Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Almond Milk

I've been making almond milk for a few months now.  Last spring after seeing a specialist to figure out some of our food allergies I stopped buying cow's milk and switched to almond milk.  I eventually added dairy back into our diets in the form of cheese and homemade yogurt (I love our YoLife maker, with the extra tall lid), but we stuck with the almond milk. I was buying two cartons a week for several months when I realized we could be making our own.  Mostly, I got tired of all the packaging.  Our recycling center won't accept the waxed cardboard cartons.  Then, I got a couple of cartons that seemed like they'd sat for far too long on the shelf, all gloopy and gross--I ended up having to dump them.  Also, some of the companies add a lot of extra "stuff" that made me a bit suspect, though I never did any real research-- it may be entirely harmless.
Either way, I looked at a few recipes, ordered raw almonds in bulk from our food coop, and had at it.
You can too!

Here's how I do it:
First, soak raw almonds in water for about 12 hours (more or less is fine, I typically put them in water to soak before I go to bed).  In the morning I rinse them well and strain.  Then I put 1 cup of soaked almonds into the blender with 4 cups fresh water.  I sometimes add some unsweetened coconut flakes too (and a bit more water as well).  I add a teaspoon of vanilla, a pinch of sea salt, and about two tablespoons of maple syrup or honey.  Blend on high for 1-2 minutes.

Then, strain the mixture through cheese cloth into a clean jar.   

I use a spoon to gently squeeze the "milk" from the pulp--this is Kale's favorite job, then scoop the pulp into a jar to use as almond flour in many gluten free baking recipes (the pulp remains a little wet, so I have to tweak the recipes a bit to accommodate the added moisture). 

Viola, homemade almond, or coconut-almond milk.  This keeps for about 5 days in the fridge. 

Honestly the kids don't really like the taste of this for just drinking, but I use it in all our smoothies, for baking, in hot drinks, or in porridge and no one complains. I like how it tastes but don't drink much of it plain. I do wonder about our calcium intake, and have considered getting a supplement, but for now am just making sure we all get yogurt and cheese into our diets as well.  

Ideally we'll switch to goat's milk when a steady supply is easily obtained (so far I haven't had any luck finding any on a regular basis, and Rob isn't swaying on the idea of getting our own).  But, my sister's goats and sheep are being bred this fall for spring babies and milk, and then we'll most likely make the switch.  Until then I'll stick with our almond milk.  Its easy and inexpensive (if you buy in bulk) plus the almond "flour" is great to have.  Hope you enjoy.  


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