"A corpse is meat gone bad. What's cheese? Corpse of milk." ~James Joyce
Making almond milk at home has been on my to-do list since forever. Just some raw almonds, water and a blender are the main components needed to make it happen.
The store-bought versions are so filled with tasty-goodness, I was addicted to it for a while. It is so nutritious, I could just feel the nutrition flowing through me with every sip!!! *snort* This stuff is like crack!!!
If you have never had almond milk, it is not very different than cow's milk in consistency. The flavor is also similar and actually, if used in cereal I am unable to detect a difference. But by itself or as a non-dairy creamer for coffee, and used as a substitute for milk as a baking ingredient, it is yummy to the max! I might be mistaken but it might also be cheaper than a gallon of milk, too (in the USA). There are always coupons for almond milk going around.
There are too many benefits to list for consuming it. Info here.
Here are some photos of how I made mine yesterday.
It's not crazy. It's nuts!
On the left, dry out of the package. On the right, soaked overnight.
Sprouting the almonds: The skin of almonds holds in them what is called an enzyme inhibitor. This prevents the almond from sprouting until the conditions are right for it to do so. (Nature is so awesome!) Removal of the inhibitor also makes them easier to digest.
Nutritionally, the sprout phase of a plant is when it is highest in vitamins and minerals, and so, soaking the almonds first to sprout them gives the greatest benefit when using them for consumption or for making cosmetic products. For making almond milk, soaking longer gives a more mild flavor. Less soaking time or no soaking time gives it a more nutty finish. They can be soaked for up to twelve hours and minimally for four. I soaked mine for 12 hours.
I used one measured cup of raw almonds. (Roasted almonds are not the correct type of almonds to use.) Raw almonds can be found in the baking section of a grocery store and sometimes in bins at a health food store.
After soaking, they are rinsed thoroughly to remove any residual enzyme inhibitor and are then added to the blender with 3 cups of water. If I was going to add something like dates to sweeten the milk, I would probably use 4 cups of water in that case. I could also add to this some vanilla extract or vanilla bean, a dash of cinnamon, some agave nectar, honey or other sweetener. For this entry I'm just making a pure, unsweetened milk base.
Immediately once the almonds start whirring in the blender, the contents become white and frothy. In a low-end blender like mine (I don't do much blending actually), pulse on low and then switch to high and blend for 3 to 4 minutes adding a dash of salt at any time. On a high-powered pro-style blender like a VitaMix, 2 minutes is really sufficient.
To separate the milk from what doesn't get blended down, I used cheesecloth over a mason jar secured with a rubber band. Next time I would prefer to do this over a bowl and perhaps use a different type of straining material like hemp cloth or something. There are fine mesh bags similar to lingerie laundering bags available to purchase too. They are called nut milk bags for people who do this regularly. I may get a few.
Here I lifted out what I had strained so far and started squeezing away at it to get the rest of the nut milk out of the pulp.
It looked so tasty, I was guzzling it right then and there. The amount in the jar is probably 1/3 less than what is supposed to be in it.
On the left is the remainder of almond milk I didn't chug. The jar was eventually sealed and went into the refrigerator. (It should keep for about 4 days.) On the right is the nut pulp.
The nut pulp here is also referred to as almond meal. Other types of meals are oatmeal and cornmeal. The deal with "meal" is simply that it is finely ground product and that's about it. You could make this out of regular unsoaked almonds in a powerful coffee bean grinder actually.
There are a bazillion things that can be done with this. As an ingredient for food, it can also be dehydrated, sifted and then turned into almond flour to use for baking. It can be toasted in a toaster oven to be turned into almond nut butter in a food processor. Yep, that nut butter that costs about $12.00 at the store... this is all it takes to make it.
As a beauty product, almond meal is often used as an exfoliant. Add to the meal a few drops of almond milk, water etc.) and make it into a paste to use as a scrub. Other things that can be added to it are lemon juice, honey, baking soda, aloe, rosewater, witch hazel. (LOTS of possibilities!) It is really gentle and the natural healthy oils in it really do wonders for the skin.
As a body scrub, add some ginger for an invigorating aroma and to help prevent breakouts and control acne. Use avocado, mashed cucumber... so many ways to go!
It feels so heavenly to mix with my hands. The natural oils in it are dreamy. It feels like a mixture of feathers and marshmallows. lol.
My preference for this round is to use it as a dredge for chicken or fish. Mixed with a bit of chili powder, it is actually going to be the crispy coating on the protein portion of my dinner tonight.
Almond Meal Chicken: Recipe
The last one up there is not my photo but looks so yummy!
Here is a video where, in less than 60 seconds you can see a fairly handsome foodie gentleman giving a not-as-thorough but informative visual on making homemade almond milk.
That is it for my kitchen projects for the week. Thanks for looking and happy herb-hacking!