Making your own Almond Milk is super easy and by doing so, you can avoid a lot of unnecessary ingredients! The store-bought almond milks might contain unhealthy sweeteners or needless thickening agents. If you're like me and short on time, most of the time you will be buying store-bought almond milk. That's okay! We're not aiming for perfection here, just progress!
If you are going the store-bought route, my favorite brand (and incidentally, the cheapest brand) is Whole Foods Market 365. It is one of the cleanest out there and doesn't contain any carrageenan. Carrageenan can cause inflammation, is linked to gastrointestinal distress, and can even cause diabetes when consumed in low doses day after day. Another great (and VERY clean) brand you can try if you're wallet can handle it is MALK. It's delicious! My favorite is the pecan milk from MALK.
So, when making your own almond milk, I recommend using organic almonds if you can, but no worries if you can't - again, progress, not perfection! And once you make it, if you don't drink it daily or if you'd rather make a bigger batch all at once to use over a longer period of time, you can freeze it for future consumption. If you're just storing it in the fridge, I wouldn't recommend letting it sit for more than 2-3 days.
So here we go!
The first step is to plan ahead a bit. It's best to soak the almonds prior to making the almond milk. Most nuts, seeds, grains, beans, lentils, and legumes contain some amount of phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors. This makes these foods a little difficult for us to digest, but soaking them helps our bodies to process them more efficiently and with less digestive distress.
To soak the almonds, you'll need:
- 1-2 cups of raw, organic almonds (depending on how much almond milk you want to make)
- 3-4 cups of warm filtered water (to cover nuts)
- 1 tablespoon of sea salt (or Himalayan pink salt)
What to Do:
- Place the warm water in a medium bowl or jar (half gallon or larger). Add the salt and let dissolve.
- Add the nuts or seeds, making sure they are completely submerged in the water.
- Leave uncovered on the counter or other warm place (not the refrigerator) for at least 7 hours, preferably overnight.
After your almonds are soaked, now they're ready to be "milked"! Yeah, I know, that sounded weird to me too.
To make Plain Unsweetened Almond Milk:
- 1 cups organic, soaked almonds (if you want to use 2 cups, just double all the ingredients)
- 4 cups filtered water
What to Do:
- Rinse almonds well. Blend almonds with pure water in blender or Blendtec/Vitamix.
- Blend several minutes until smooth and creamy. (Note: mixture will expand a bit, so make sure your blender isn't full before starting it)
- Strain mixture into a large bowl through a sprout bag, cheese cloth or kitchen towel. (I always skip this step because I don't mind having the almond pulp in there, but this is a personal preference so it's up to you!)
- Pour into glass jar and store in fridge for 2-3 days.
After these steps, you have a simple, plain almond milk. If you want it sweetened or with vanilla, cinnamon, strawberries, or other flavors, that's an easy thing to do. Just pour the milk back into the blender and add the desired sweetener in small amounts (I recommend 1 tbsp to start and then taste and add more from there if needed). The sweeteners I recommend are pitted, soaked dates, coconut palm sugar, coconut nectar, or maple syrup. For the flavoring, you can just add 1-2 vanilla beans (or vanilla extract), a few strawberries, some unsweetened cocoa powder, and even a little sea salt to taste. It's all about your preference here so feel free to get creative!