Tuesday, September 17

cheap eats [homemade almond milk]

I've never liked milk. 

I'm sure my siblings are clicking away from this post in disgust, since milk (1%) was an absolute staple in my household. A big, cold glass with dinner every night was necessary. But I've never liked it. Whole milk, cream, ice cream, cheese, yogurt, pretty much every other form of dairy I devour. But not skim, 1%, or even 2% milk. Watery dairy? No thanks.

My old friend L got me into soy milk when we lived together after college. It was such a thick, flavorful change of pace in cereal, oatmeal, and coffee. I visited a soy-producing co-op in El Salvador that year, and was even more impressed with the health benefits, the availability, and the ease of production. Did you know plant-based milk sales have grown in the billions, while regular milk has seen dramatic drops (the lowest in decades)?

Then came the endless, endless accounts and news stories about the risks of soy. I don't know how much of it is true, but I was using soy every day, and that much negative press on something I ingest 7 days a week was enough to catalyze my search for a substitute.

Then came almond milk. Others agree: almond milk commands 55% of the market for non-dairy milks, with soy at 35%. Creamy, nutty, the lowest in calories from everything I'd searched (30 calories/cup!), it has no saturated fats, plenty of nutrients, and is all-natural. However, store brands still have some extra, unpronounceable ingredients, and it's not exactly cheap at $4 for a half gallon.

Enter trusty Vitamix, and this recipe from the Kitchn.

I made some adjustments to her recipe to match the thickness and calorie count of store-bought almond milk.

Soak 1C of almonds in filtered water for at least 10 hours, and up to 2 days. I hear the longer you soak, the creamier your almond milk. I changed out my water every morning and night for 2 days. Some commentors think this is a lot of work for little reward, but how difficult is it to take less than 20 seconds in the morning to pour off then re-fill water? I think you'd get almost the same product by just soaking the almonds over night, rinsing them in the morning, and blending them up. No biggie.

Anyway, throw your 1C of soaked almonds in a blender with 4C of water. Blend on the highest power for 2 minutes, strain, and drink. Hold on to that almond meal for use in baking! It's good in the fridge for 3 days, so only make what you'll drink, or pop it into ice cube trays to use in smoothies.

I added one date for sweetness, a pinch of sea salt, and a tiny shake of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom to bring out the nuttiness. It's absurdly delicious. Many people add unsweetened cocoa powder for a chocolate variety, or some honey or agave or stevia or sweetener of choice. I skipped the straining, because I'm lazy and I don't mind the graininess. This batch is only for smoothies, so texture doesn't matter.

Drink up!

I'm a big fan of coconut milk too, but only the full-fat canned variety, which makes it great for a treat but a poor choice for daily use. You can make it yourself using just shredded, unsweetened coconut and water, but the canned version is healthy and natural as-is.

1 comment:

  1. You're right. Disgusted. Instead of reading the rest of this post I'm going to go pour myself a glass of milk.


how you like dem apples?