Surprisingly, almond milk is not a new invention. I used to think it was just some hippy health fad that originated in the twentieth or twenty-first century, but it has actually been in use for centuries. Almond milk was widely used during the Middle Ages as a replacement for cow's milk because it would not spoil as quickly. It was also used as a milk replacement during fast days, especially during Lent.
But the almond milk from the store is not like our medieval counterparts' almond milk. It often contains harmful additives, synthetic vitamins, natural flavors, and sugar. One ingredient that is added to almost every milk replacement is carrageenan. While carrageenan appears to be harmless because it is derived from seaweed, this article will shed some light on why as a food additive it's actually been linked to cancer.
Another disadvantage to buying almond milk from the store is that it is made from unsoaked nuts. Unsoaked nuts are high in enzyme inhibitors and phytic acid, which make them difficult to digest and prevent the absorption of vitamins and minerals. So soaking the nuts beforehand is beneficial because it makes the vitamins and minerals in nuts more available for assimilation into the body. For more on this subject, watch this video. For a step-by-step guide on how to properly prepare nuts or seeds, see our post from last week.
Making almond milk is simpler than making a milkshake. You simply blend the nuts with water and voilà! Almond milk! Another great thing is that you get two products out of one process. The ground nuts can be dehydrated and used to make almond flour. There is no need to throw away those expensive nuts.
Homemade Almond Milk
1 cup organic, sprouted almonds
3 cups filtered water
1. Add 1 cup of soaked almonds (no need to dehydrate them first) to your blender.
2. Add three cups of water.
3. Blend for a minute or two until the mixture looks like milk.
4. Strain the mixture through a sieve. Save the ground nuts to make almond flour. (Simply do this by spreading the mixture on a baking sheet in a 150F oven for about 12 hours, stirring occasionally. Blend mixture in a food processor for a finer flour.)
5. And there you have it! Creamy, fresh, better-tasting, healthier almond milk than it's store-bought counterpart. The best part is that it only takes about 5 minutes to make!
Have you tried making almond milk before? What was your experience?