“OMG”, as the kids’ say, “this is effin good”, says the girl from Miami. Homemade almond milk is absolutely delicious!
I had always been hesitant to make my own almond milk. It sounded expensive, messy and most likely, not worth my time. It wasn’t until I was at my friend Jen’s house and she shared her homemade cardamom infused almond milk with me, that I decided I had to make this stuff ASAP.
I played around with a few recipes and quickly developed a couple of my own worth sharing. I kid you not, upon the first sip, I said “mmm” out loud. Every sip after that, I closed my eyes and was still saying “mmm.” Mind you, no one else was around, so I was essentially talking to myself. Anything that makes you talk to yourself in a joyous manner is certainly worth reproducing.
Once you make this at home you will realize there is absolutely no comparison to the store-bought stuff you see on the shelves and in the “dairy” section. Let’s put it this way, never in my life have I drunk milk by itself, or almond milk for that matter. Unless there was a piece of chocolate cake or a cookie, milk or its substitute, was reserved solely to drench my cereal or lighten my coffee. My father who is famous for his one liners, which make people laugh while simultaneously scratch their head, states, “Jews don’t drink milk.” Ummm, o.k. pops, I guess I was just one more Jew who didn’t drink milk. Until now… Yum!
I had known for a while to be aware of products containing carrageenan thanks to my friend Rachel and the Foodbabe. I was pretty good about avoiding it, with the exception of almond milk. When my son got the flu this year, we removed all dairy and sugar from his diet to help fast track his recovery. To our delight, our picky little eater was more than happy to down his breakfast with almond milk. I knew then, I would have to make the stuff homemade if I wanted it carcinogenic free. The success of introducing a new beverage to Mr. Picky Palate, was just the motivation I needed to get started.
*You can read more about the downfalls of ingesting carrageenan and which products contain it, after the recipe.
- 1 cup of raw almonds
- 3 cups of water
- 4 pitted dates
- 2 tsp vanilla bean paste (you can also use extract, just increase to 1 Tbsp)
- ¼ tsp of cinnamon
- Pinch of nutmeg
- ¼ tsp of cardamom pod innards
- 1 Tbsp of honey or maple syrup
- Place almonds in a bowl or a glass container, cover the nuts with water, cover with lid or plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight.
- Rinse and drain the almonds in a fine mesh strainer and place in a blender. You will want the water to run clean – just like rinsing rice.
- To remove the innards from the cardamom pods, take a wooden spoon and flatten the pods. They should break open easily. Remove the insides, which should be various colors of black and brown and measure ¼ tsp.
- Take all ingredients and add them to the blender with the almonds. Blend on highest speed for 1 minute or so.
- Place a nut milk bag over a large bowl and slowly pour the almond milk mixture into the bag. You can also use cheesecloth over a mesh strainer. This will take a few minutes as there is a lot of solids to sift through. If you are using the cheesecloth method, use a wooden spoon to press the nut mixture and stir solids to help release the milk.
- Once you have emptied your blender, squeeze the bottom of the bag (or cheese cloth) to release the remaining milk.
- Pour into a glass jar, seal and store in the fridge for 3-4 days. If you use maple syrup, honey, sugar or dates to sweeten your milk, this will act as a natural preservative and increase the life of your milk slightly. I wouldn’t consume your beverage beyond 4 days – but don’t worry, it won’t last that long.
- Shake jar very before using as the mixture naturally separates when sitting.
- Notes: If your dates are dry, you can soak them in water to soften before placing in the blender. Discard water before adding the dates to the blender.
What’s the problem with carageenan? Carageenan, according to many medical experts and food nutritionists, causes inflammation when ingested and is also carcinogenic. Chronic inflammation is linked to heart disease, cancer, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Carageenan was approved as a safe food additive by the FDA in the 1970’s. The FDA is currently being petitioned by various watch-dog agencies to ban this additive from all food products.
Carageenan is a non-nutrional substance derived from red seaweed. It is used as a stabilizer, thickening agent and an emulsifier. Currently, carageenan is allowed in organic products, almond milk being one of those products. Other products that may contain carrageenan are displayed below.
— Source: Cornucopia Institute