A few years ago I wrote an article exposing the synthetic ingredients in commercially sold almond milks. It went viral. People were shocked to discover that what is sold in stores is essentially just a mixture of water and low quality synthetic supplements. To this day I still receive emails from around the world asking exactly how we make the real stuff for our clients. Spoiler alert: we use actual almonds! Here’s how we do it, including tips on how to avoid common mistakes:
Pure water, Organic European almonds. Yup, that’s all!
- Get the right almonds: They need to be organic, truly raw European almonds. We normally source them from Italy or Spain. By law, commercially grown almonds in the U.S. are always sterilized by one of two methods: either using high temperatures (such as steaming) or fumigated with a chemical called propylene oxide- a toxic carcinogen that has been banned for use on food products in Canada, Mexico, and the European Union. In addition to being potentially harmful, these treatments destroy many of the beneficial bioactive ingredients in almonds. The only truly raw almonds available commercially are from Europe and these are the ones we use to make our almond milk.
- Soaking: The next step is to rinse about 1 cup (143g) of almonds and then soak them overnight in water. Soaking disables enzyme inhibitors and reduces phytic acid naturally present in the nuts. The result is they are more easily digested, and you benefit by increasing the amount of nutrients you absorb.
- Blending: The next day discard the soak water, rinse the almonds, and place them in a blender. Add about 3.5 – 4 cups of pure water*. Blend on high speed until smooth- The less you blend the better it is to prevent heating and oxidation. How long you have to blend depends on the power of your machine- some require just 15 seconds, others may require more.
*An important note regarding water: We use distilled water to make almond milks for our clients. Distillation is by far the best, safest, cheapest and most effective solution for removing the ever growing list of contaminants, including drugs, from our water supply. It is cheaper to invest in your own distiller than to buy bottled water.
- Straining: Place a big bowl with a spout on your counter. Hold a nut milk bag over this bowl and pour the contents from the blender into the bag- if it’s your first time start by just pouring about half of the liquid. Twist the bag a few times to seal the top and use your hands to strain the milk. Put some muscle into squeezing the bag. Empty the dry pulp from the nut milk bag into another container, then pour the second half of the contents from the blender into the bag and continue to strain. As you get more comfortable with straining you can do it all in one shot instead of half at a time. You can store the dry pulp to use for other recipes. Freeze it if you’re not sure what to do with it just yet.
- Storing: Once you are done straining, pour the almond milk from the bowl into a glass jar with a solid lid and store it in the fridge- place it in the coldest section of your fridge (not on the door). The milk will separate after some time but that’s normal- you just have to shake before use. It stores well for 5 to 8 days depending on your fridge. If it doesn’t last as long for you try lowering the temperature in your fridge, or perhaps blend a little less to prevent rapid oxidation.
Our local clients benefit by being able to order and pick up our freshly made products, such as almond milk, on a weekly basis. However, of all the labor intensive items we produce for them, almond milk is the easiest to replicate without much effort. It may be a little messy at first but that’s only until you get the hang of it. And you will.
Naturopath, Health Educator
Nutrition & Exercise Specialist