Quitting dairy is a great step towards improving your health and also lessens your impact to factory farmed cows and the environment! Going dairy free couldn't be easier these days as supermarket's offer tons of choices with coconut, soy, almond and even cashew milk. However, the problem with the store bought milk is that there's TONS of additives including: Sugar, Guar Gum, Carrageenan, Xantham Gum, Sunflower Lecithin, Vitamin A Palmitate. YUK! In addition, commercially made almond milk is pasteurized, destroying the natural enzymes present in freshly made almond milk. Raw, organic homemade almond milk contains live enzymes, plus doesn't have the nasty additives of the store-bought variety and IMHO taste even better. It's creamy, sweet, mildly nutty and is perfect for smoothies, tea, baked goods and cereals. Personally, I use it to make decadent smoothies, chia seed puddings, and in my morning tea or coffee. I love the taste, texture and seriously can't get enough of it!
1. SOAK: Place 1 cup organic raw almonds in 3 cups of purified water in a large glass jar with 1 tsp sea salt and soak for 8- 12 hours. (Optional to use half cashews, brazil nuts or hazelnuts, details below)
2. RINSE: Rinsing the nuts removes any of the anti-nutrients and enzyme inhibitors. If soaking for the full 12 hours, you can rinse and re-soak twice if possible. Any nuts that float to the top have probably gone rancid, so discard them to be safe. After soaking, discard the water. ** This step is very important. When I first made almond milk, I used the soaking water to make my milk and I got very sick. No Bueno.
2. BLEND: Put almonds and water in your Vitamix and start blending at low speed. Quickly accelerate to high speed until all of the nuts are completely pulverized (about 1-2 minutes). You can use this without straining and drink as a thicker milk or use in smoothies and it will have more calcium. For a more standard, silky milk, I would suggest straining.
3. STRAIN: Strain out the almonds using a nut bag, fine mesh strainer, cheese cloth or fine mesh knee-high hosiery if that’s all you have around the house. I personally use a reusable nut bag and you can find these in health food stores or kitchen shop. Make sure you wash the bag as soon as you are finished so you can reuse it again. Place your nut bag over the opening of a a wide rimmed glass jar and slowly pour the milk into the bag. Squeeze the cloth all the way down, until every last drop is squeezed out. Then remove the almond pulp and set aside.
3. ALMOND PULP: Don’t waste the almond meal. Save it to use in other recipes. You can store almond pulp on top of a paper towel, in an airtight container in the fridge for 2 days. You can dehydrate it, and use the almond meal for recipes such breads, cookies and other baked goods. You can also use along side a soap as a face or body scrub.
4. STORAGE: Store in a glass jar in the fridge. It will keep for 4-5 days in a very cold fridge.