Friday, March 25, 2016

Homemade Almond Milk

Homemade almond milk is something I've been wanting to try for a very long time. I've heard how easy it was to make and since I was buying a carton from the store almost every week, I thought, why not try to make it at home. Seemed logical enough to me. Right? So, I started doing a search for what I would need to make almond milk at home and here's what I found - almonds (duh), dates or other natural sweetener, vanilla beans (or extract) and a nut bag. Yes, I said a nut bag. Don't laugh. It's a real thing. I promise! You can use cheese cloth in place of the nut bag, but I recommend a true nut bag. You can find a variety of them on Amazon and any one of them will work. They are around $10 each and are reusable! This is the one I bought. It worked great and was easy to clean. That's a win in my book.

Okay, back to making the milk. It's super easy. First, you take one cup of almonds and soak them for 8-10 hours with enough water to cover them. Make sure you use a big enough bowl as the almonds will expand a bit. Once 8-10 hours have passed, drain and rinse the almonds. You don't want to use that soaking water. Then, place the almonds and fresh water in the blender. At this point, you can blend away or if you want to add a bit of sweetness and flavor, you can add in a few pitted dates and some vanilla. I threw in a whole vanilla bean pod, but if you don't have those handy, vanilla extract will work just fine. You can also use honey or pure maple syrup instead of dates, if you wish. Or leave out the natural sweetener altogether. It's up to you. Once everything is in the blender, whip it up for a minute or so. Make sure everything is really well blended. Give it few extra seconds if you think it needs it. It won't hurt it.

Then comes the fun part and where the nut bag comes in to play. Take a big bowl (enough to hold the liquid from the blender) and place the nut bag in the bowl. Pour the contents of the blender in to the bag and squeeze it for as long as you can to get milk out of it. Warning - if you squeeze too hard, it will squirt all over. Ya, that happened to me. Apparently I don't know my own strength. Once all of the milk is out, you can keep the ground up mixture for granola, muffins or to use as a flour replacement in your baking. More on that later. I threw mine away before I knew you could use it. Darn it!

Give the blender a quick rinse and then pour the milk back in. Now, add a pinch of salt and a dash of cinnamon. You can leave the  cinnamon and salt out, but I think it gives it a little something something and definitely takes it over the top from store bought almond milk. But if you are purest, then you can leave it out. Give the mixture one more whirl and you are good to go. You can pour it in any container you like (I bought this cute reusable milk jar!) and enjoy for up to a week. If it lasts that long. When all is said and done, this recipe makes about three and a half cups of fresh almond milk. Enjoy it with cereal, in your baking, or just in a big cold glass! 

how good does that look!?

Homemade Almond Milk (Oh She Glows)

1 cup raw almonds
3 1/2 cups fresh water
3-4 pitted dates
1 vanilla bean (whole) or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of salt

Soak the one cup of raw almonds in enough water to cover them for 8-10 hours. Once the soaking time has passed, drain and rinse the almonds. Add the almonds to a blender with the 3.5 cups fresh water, dates and vanilla. Blend for one minute on high until everything is well blended. If you feel it needs a bit more, blend for another 15 seconds. 

Then place the nut bag in a bowl big enough to hold the contents of the blender. Then, pour the mixture in to the bag and squeeze to get all the milk into the bowl. Once you've removed all the milk, you can dump the contents of the bag or save them for another use (more on that to come, but you can also Google it too!). Rinse out the blender and then pour the milk back in. Add in the salt and cinnamon and give it one more quick whirl - 10 seconds or so. Then, pour in to whatever container you have and enjoy!

Who knew making homemade almond milk would be so fun and delicious!.

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