Cooking Food and Drink Homesteading

Homemade almond milk 101

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The New Year brought a flurry of energy to clear out and declutter and purge whatever we don’t use—everywhere. It’s at once unsettling and exhilerating. And we always feel lighter and clearer afterwards. It’s like a cleanse, for our house. When I tore through the pantry, I finally had to face the giant bag of almonds I bought before we realized our little one was allergic to tree nuts. It takes up precious shelf space, but I found I never used them.

In my post-illness quest to feel healthy again, I’ve been reading a lot about holistic nutrition. I’d always been a fan of whole foods, but mostly in the way they helped me embrace my body’s need for bacon. Ever since I got sick, though, I don’t have a big appetite. And what I do crave is generally healthy, nourishing food: less bacon, more lentils.

 

So it was that I stumbled upon this “recipe” for nut milk, care of Sarah Britton and her inspiring natural foods blog, My New Roots. It’s not a recipe as much as it’s a few steps; it’s so simple and satisfying you won’t believe you’re making milk—frothy, fresh and sweet nut milk.

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  • Start by soaking one cup of nuts. Soaking, apparently, unlocks the nutritional power of nuts and seeds. (Who knew?) Overnight is best.
  • Next, drain the soaked nuts and pour them into your blender, along with 4 cups of filtered water.
  • Blend. My trusty BlendTek blender has a Whole Juice setting. But just whir it until you don’t see almonds anymore (about a minute).
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  • Pour the water and nut mixture through a straining bag. You can buy nut milk bags, or you can use cheesecloth. I used the extra paint-straining bag I’d bought to strain honey last year, and it worked perfectly. (I think it cost about $2.)
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I fed the nut “meal” that’s left behind to the chickens this time around. But you can spread the leftover crushed, soaked nut mash out on a baking sheet and toast it on low heat for a couple of hours to dry it out. Then, use it as almond nut meal in recipes.
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Voila! Fresh almond milk is a lot less cloying than the raw whole cow’s milk we usually drink, but it’s refreshingly clean and sweet. And, as you drink it, you’ll feel like an alchemist—a healthy, pantry-clearing alchemist.

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