Homemade Vanilla Almond Milk
Yes, even though my life is super crazy busy with school, this blog (well, I’ve been slacking there a bit) and the kids, I’m still finding (more like making) time to whip up some of my favorite homemade staples each week like; almond milk, granola bark, healthy cookies for snacking, roasted red peppers, sweet potatoes and roasted beets for lunches, and pesto and salad dressings for those last-minute salads and meals. I’m a firm believer that anything homemade is just overall better, it’s tastier, healthier, less expensive, and when you make something from scratch you can control the quality and integrity of the finished product. When you make something from scratch, you know what’s exactly going into your food!
Almond milk is one of the easiest raw food products to make at home. I know most of you are scratching your head thinking, who wants to go though the process and hassle of making homemade almond milk when I can just buy a carton inexpensively it at the store. I totally get it, but I’ve listed a few benefits of making your own almond milk below, just incase you’re interested.
- You have control over the freshness of the nuts, the sugar levels and the texture (strained or unstrained).
- There’s no carrageenan (thickener) or gum in homemade almond milk.
- Fresh raw almond milk contains live enzymes and has no additives or preservatives.
- Making your own nut milk is super simple, and like overnight steel-cut oats it just takes a bit of advanced planning on your part to soak the nuts, but then only take 5 minutes to whip up.
- You need only 4 simple ingredients to make up a batch, and one of those ingredients is water.
- If you purchase organic raw almonds from the bulk bin at your local health food store, you’ll also be able to save some money.
- It digests seamlessly, unlike conventional dairy, which so many among us (especially those of you who are lactose intolerant, like me) find difficult to stomach.
- It also tastes so much better, as is SUPER FRESH and HOMEMADE!
IMPORTANT NEWS ABOUT ALMONDS! Did you know that raw almonds sold in the grocery store are not actually raw? They’ve been pasteurized! I’m sure there are many of you that knew this, but it was surprise/shock to me, so I thought I would share it with all of you. In 2007, the USDA ordered all almond growers to “sterilize” commercially sold almonds in one of three ways: flash pasteurize them using steam, (steam them at 160 degrees, which is the safest way of the three) use radiation, (yikes) or treat them with propylene oxide (PPO). PPO is a known carcinogen, and most countries, have banned imported nuts treated with PPO. Scary right?
But no worries, you now have the information and you therefore have options, which is a good thing. Also, there are a few ways to still get truly “raw” unpasteurized almonds.
- You can purchase them from your local farmers market, as they don’t have to pasteurize almonds because they’re not selling them in large volume. This is a win/win to me because you’re supporting our local farmers!
- You can purchase them from Canada, as Canada does not require almonds to be pasteurized.
- There are a number of on-line resources where you can purchase raw almonds and I’ve included some links for you all: Bremner Farms Roadside Stand, Blue Mountain Organics and of course there is always Amazon.
- I’ve also heard that some Whole Foods are carrying truly raw Italian almonds near the bulk section, so check with your individual store.
If you purchase ORGANIC raw almonds (or organic almonds in general) from the grocery store, then know that they have only been pasteurized using the steaming method, which heats them up a bit, but they are still raw, (but not truly raw for those raw enthusiasts out there that only eat food that has never been heated at all) but for the majority of us they are raw. Steaming them is the safest and purest way to pasteurize almonds, as it only gets to the outside of the nut, not the inside, so it doesn’t affect the quality or the nutritional value of the nut. SO NOTE! All raw almonds that are labeled organic, only use the steaming method for pasteurization, so you can feel safe buying almonds that are organic. Got it?
I always soak up a batch of almonds on Saturday night and then whip up a fresh batch of almond milk on Sunday morning. It’s just part of my weekly routine. I use this milk all week to top off my cereal, steel-cut oats, 5-minute hot quinoa cereal, granola and tea. I also use it in baked goods, as well as our favorite almond four pancakes. It’s just so versatile and delicious to boot! I actually feel proud each time I whip up a batch of milk, sort of like a cute little milk maid!
homemade vanilla almond milk:
makes 3-4 cups strained or 4-5 cups unstrained depending on the water ratio you use
Note: You will need to soak the almonds overnight or all day (8-12 hours)
Special equipment: nut milk bag, high powered blender
- 1 cup whole raw organic almonds – see my note in the above post on why you should use organic almonds
- 5 cups filtered water, divided – 2 cups for soaking the almonds, and 3 cups for making the milk – see my notes below on nut to water ratios
- pinch of sea salt – this helps to enhance the flavor of the milk
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract or 2 Medjool dates – I’ve used both, but my kiddos prefer the vanilla
By the way, you can really use any type of nuts to make nut milk, but always remember this simple ratio, it takes one cup of nuts to three to four parts water (depending on the thickness you want) to make a batch of nut milk. Easy peasy!
Place 1 cup raw almonds in small bowl or glass container with a lid, add 2 cups filtered water, cover and soak for 10 to 12 hours. I always just soak my almonds overnight.
Below is a picture of the soaked almonds, as you can see the water turns brownish in color.
Using a strainer, drain and rinse the soaked almonds.
Place the almonds in a high-powered upright blender. Now you have 2 choices here.
You can add 3 cups of water (my preference) and get a thicker more traditional almond milk. This actually tastes like the stuff you get in store. SO GOOD!
You can add 4 cups of water and get a thinner almond milk, which is perfect for pairing with cereal and oatmeal.
Add in your desired amount (3-4 cups) of filtered water, pinch of sea salt and the tablespoon vanilla extract. You can also skip the vanilla extract and use 1 to 2 de-pitted Medjool dates. I’ve made it both ways and love it either way, but my kids prefer the vanilla flavored milk.
NOTE: If you want a super thick milk, then you can do a ratio of 2 cups water to 1 cup soaked almonds. I haven’t tried this ratio yet, but some people really like it thick.
Blend on high-speed for at least 1 minute, or until the milk is completely smooth and frothy.
See how creamy white and beautiful it is?
Stop right here if you want unstrained almond milk (milk with the nut pulp in it). Pour it into a glass bottle with lid and store it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, make sure to shake the milk well before using. Unstrained almond milk is great for topping on granola and for using in smoothies. Unstrained almond milk has more nutrients and fiber than the strained milk, but I prefer the consistency of the strained almond milk, so I usually strain mine.
Proceed if you want strained almond milk: To strain almond milk you will need a Iqzeens Nut Milk Bag- Safe Organic Cotton and Hemp Strainer- Large Reusable Food Filter- Sprouts and Cheese Maker- Coffee and Tea Brewer- Juicer- Storage Bag Included nut milk bag, or you could use several layers of cheese cloth, or a clean flour sack towel, but I would honestly invest in a nut milk bag because they can be washed and reused again and again.
Place the nut bag over a medium bowl, jar or jug (one that can hold 4 cups or water or more). Pour the almond milk into the bag and gently twist the top of the bag closed. Slowly twist the bag so the milk escapes. Keep twisting and squeezing the bag until every last drop is out. Make sure you squeeze the bag to get the last bit of liquid out, as this is the creamiest and yummiest bit of the milk, so don’t miss out on that! Thank you Zoe for being my hand model!
You don’t need a fine mesh strainer, as I used in the below photo if you have a nut milk bag. I was using a jelly bag and thus had some sediment, so I used the mesh strainer as well to get my milk even smoother in consistency.
You can compost the leftover pulp, or check out this link for ways to use leftover almond pulp.
Storage: Store the almond milk in a glass jar, or bottle with a lid in the fridge. The milk will last up to 5 days.
Make sure to shake it well before using.
I use this milk all week to top off my cereal, steel-cut oats, 5-minute hot quinoa cereal, granola and tea. I also use it in baked goods, as well as our favorite almond flour pancakes. It’s just so versatile and delicious to boot!