If you haven’t tried almond milk yet, you should. It is a fabulous non-dairy alternative and is even better with a good chocolate brownie. It is similar to cow’s milk in flavor, but with a nutty twist. And it has more calcium than it’s dairy counterpart.
This past year we transitioned our entire family, except me of course (I don’t get to have nuts), to almond milk. As we have done that, I have become aware of the fillers that are used in almond milks that are sold in the grocer’s dairy case. And after reading Chris Kresser’s article about xantham gum, it made me take a harder look at what is in the almond milk that we buy. It doesn’t have xantham gum, but it does have some other fillers that made me stop and wonder, “Could I actually make my own almond milk?”.
I never thought I would be brave enough to try making my own. Surely it couldn’t be worth the time and effort. What about cost? But this past week I decided to push past my fears and try. I had nothing to lose but one cup of almonds. So I grabbed my bag of raw almonds and decided I was going to conquer my indecision and give it a try. And you know what? It was SUPER simple and it did taste amazing, so said my husband, who has become an almond milk snob since leaving cow’s milk behind.
I can’t blame anyone for not wanting to take the time or energy to make their own almond milk. But I will say this, I was surprised how easy it was to set up the routine and incorporate it into my morning. But for those of you who have considered doing it, but like me are simply not sure they want one more thing to do, I would say give it a try. You might surprise yourself.
If this sounds daunting to you but still like the idea, and your body can tolerate cashews, an alternative is to substitute cashews for almonds. This eliminates Step 3 (see below) entirely. You can simply puree and enjoy — no straining required.
For many, you are simply not ready to take on this little kitchen adventure yet. That’s okay, but I will say that this is an easy win when you’re ready. You’ll know when you are, and last week, I was ready. One word of advice — if you do buy your own nut milks, make sure you buy them from the dairy case, not the grocery shelf. The refrigerated ones tend to have less fillers. Just make sure you read the labels and pick one that makes sense.
To be completely honest, I have kefir grains waiting for me in my pantry. I just haven’t mustered up the courage to try them. And my yogurt maker has been used just once — somewhat successfully many, many months ago. I have been considering making almond milk for a long time, but I was finally brave enough to try something new.
Embracing whole food eating is a huge step for so many, so take one step forward today. Maybe that step is making your own almond or cashew milk. Maybe you’re already doing this and it’s time to try something else. Whatever you do, keep walking. Life is a marathon, not a sprint. The person who makes the most food from scratch for their families doesn’t “win”. Enjoy the journey toward better health.
1 cup raw almonds
8 cups filtered water, divided
1 tsp salt, divided
1 Tbsp pure maple syrup (optional)
Step 1: Soak the almonds and 1/2 tsp salt in 4 cups filtered water overnight (or for 10 hours).
Step 2: In the morning drain the water from the almonds. Add the almonds and 4 remaining cups of water, 1/2 tsp salt, and syrup (if used) to blender. Puree.
Step 3: Pour almond milk through a nut milk bag or cheesecloth to collect bits of almonds. Squeeze to get excess milk out of nuts.
Step 4: Store in a jar or other glass container in the refrigerator for 2–3 days.