We don’t drink a lot of cow’s milk in our house (though the amount of yogurt we consume as a household is staggering). I buy milk about 2 or 3 times a year, usually when my Mother In Law visits. I always feel like I should have some around for playdates and stuff like that, though. Note to self – buy some of those individual boxed milk packs. We usually drink almond milk, but only if I make it myself. If we drink boxed milk from the store, it’s Living Harvest Original flavor hemp milk. I buy probably 10 or so boxes of that a year since I started making almond milk.
Almond milk is a little time consuming, but it’s easy to make, and I find it lasts in the fridge (I keep it in glass bottles) for at least 7 days.
I rinse and soak a pound of raw almonds (I prefer the European kind that are not steam sterilized, like “raw” almonds are in the US). I usually soak them overnight (around 12 hours) and then drain and rinse them one more time before I use them.
Then, I put the soaked, rinsed and drained almonds in the Vita Mix in two batches. I split the pound, and then fill the Vitamix up to about the 50 oz. mark with filtered water (I filled it up too much in the picture below). I also add a pinch of sea salt, a pinch of vanilla powder and a few pre-soaked dates. I usually use 4 or 5 pitted per batch. I cut up dates and soak them in filtered water for about 20 or 30 minutes and I dump the dates and soaking water together in with the almonds.
I think I might have used a little more than a half pound of almonds in the picture below, because I wanted a richer milk. But, you can see the ratio. Oh, and I peeled these almonds before making the milk (which is totally not necessary to make great almond milk). I peeled them because I dehydrate the almond pulp that is left over and grind it into flour and I wanted a lighter flour for this batch. The brown parts in the blender are the dates.
Then, blend on high (make sure the lid is on TIGHT) for about 45 seconds. See how high it gets? That’s why I don’t recommend filling up past around 50 oz (max) with water.
Then, I pour the blended milk into a strainer lined with cheese cloth.
Allow the milk to strain into the measuring cup, and when it stops dripping (or if you become impatient), you can pick up the sides of the cheesecloth and squeeze the milk from the remaining mixture by twisting the cheesecloth at the stop tighter and tighter until the milk stops coming out. I had to double my cheesecloth so that the mixture doesn’t squeeze out between threads. There are also nut milk bags you can buy to facilitate this process.
What is left in the bag is the almond pulp, which I break up and spread out on teflex sheets in the dehydrator. Once dried out completely, I grind it into flour in the Vitamix dry-mix container. It’s nowhere near as flavorful as almonds, because the flavor really lies in the milk, but it’s great as a gluten-free flour!
After a while, your almond milk will separate in the bottle. You need to shake it before you use it. If you want almond cream, it does rise to the top, so you can scrape this out before shaking. Removing it does leave you with a substantially thinned milk. But oh man, that cream is spectacular!