I’ve gone a bit nut-mad this year, expanding the variety of nuts we snack on but also looking at alternative ways to chomping on raw nuts, such making homemade nut butter and nutella. Now I’m onto nut milk. Before you stop reading right here, thinking making nut milk is just too ‘ alternative’, stick with me for just a moment. I too thought that making nut milks were only for true health fanatics with too much time on their hands. I’d convinced myself it was going to be messy, possibly taste revolting and a one-off experiment.
Instead our homemade almond milk is gorgeously creamy, unbelievably easy to make and takes literally five minutes – plus an overnight soaking of almonds. I make it at least a couple of times a week and use it in hot chocolate, pancakes, smoothies and porridge. It’s also easy to flavour – my latest favourite addition is a sprinkle of sweet cinnamon.
Home made almond milk tastes so different to any version in a carton. It’s lower in protein than cows or even soymilk, but it has a whole host of other benefits. Almonds are the nut highest in vitamin E and calcium, and the skins are stuffed with phytonutrients including catechins (also found in green tea) and flavonols such as quercitin. Almonds are heart-healthy, lowering cholesterol levels and also helping to reduce the inflammatory marker hs-CRP – a cardiovascular risk factor.
Soaking the almonds overnight is the only part of this recipe where you need to be organised. But it’s worth doing – the almonds taste sweeter, B vitamins are boosted, the enzyme inhibitors are neutralised so they are more easily digested. Soaking also reduces phytic acid levels in the nuts so that we can absorb more of the valuable minerals they contain.
Almond milk is alkalising, which is a lovely addition to the diet first thing in the morning; our diets are predominantly acidic, which is thought to be a contributory factor to disease.
In making the milk, you end up with almond meal, which when dried can be incorporated into healthy biscuits, our almond and rosemary oatcakes, stirred into porridge, or used as a breadcrumb substitute on goujons.
For this recipe you’ll need a nut milk bag (available cheaply online), cheesecloth or fine meshed sieve to strain. The nut milk bag for me is such a worthwhile investment – it’s easy to use, washes well, and is also used for our coconut milk.
And if you’re really short of time (who isn’t!?) a little sneaky shortcut for quick homemade almond milk is to blend almond butter with water! But the full recipe tastes much better…
Enjoy! And let us know how you get on!
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- Soak almonds in water overnight
- Strain in a sieve, discarding the soaking water. Rinse thoroughly with running water
- Place in a food processor or good blender with the pitted dates
- Add 1 cup of water and blitz for 30 seconds before adding the remaining water and processing until creamy
- Take a large bowl or jug and line it with a nut milk bag, jellybag, cheesecloth, muslin, or fine mesh sieve. Slowly pour the blender contents into it. Pick up the bag so that the milk drips through, and squeeze hard (this is the only messy bit – but strangely satisfying!) to extract any remaining liquid. Refrigerate covered for up to 4 days
- To make almond flour, spread leftover almond pulp on a baking tray at a very low heat (max 120° Celsius) until dry – around 1-2 hours. Either store it and add to granola, porridge or muffins in it’s chunky form, or put it back in the processor to make finer almond flour for baking