A Guide to Making Almond Milk at Home
Fresh, lightly sweet, and so satisfying.
Consider the humble almond. The tree nut native to the Mediterranean region has been cultivated as far back as 3000 BC and it’s no surprise that the ancients have embraced this nutrient-dense food. Not only does it boast monounsaturated fats, it also contains fibre, vitamin E, and minerals such as calcium and magnesium. Packed with goodness, almonds can help to lower cholesterol levels while promoting anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.
While they are delicious when toasted, crushed, and sprinkled over a salad, they have also found their way into our coffee, smoothies, and breakfast bowls in the form of almond milk.
As a dairy-free alternative to regular milk, almond milk is free of lactose, making it a delicious option for those who have dietary or allergy concerns.
Those looking to reduce their calorie intake will also find almond milk to be a perfect alternative. While 236ml of whole cow’s milk contains 150 calories, the same amount of almond milk only has 40 calories.
What’s in store-bought almond milk?
Given the increasing demand for plant-based milk, it’s easy to find supermarkets well stocked with a wide range of almond milk. However, these commercial products may contain starches and thickeners added to improve the consistency, texture, and shelf life of almond milk. A quick look at the range of almond milk in our local supermarkets threw up the following ingredients: tapioca starch (used to thicken the texture of the liquid), sunflower lecithin (a natural fat emulsifier which can cause such side effects as diarrhoea and bloating), and carrageenan (some studies suggest that this additive used to thicken and preserve the milk also triggers inflammation in the body). Some brands also add agave syrup or cane sugar to sweeten the beverage.
Make your own almond milk
If you’re looking to savour just the pure benefits of almonds without any additives or preservatives, it isn’t difficult to make your own almond milk at home with tools that you would already have in your kitchen.
Ingredients you’ll need
1 cup of raw almonds
3 cups of water
Salt, to taste (optional)
Honey, to taste (optional)
- Soak the almonds overnight in a big bowl of cool water to soften them.
- The following morning, drain the water and rinse your almonds with a fresh batch of water.
- In a blender, combine your almonds with three cups of water (using less water results in a creamier consistency, so feel free to experiment and adjust to your liking). Pulse the mixture to break the almonds up before blending for about two minutes. The more finely you blend it, the more milk you’ll obtain.
- Next, strain the mixture through a cheesecloth or nut milk bag and squeeze out as much milk as possible. If you don’t have a cheesecloth or nut milk bag, a french press is a good substitute, but you’ll have to work in smaller batches. (Zero-waste hack: Save the leftover almond pulp and turn it into hummus, crackers, or gluten-free cookies.)
- Now that you have your fresh, creamy, and preservative-free almond milk, enjoy it as it is or add salt and honey for flavour.
- If you’re not consuming the almond milk immediately, store it in an airtight container and keep it in the refrigerator. It’ll keep for up to four or five days.
Switch it up with flavoured almond milk
Keen to experiment with flavour variations? When you’re blending your nuts with water, you can add the following:
- 2 Medjool dates (to introduce natural sweetness)
- 1 tablespoon of cacao powder (turn your plain old almond milk into a chocolatey treat)
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla beans or a few drops of vanilla essence (almond and vanilla – a classic combination!)
- 1 cup of strawberries (for a fruity, naturally sweetened milk)