In recent years one of the most popular options along with the plethora of milk choices is almond milk.

This nutty beverage is largely chosen because it tends to be lower in calories and unhealthy fats than dairy or soy milk, and simply because it is a plant-based, calcium-rich option that comes free of any concerns regarding added hormones, antibiotics, or animal cruelty.

Dairy free milk is an option, for some even a necessity, but most of the time it is either more expensive or not readily available. DIY is one solution.

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Ingredients

Skinless (blanched) whole/ground almonds – 1cup
Filtered water to soak 3 cups

Equipment

Blender
Sieve or cheese cloth
Bowl
Pitcher with lid to store milk
Spatula
Measuring cup

Blanching

If almonds do not have the skin on them, you can skip this step. Pour boiling water over the almonds to cover them. After about a minute, drain and rinse in cold water. Pat dry and slip the skin off.

Soaking overnight

Place 1 cup of skinless almonds in a bowl, soak them in filtered water and refrigerate overnight or for minimum 4 hours.

Blend

Drain water, add almonds to the blender and add 3 cups of water and blend until smooth. It should take a couple of minutes depending on the blender. It is ready when it is more or less homogeneous, and the almond particles are quite fine.

Strain and serve

Pour from blender into a sieve/ cheesecloth over a container to collect milk. Take a spatula and squeeze the pulp to get as much liquid you can (if you are using a sieve) and give it a good squeeze if you are using a cheese cloth.

Don’t throw away the pulp. You can use it to make scrumptious cookies, bread and other baked goods. After it has been strained, you can drink it as is, or you can flavor it or sweeten it. It can be refrigerated up to a week.

One can enhance the palatability of almond milk using one or more of the following options.

Sweeteners

To sweeten, you can add any of the following, adjust to taste and blend again until smooth – cane sugar/maple syrup/ honey/ banana/pitted dates

Flavors

One can add cocoa/vanilla/fruit puree

Thickeners

You can make this drink thicker by reducing the amount of water you add for blending.

Roasting

You can try roasting the almonds as this brings out their flavor. Before soaking, place them in an oven at 350°F for about 5 minutes. Allow it to cool, and proceed to next step.

Almond milk contains more nutrients than any other dairy milk alternatives. In fact, its health benefits match those of dairy. Here are few important benefits almonds milk offers:

Weight Management

The nutrient content of almond milk will largely vary depending on the following factors – amount of almonds used, amount of water used, and whether or not the pulp is used.

Plain almond milk without any added sugar or flavoring contains 40 calories per 8 ounce serving. So if you are looking to lose or maintain weight, that’s a nice light touch to whatever calories, you are shooting for.

Also, do keep in mind almond milk is by far a healthier combination with your cereal as other milk alternatives contain more sugars.

Heart Healthy

Almond milk has no cholesterol and 5 milligrams of sodium per serving. In addition, it has 150 milligrams of potassium which is particularly beneficial in promoting healthy blood pressure – another plus for a healthy heart.

Blood Sugar Friendly

Unlike other milk alternatives, almond milk contains 8 gm of carbohydrate per serving and the 7 grams of  sugar that make up the carbohydrate content have limited effect on your blood sugar level. Why?

Unlike other simple sugars (which have empty calories and lack nutrients) which our bodies tend to store as fat, almond milk-based sugars are low on the glycemic index. This facilitates our bodies to fully digest them and use them as energy, which makes almond milk a boon for diabetics – and mighty friendly to non diabetics as well.

Bone health

With 30 % of daily value for calcium and 25% of RDA for Vitamin D, almond milk contributes to bone health. Moreover, it contains magnesium that helps calcium absorption.

Skin care

Every serving of pure almond milk contains 50% of recommended vitamin E intake, a nutrient that is a primary regulatory nutrient for healthy skin.

Eye health

The vitamin A found in almond milk helps keep our eyes functioning properly.

Muscle power

Even though almond milk contains only 1 gram protein per serving it does contain B vitamin and other muscle regulating nutrients such as iron. These nutrients help muscles absorb protein and use them for energy growth and repair.

Almond milk is a delicious vegan and gluten free alternative to dairy. Not only does it add incredible flavor to every recipe, now you know it is incredibly easy to make at home too. Drink it straight or add it to smoothies, and it’s excellent on cereal.

How to make almond milk2

Here’s the recipe to my all time favorite Almond Milk Latte:

Almond Milk Latte

– 1 cup almond milk
– 1/8 tsp pure vanilla extract
– 1 shot espresso
– Ground cinnamon

If you don’t have a milk steamer, you can heat your milk on the lowest temperature possible on your stove top in a pot. Once you have the espresso shot and steamed milk ready, pour milk into cup over top of the espresso, add the vanilla, sprinkle with cinnamon and voila –almond milk latte!

Note:

1, Steam almond milk for a shorter time than you would steam cow-based dairy milk (almond milk has delicate “good” fats that if you steam for too long, they will denature).
2, If you are using store bought almond milk, remember to shake the carton well before steaming.

I sometimes prefer to skip espresso, instead add nutmeg and honey to create a delicious warming almond milk drink.  The best thing about all the listed ingredients is that they are super charged with antioxidant goodness.

It is an essential co-factor of a key oxidation enzyme. The enzyme disarms the free radicals produced within the mitochondria – the energy production factories within our cells – thus keeping our energy flowing freely. Raise your cup to good health, and enjoy!

Lastly, Almond milk is a safe milk option for people with food allergies or intolerance or who have immune responses to certain food proteins. Almond milk does not contain any dairy, lactose, soy, eggs, cholesterol, gluten, MSG, or milk protein like casein and whey.

Almond milk is not safe to drink if you are allergic to almonds. Additionally, some manufacturers may use the same facilities to process products that contain nuts and gluten. Check the label of the brand you are going to purchase to ensure it isn’t processed in a facility with an ingredient you can’t have.

Reference:

The Joys of Almond Milk: Delicious Recipes for the Dairy-Free by instructables.com

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