I’ve recently started making my own (non-dairy) milks. It’s more nutritious and certainly tastier than the store-bought stuff (plus you cut down on packaging, especially if you get your almonds in bulk). And it’s easy. You could make this milk in the time it takes you to take the carton of soy/almond/rice milk out of the fridge (OK, maybe not that fast, but you get the point). You just need a blender, a cheesecloth, and a glass jar with a lid to store the milk (and a fine mesh sieve, if you can bother. And almonds, of course ;)).
This is my recipe, but feel free to experiment with different flavors. For strawberry milk, throw in a few strawberries. For chocolate, add a few tablespoons of cocoa powder. (You don’t have to get that crazy. You can also try using agave nectar or dates instead instead of maple syrup.)
Note: you can also make cashew milk by replacing the almonds with cashews. If you choose to make cashew milk, you don’t have to worry about soaking the nuts first or straining the milk.
Almond (or Cashew) Milk
- 4 cups filtered water
- 1 1/2 cups raw almonds, soaked overnight (at least four hours) or cashews, soaking isn’t necessary
- 3 dates, soaked in just-boiled water for a few minutes or 1-2 tablespoons agave nectar or maple syrup*
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla*
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
*If you want to use milk in a savory recipe, omit the sweetener and vanilla.
Blend soaked almonds and water in your blender for a few minutes. Let the mixture sit for a few seconds and keep blending. Add salt, vanilla extract and preferred sweetener (if using).
Strain mixture through a cheesecloth. (If you’ve never used a cheesecloth before and would like instructions on this, read on. If not, skip to last paragraph.) If you are making cashew milk, straining isn’t necessary but you can go ahead and do it if you have the time.
Put colander or fine mesh sieve over a medium bowl (preferably one that is easy to pour liquids out of). Drape cheesecloth over sieve and slowly pour almond milk onto cheesecloth (you will need to do this in several batches). When cheesecloth is pretty full, collect all four sides of the cheesecloth in order to not let any of the pulp out and squeeze tightly with your hands to get all of the milk out. Then discard the pulp in a separate container (you can use this in baking) and repeat until you have strained all of the milk. (If your fine mesh sieve is really fine, you might be able to get away with not using a cheesecloth, but I haven’t tried this method yet.)
Update: I now just strain the milk through a fine mesh sieve (in several batches), using a spoon or spatula to push the milk through the sieve until the pulp is pretty moisture-free. Then I save the pulp and use it in baked goods!
Pour strained milk into a clean glass jar with a lid. Store in the refrigerator for up to one week. Shake jar before serving.
Yield: about 4 cups