I started drinking almond milk a few years ago in grad school after my friend Lyndsey told me about it. “It will make skim milk taste like dirty dishwater,” she said. That was enough endorsement for me.
Eventually, I stopped drinking regular milk except when I ordered cappuccinos or lattes. Even then, sometimes I’d sub in almond milk. I liked the nutty flavor and the fact that supposedly it’s better for you. I’m an advocate of regular milk but I also believe that subbing out extra dairy never hurts.
I bought almond milk at the grocery store until another friend of mine, Julicia, asked me if I made it myself. When I went to visit her one winter in Philadelphia she showed me how to do it. We bought a big bag of raw almonds, let them soak in water, and then blended them up in her Vitamix.
Julicia had me do a blind taste test with store-bought almond milk and the one we made. The one we made was much better. It tasted fresh, light, and more almond-y than the store bought kind. I told myself that I’d never buy almond milk again and that I’d only make it, but that was probably overambitious. Especially because at the time, I had a crappy blender than barely mixed frozen fruit.
Fast forward to now, when I have a high powered blender that sounds like it’s vacuuming the whole house when I turn it on. I realized that it was time for me to start making my own almond milk. On Saturday, I bought a bag of almonds and soaked a cup of them overnight in cool water.
Yesterday, I blended them up into milk. I decided against sweetening it because I add so many sweet things to milk, anyway. It still ended up tasting delicious. It has a splash of vanilla and a pinch of salt, which brings out the sweetness in the almonds. I put a splash of it in coffee yesterday and I put in homemade granola this morning (more on that later).
I guess there are a couple morals to this story. Listen to your friends’ advice, especially when it regards almond milk. Also, it’s never too late to start something new. I waited three years to make almond milk from scratch and now, I’ll make it all the time. Sometimes you just have to get over the initial barrier.
Here’s a song that reminds me of this almond milk. It has a slow progression but once it’s over, you’ll be glad you listened.
1 cup raw almonds, soaked overnight in cool water
4 1/2 cups filtered water
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch sea salt
Soak the almonds overnight in a big bowl filled with cool water. In the morning, drain the almonds.
Place them in a blender with water, vanilla extract, and a pinch of sea salt. Blend the mixture on the highest speed for a couple minutes, or until the almond milk looks uniform in the blender and there aren’t a lot of little pieces of almond floating around.
Place a cheesecloth or strainer over another bowl and pour the almond milk from the blender over the top. Then, funnel the strained milk into Mason jars or airtight containers. Refrigerate the milk. Enjoy!