are already measuring marks (1/4 cup) on the jars, so I don’t need to worry about dirtying a measuring cup when I go to use the milk.
I’ve found this almond milk to be a great replacement in some foods and drinks where I would use regular milk. Give it a try sometime! It’s really not difficult, it just takes a little bit of time!