Cooking Tip: Homemade Almond Milk
I like to make my own food and drink. I like the science of it, the experiments. I like making better tasting food that usually costs less than commercial versions. I like knowing what I did and did not put in my own food. I like finding and making my own substitutes for foods I have to avoid. I like the time in the kitchen. I like having things soaking, steeping, fermenting, extracting, roasting, braising, simmering, progressing in the kitchen even when I'm not there. Oh, and I like the toys.
Kitchen toys used for this post: high speed blender, large and small glass measuring cups, a strainer or colander, a cotton nut bag. The only essential? The high-speed blender. My late, lamented Braun 5-in-1 blender could not do this kitchen task. So I use a loud, ugly, refurbished basic Vitamix—and earplugs.
Here's how I make almond milk:
- Soak 1 cup whole almonds at least 6 hours in 3 cups lukewarm water. I add a tiny pinch of gray sea salt to the water, stir for a few seconds, and let it be for up to 18 hours.
- After soaking, dump into a strainer and rinse, rinse, rinse.
- Put the wet almonds in the blender and add three cups water. I also add one whole date (no pit), and a bit of vanilla. You can add none of the above, or honey, sugar, cinnamon, cardamom—whatever flavors you like.
- Blend on high for three minutes, or until blissfully smooth. Pour into a nut bag set in a colander over a large bowl. Either allow to drip for awhile, or immediately begin squeezing the milk through the bag. Use clean hands and good judgment about how to hold the almond mixture in place with one hand while squeezing with the other. Toward the end, put more muscle in your squeeze, until the squeezing is no longer worth it—no more milk comes out.
- That's it: delicious almond milk. My system makes a scant quart. I pour it into a quart jar, add a lid, and put it in the refrigerator immediately. I use it within a week, shaking or stirring before each use.
Some mornings I add a little to hot drinks. Some afternoons I heat a small cup of it, stir a square or two of dark chocolate, and sip the creaminess.
That nut pulp left behind? I still don't have a good use for it. I have tried quite a few things. The very best is having neighbors whose chickens turn all manner of kitchen left-behinds into perfect eggs.