Note: I have made a promise to myself to stop making life look so neat and tidy (without falling into the trap of being a slob). I’m going to post only pictures in my blog posts that are real life. Food pics with dirty dishes in the background, kids who are not perfect or perfectly happy. It’s time to get real. I live In Real Life and my blog should reflect that. I’m starting with this post…because making Almond Milk was messy the first time…and if it’s your first time doing something, you’re not good at it yet and it’s going to be messy, so why not show it IRL?
I’ve wanted to make almond milk for a while. A carton of it is on our grocery list every week (and it’s not cheap). Plus, I read recently that there are very few almonds in store-bought almond milk—less than 2%, based on data from a brand that is sold in the U.K. So really, what’s the point of drinking it? It’s not really almond milk anyway…and I don’t like all the other additives that give it it’s milky consistency and longer shelf-life.
So it led me to wonder, if I got off my butt and made it myself with my own almonds (raw almonds are also on our weekly grocery list), would it be milky like the stuff we get at the store and would it taste good? Also, would it be reasonably convenient to make it instead of buying it?
I’d love to say that I make everything myself and don’t eat or drink processed foods and beverages, but I have two young kids and a full-time job and there are times when I have to weigh the convenience with the health benefits. It’s called realism. I lean toward homemade, but it’s not always possible.
Time to try it.
I found the recipe for almond milk in my Blendtec book, poured one cup of almonds into a small bowl and filled the bowl with water. I let that rest overnight, eagerly anticipating a cold glass of yummy homemade almond milk.
The instructions are pretty straightforward. Add soaked almonds and water to Blendtec then blend.
Strain the almonds using a nut bag (or cheesecloth, which is what I used because I had some on hand and didn’t want to make the nut bag investment until I was sure this was an activity that I would do consistently).
Pour the liquid back into the Blendtec and add the sweetner (the recipe called for agave nectar; I used honey because it’s what I had in the pantry), the vanilla and salt and blend for a few seconds. Pour into a cup and enjoy. You may want to pour the milk into a jug and refrigerate it for a bit before drinking if you like your milk cold. The action of the blender will heat it up a bit to slightly warmer than room temperature.
The milk was creamy, yummy and deliciously sweet (I would actually reduce whatever sweetner I use next time to about half).
As predicted, my first time was messy (using cheesecloth didn’t help the mess). But I’m showing it all in its messy glory. It was easy to clean up and the cold glass of almond milk I had after, which contained a good serving of almonds and no unknown ingredients, was totally worth it.
The Blendtec recipe says the almond milk will last up to 3 days in the fridge. I think we were nearing day 5 when I drank the last glass from the jug and it was still fine.
But what to do with all that almond meal that you strain out of the milk? This had always been my main reason for not making almond milk. It seemed to me to be such a waste of a good part of the almond.
But I learned that you can dry the almond meal out and roast it in your oven the way that you do breadcrumbs and then put it back in the Blendtec to pulverize it into almond flour. So, no excuses now. Almond milk is easy to make and almond flour is easy to make, so all parts are used and all parts are enjoyed.
I decided to skip buying a nut milk bag, though. The idea of scraping almond meal out of the seams of the bag really didn’t appeal to me. I found this idea over at EastingVibrantly.com. Easy Breezy.
Do you make any kind of nut milk? What do you do with the leftover almond meal?
**Update: After publishing this post, I was browsing around the Internet and found this post about maximizing the cup of almonds in the almond milk recipe and getting the most bang for your almond buck. Anything you can do to stretch that dollar.