Have you been purchasing ready-made almond milk for the sake of convenience? Me too! There are organic brands out there that have no added sugar and they’re pretty good. But I recently ran out of “store-bought,” and had to go back to my old “home-made” variety and wow! I had forgotten how much better it tastes!
If you didn’t know, soaking nuts prior to consuming them can make them easier to digest and increases enzyme activity. The process of soaking actually begins the sprouting process, which is said to increase the total nutrient profile considerably. It’s not absolutely necessary, but if you have the time, soaking them in water for anywhere from 20 minutes to several days can be beneficial.
Also, when there’s time, blanching the almonds in boiling water just long enough to be able to remove the skins before using (and before soaking if you’re going to do that) makes for an exceptionally white and creamy milk, great for those just switching from dairy. (I used to let my kids pop the skins off, and they found it really fun when they were small. Just beware the flying nuts!)
To blanche the almonds, place them in a bowl and pour on enough boiling water to cover. Allow the water to cool, then drain the nuts and remove the skins.
Having said all that, using raw, skin-on, un-soaked nuts will work just fine, too.
Either way, 1 1/2 cup nuts to about 5 cups of water is a good ratio and will yield about a quart of almond milk if you strain it, more if you use it unstrained. Adding a 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla and a TINY bit of sweetener (1 teaspoon of pure maple syrup if you’re on Kaufmann 2 or a bit of stevia) can really help “sell” this transition from cow’s milk.
Put the nuts, soaked and drained, (or not) and skinned (or not) into a blender container with 1 cup of water and blend until very thick and creamy. Add remaining water and blend until very well combined. Add sweetener, if desired, blend to combine, and adjust with additional stevia according to your taste, if desired.
At this point, you can strain the milk if you prefer a less “grainy” product. The most effective way is to pour the milk through a sieve lined with several layers of cheesecloth. When the liquid stops draining on its own, gather the sides of the cheesecloth, pull them together into bundle, and begin to twist, squeezing out as much of the liquid as possible. As stated previously, this more time-consuming process is not at all mandatory, but will yield the very best, most creamy and rich almond milk you’ve ever imagined.
Note: If you’re really in a bind and have no almonds but do have almond meal or flour, you can substitute it for the whole almonds, using about 1 1/4 cup for 5 cups of water.