Recently, I decided to make the jump and buy a VitaMix. I’ve been deliberating for about a year on whether or not I should invest in this machine, especially because it’s $380 (with just the wet blade and one container) … After talking to everyone I know who has one, I decided that it is going to pay for itself over time. Instead of paying for packaged items like almond milk, smoothies, soups, etc, I would make them at home instead. Over time, this will have a positive cumulative effect because I will be making a lot more from scratch and relying less and less on packaged food items …
So after buying the VitaMix from Costco, I naturally wanted to use it right away! Instead of using it to make a smoothie – which is too predictable (plus, I have a magic bullet-like blender that I use for those anyway) – I decided to make almond milk from scratch. Why almond milk? Well, firstly, I love the taste of almonds. Secondly, since my husband and I usually fast from all animal products (including dairy) a few times per year (as part of our Orthodox Christian tradition), we usually end up purchasing a lot of milk substitutes – specifically, almond milk and coconut milk. (If you’re curious, we’ve stopped drinking soy milk for these reasons). So I figured this is a good time as any to start learning how to make nut milk at home.
What are almonds?
This sounds like an obvious question. Almonds are nuts. But how do they grow? According to WH Foods, the almond nut comes from the inside of a seed: “The almond that we think of as a nut is technically the seed of the fruit of the almond tree, a medium-sized tree that bears fragrant pink and white flowers. Like its cousins, the peach, cherry and apricot trees, the almond tree bears fruits with stone-like seeds (or pits) within. The seed of the almond fruit is what we refer to as the almond nut.”
What’s so beneficial about almonds?
Almonds have been found to:
- Lower LDL-Cholesterol and Reduce Your Risk of Heart Disease
- Provide Double-Barreled Protection against Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease
- Reduce the risk of coronary heart disease
- Almond’s Healthy Fats May Help You Lose Weight
- Eating Nuts Lowers Risk of Weight Gain
- Daily Consumption of Almonds May Help You Eat a Healthier Diet
- Manganese, Copper & Riboflavin-More Help with Energy Production
- Help Prevent Gallstones
- Almonds are a Protein Powerhouse
(Source: WH Foods. See website for more detailed information and scientific studies supporting each health benefit mentioned above)
So, how can I make almond milk at home?
It’s actually not hard at all! Making nut milk requires that you remember a simple ratio: one cup of nuts to four cups of water. Other than that, you’ll need a few spices/sweeteners for flavor and a VitaMix (or other industrial strength blender). For my first batch of almond milk, I wanted to try making an interesting flavor – I was specifically craving chai, so I added a few spices to give that effect, and it tasted great! If you prefer a plain vanilla-flavored almond milk, simply eliminate the other spices that I used and only use the vanilla extract and your natural sweetener of choice.
Chai-Flavored Almond Milk ( makes about 4 cups) – adapted from Choosing Raw
- 1 cup of almonds, soaked overnight in some warm water with 1/2 teaspoon of Himalayan sea salt or other unrefined mineral salt (read here to find out why it’s best to soak nuts and seeds before eating) – Discard this water and rinse well before adding to blender.
- 4 cups filtered water
- 4 medjool dates OR 3 teaspoons of 100% pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon pure organic vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1. Soak the almonds. Preferably overnight, but you can try for 3-4 hours if you want to make it the same day. Before using, make sure to discard the water used during soaking.
2. Add all ingredients to a strong blender. Blend on low at first and then increase the speed to high and leave for about a minute until all almonds have been pulverized and blended.
3. Strain: If you want to drink unstrained, it will have little pieces from the pulverized almonds, so make sure to shake well before drinking. Otherwise, it’s best to strain using a fine stainer (shown below) or a nut milk bag for silky smooth almond milk.
Hang the strainer or milk bag over the open mouth of a container, and pour the almond milk slowly, making sure to use a spoon to mix and squeeze down to drain all the liquid into the container.
4. Reserve the almond pulp. Don’t throw away the pulp you collect after straining your almond milk! You can use this pulp to make raw desserts or grind it to make almond flour for use in gluten-free baking.
5. Drink the almond milk. You can use it as a replacement for milk in cereals and oatmeal or simply enjoy a glass by itself. It stays good in the fridge for a couple of days. If it has soured, you shouldn’t drink it.
This chai almond milk hit the spot! Even though we can drink dairy these days (we just bought raw milk today – more on that experience tomorrow!!) – I often crave the taste of almond milk. It’s nice to be able to make it at home and in fairly little time.