Have you ever read the ingredients list on the side of your favorite almond milk? It’s not just almonds and water. Fortunately a couple of the top brands (Silk & Blue Diamond) have now taken out the carrageenan, but So Delicious and Pacific Foods brands do still contain it at this time. Carrageenan is a seaweed extract that has been linked to gut inflammation and even colon cancer in some studies. It is something that I avoid at all costs on our labels, and is in many organic foods that you would otherwise consider healthy (yogurt, non-dairy ice creams, non-dairy milks, and even some infant formula!!).
Beyond carrageenan, manufacturers add sweeteners and fortify the milk with vitamins like Vitamin A Palmitate, which is derived from palm plantations that are potentially damaging to ecosystems.
There has been a class action lawsuit against some of these almond milk manufacturers because upon testing only a few almonds are in each box of almond milk, thus you are really not getting much of the nutritional value of the almonds in the end.
Making almond milk only takes a few minutes and if you buy almonds in bulk you can save money and always have fresh almond milk on hand!
To make great almond milk you will need your blender and:
- 1 cup of almonds
- 4 cups of water
- optional flavoring: 2 dates, 2 tsp vanilla paste or extract, or a dash of honey
I start by covering 1 cup of almonds with water and putting it in the refrigerator overnight.
Raw almonds need to soak at least 12 hours to become soft enough to make a good creamy milk. This soaking also activates the enzymes in the almonds and adding to the nutritional value.
In the morning, I simply strain this water out of the bowl using a clean hand, and then dump the almonds into the Vitamix. Using the measurements on the side of the Vitamix container, I fill it up to the 5 cup line with cold water.
Start out by running the Vitamix on a low level of 2 first for 15 seconds and then increase it to an 8 and let it run for about 3 minutes.
Stop the Vitamix and pour your liquid into a nut milk bag inside of a larger bowl.
Now suspend the cord of your nut milk bag and let the milk strain out for about an hour.
When most the liquid stops dripping, wring out as much more of it as you can get with clean hands. Pour the liquid into your bottle and you are done!
Save that almond pulp to make almond flour, which I’ll do a future blog post on.
For our almond milk, I don’t add any sweetener of flavoring. We use it mainly for our adult protein smoothies and prefer it plain. You could certainly throw a couple of dates in there when blending, or a bit of honey, or some vanilla (paste, extract or bean) if you would like it to be vanilla-floavoured.