This week I'm sharing a story about the first time I made almond milk.
First, a little background info...
I stopped drinking cow's milk a long time ago after reading a book by Colin T. Campbell about the danger's of casein (the protein found in cow's milk) in humans. In recent years, there has been some research published related to the health risks of consuming cow's milk. You can read about that research here and here. Because of these links to disease, I've been gradually weaning myself off dairy and replacing it with calcium from non-diary sources (such as from plant-based foods like sweet potatoes, broccoli, collard greens, kale, brussel sprouts, beans, sesame seeds and tofu for example).
Anyway, several months ago, I was thumbing through one of my favorite cookbooks... Food 52's Vegan. In it, I came across a recipe for homemade almond milk. I had always heard how easy it was to make and honestly was embarrassed (as a food blogger) to admit that until then, I'd never made it. I mean, store bought almond milk was serving it's purpose, it was easy and tasted...ok.
That particular day I was feeling inspired by the book and I decided to give it a go. Besides, I really wasn't crazy about drinking xanthum gum (store bought versions may contain xanthum gum and often carrageenan...yuck!). Luckily, I had a cheesecloth hidden in the back of my utensil draw and almonds in the cabinet. I threw a cup of those babies in some water to soak overnight.
The following day, I woke up early so I could get a head start on the milk and have it for breakfast. I grabbed my trusty little Vitamix and dumped the almonds, some water, a few dates and vanilla extract into the blender. As it was blending, I could already smell and see the difference. The aroma of the vanilla and dates sent me into a trance. I watched it become thick and frothy in just one minute flat. When I opened the lid, the smell was heavenly. I took a scoop of the frothy milk and tasted it...OH MY GOD! This was not the almond milk I had once known.
It was time to strain it through the cheesecloth. As the milk flowed through the cheesecloth and dripped down my fingers, I felt like I was being transported back in time, to a farmhouse where the early morning breakfast was being prepared from scratch. That simple act transformed me, even if just for a few minutes and I loved it!
Currently, I use my homemade almond milk in teas, with cereals and granola and I drink it (or should I say, gulp it) with my favorite cookies. Smoothies have taken on a new meaning. Even the kids like it! It's that good!
In literally less than 15 minutes, you can have a delicious batch of almond milk made and chillin' in the fridge!
There are so many ways to sweeten up and even spice up the flavor of almond milk. I love using dates as a sweetener, but for this recipe, I naturally sweeten up the milk using honey. Honey has so many health benefits and contains natural healing enzymes that support the immune system (who couldn't use a little of that?). And with fall in full swing, I thought the warmth of some pumpkin pie spice (which contains cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg) would be a really special addition.
I hope you give it a try!
Kitchen items you will need on hand to make a delicious batch of homemade almond milk:
- nut milk bag or cheesecloth and rubber band
- high powered blender
- large Ball jar or container with lid for storing
Homemade Honey Sweetened Spiced Almond Milk
- 1 cup whole unsalted almonds
- 4 cups water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 2 tablespoon honey
- pinch of sea salt
- Place almonds and 1 cup of the water in a glass jar or bowl to soak for at least 8 hours or overnight.
- Empty water from the almonds.
- In a high powered blender combine the almonds, remaining 3 cups of water, vanilla extract, spice honey and salt.
- Blend for about 1-2 minutes until thick and frothy and all the almonds are blended and broken down.
- Place the nut milk bag over or secure a cheesecloth (using a rubber band) to a glass bowl or container and pour the milk through the strainer a little at a time squeezing the milk through the pulp (you may have to empty the pulp once or twice).
- Store the liquid in a sealed container for up to 3-4 days.