Monday, November 26, 2012

Eat: Homemade Almond Milk

Well hello there dear readers.  I hope we all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  You all know me and how much I like to try to make things from scratch.  Sometimes it's worth it, sometimes it's not.  But you know, you'll never really know unless you try.  One thing that I do think is super worth it is making your own almond milk.  Any nut milk really can be made from scratch.  Why do I think it's worth it you may ask?  You can control everything that goes in it.  From the quality of the almonds, to if it is sweetened or not, how you are sweetening it, is it flavored, etc.  It's easy too!  So here's my simple way of making Almond Milk
I made sweetened vanilla almond milk but you can really customize this however you want.  Want chocolate?  Add cocoa powder when blending.  Want plain unsweetened?  Skip adding the dates and vanilla extract.  Want strawberry?  Blend some strawberries with the almonds.... really it's that easy.

2 Cups Raw Almonds (soaked for a minimum of 4 hours, overnight it better)
4-5 Raw Dates, make sure to take out the pits! (this is your sweetener)
1 Tbs Vanilla Extract (I make my own but use whatever you have)
4-6 Cups Water (I use filtered since our tap water has a lot of chlorine in it)

Bowl for soaking
Nut Milk Bag (or cheesecloth or I use a flour-sack cloth)
Something to bottle your milk in

1. Soak almonds in a bowl for a minimum of 4 hours.  I like to do this right before I go to bed and then I can make a fresh batch in the morning.
2. Rinse your almonds in a strainer until water is clear.  This helps eliminate the bitterness raw almonds can have.
3. Put almonds in a blender with the dates and water.  How much water depends on what consistency milk you would like.  If you like thicker milk (like whole or 2%) add 4 cups water.  If you are a skim person add up to 6 cups water.  It's completely up to you.
4. Blend on high for ~ 1 min
5. Take a bowl and place your strainer over the top.  Layer in your cloth or nut milk bag.
6. Slowly pour your almond mixture into the cloth.  Gather up the sides and squeeze out all the liquid until almond pulp is dry.
7. Set aside the pulp and add your vanilla to the liquid.  You now have almond milk.  Because there aren't any preservatives use this up within a couple of days.  I keep mine in 2 milk jugs I found on clearance at Target but a canning jar works great.   Before you use your milk make sure to shake well.

These steps can be used to make a variety of nut milks just make sure to use raw nuts and not roasted ones.

** What to do with the pulp**
You can use this as almond meal, actually that is what almond meal is.  It can be used right away or frozen for later.  You can also put it in your dehydrator until completely dry and it can be stored in the cupboard until needed.  I do love when you can do 2 things with 1 item don't you?

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