Monday, March 26, 2012
Apparently You CAN Milk an Almond! - How to Make Almond Milk in 4 Easy Steps
An unexpected consequence of attending Paleo F(x)'12 was the acquisition of two pounds of raw almonds. The nuts were packed into each attendees schwag bag and I happened to be the benefactor of some attendees unwanted surplus.
As the goods were essentially free, I felt inclined to experiment with them in ways that would not appeal to me if I had paid the going price of ~$7.00 per pound ($6.99 on Nuts.com). So, I began searching the web for a way to transform my bounty into some good eating, or, as I soon found out, good drinking.
On the site Instructables.com, I found a recipe for making home-made almond milk that seemed rather simple and straightforward, so I decided to give it a go. Some tweaks were made in the interests of Ancestral Health (such as the disposal of the soaking/sprouting water and the elimination of added sugar/sweetener) but the end result definitely exceeded my expectations.
I even found a way to recycle the leftover almond meal into a delicious bonus recipe, can you say Mayan Chocolate Brownies?
2lbs raw almonds
~1 gallon filtered water
Piece of muslin or cheesecloth (or a plain white t-shirt that you no longer want)
Blender or food processor
Large glass jar
Step 1: Soaking and Sprouting
In addition to softening the almonds, soaking/sprouting helps to neutralize anti-nutrients like phytic acid. After putting the almonds in your bowl, just cover them with a few inches of water, put a towel over the top of the bowl, and let sit for 12-24 hours.
Step 2: Grinding
After draining the soaked almonds (and rinsing with clean water), add them in batches to your blender or food processor, covering with enough water to ensure that you can fully grind them into a watery paste.
Step 3: Squeezing
The recipe that I was following recommended filtering the almond paste with a wire filter. I found this to be way too time-consuming and messy, so I simply ladled portions of the mixture into a clean white t-shirt and squeezed out the "milk" into a separate bowl.
Step 4: Seasoning
While I omitted sugar and other sweeteners (I found the milk to be naturally sweet enough) I did add a nice pinch of sea salt to help smooth out the flavor. At this point, if your almond milk is a little too thick (more of a cream consistency), you can add more water to thin it out somewhat. I also noticed that after a day in the fridge, the milk had to be gently shaken, but it stayed emulsified after that.
As a result of milking the almonds, you'll end up with a sizable quantity of almond meal. To prepare it for other recipes (such as the aforementioned Mayan Chocolate Brownies) you'll need to put the meal in a large baking dish and dry it in the oven on low heat (~250 degrees) for 2-3 hours (stirring occasionally). Once the almond meal is dry, you can double bag it and put it in the freezer where it will last just about forever.