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Of Raw Almond Milk & Almond Meal

In my taking up the October Unprocessed 2012 Challenge a real issue is our milk. Lets face it…it is way too easy to go buy a ½ gallon of ready to use refrigerated almond or coconut milk. Over and over I have told myself I would get off this cycle. Then I let my lazy gene step in and tell me I don’t have time or whatever. And I come home with paper boxes. Still, there is a part of me wondering if I could do better.

So are there benefits to making your own? I’d say yes. First, you can control what goes in said milk. All you need are raw almonds and filtered water. By making your own you can make what you need, when you need it. Commercially processed milks require stabilizers so it can last for long periods. Shelf stable milk in 1 quart containers can be 1 to 2 years for expiration dates! Refrigerated milks can have 3 or more months to sell before expiring. Which has made me uneasy the more I research ingredients used in said commercial milks. Don’t get me wrong, I do think there is a need for the milks – for travel and quick meals or for storage, they are great. But…we often use 4 cups of almond milk a morning for our frappes and oatmeal! That is a lot of carrageenan to be ingesting. And we use a half gallon every 2 days!

And lets talk prices. Where we live a shelf stable quart container goes for $1.99 to $2.99, depending on brand and where I shop. Average is $2.29. For refrigerated the average is $2.99 for a half gallon (ranging from $2.79 to $3.99). So I ran prices for making it at home. I buy my almonds at Costco, which cost less per pound. In town I can get raw almonds in bulk for $4.39 a pound. To make a quart of milk takes a shy 6 ounces or so (1 cup). At the bulk price (more fair since not everyone can shop Costco) it cost $1.62 to make a quart. That is 67¢ savings compared to buying a shelf stable quart. I don’t save money though when I buy half gallons – it cost $3.24 to make it. Although there is a savings not mentioned so far, to count in. The almond meal that is left over. I can purchase ground whole almond meal for $3.99 a pound at Trader Joe’s – everywhere else it runs from $8 to $12 a pound. At minimun I can get back 75¢ worth of almond meal per quart of milk made. So…if you are willing to dehydrate your almond meal and use it in baking you can actually save real money. And I use a lot of almond meal. That is when I knew I was saving money by making our milk. If I dry the meal, I cna get my raw cost down to under 90 cents a quart! And it is fresher, not pasteurized and no stabilizers!

More so, look how creamy this milk is! It isn’t an odd beige color like commercial is. No carrageenan, Gellan Gum, sunflower lecithintapioca starchLocust Bean Gum, rice starch or “natural flavor“. (These ingredients are in 4 of the top name brands, taken off their websites). So lets get going and make some!

Raw Almond Milk

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almonds (skins on), 5 to 6 ounces

Directions:

Cover the almonds with filtered water, let soak in the refrigerator overnight or for at least 6 hours. Drain and add to a high-speed blender (such as a Vitamix) with 4 cups filtered water. Process on high until blended. A lower power blender will take longer.

Strain through a Fine Mesh Strainer or Jelly Strainer Bags. If using a sieve (strainer) let drain, then gently press against the mesh with a silicone spatula. If using a jelly or nut bag, allow to drain then squeeze bag.

Store milk tightly sealed in refrigerator, use in 2 to 3 days.

Makes about 1 quart. Double the recipe if you go through a quart a day!

And that pulp left? Don’t toss! There are many ways to use it. You can use it damp right away in smoothies, oatmeal and so on. Or dehydrate it quickly for later use.

Almond Meal

Directions:

Line a dehydrator tray with parchment paper, cutting out the center hole (if your dehydrator has one). Spread the almond meal on it. Dry at your preferred temperature (below 118° for raw, 135° if you don’t care) till bone dry. Pack up and store in the refrigerator or freezer, tightly sealed. For a finer flour, process once dry in a blender or spice mill.

How long for drying? Depends on the humidity and how much liquid was left behind. Usually mine is dry in 2 to 3 hours.

This can also be done in an oven, on lined baking sheets, but be careful, even the lowest setting can be too hot, you must keep an eye on it.

How much to expect? I find I get about 3 ounces dehydrated almond meal per cup of almonds used, which weigh 5 to 6 ounces before making milk. That is getting back 50% or more that could have been tossed!

~Sarah

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Comments

  1. It never occurred to me to dehydrate the almond meal… duh. Big Sis uses it in some great cookies, but this option gives me LOTS of flexibility. Alright darn you, I’ll give up the box nut milk. Sheesh!

  2. I make my almond milk like you let sit the almonds 1 night in the clear water. I also use 4 cups mineral water but don’t filter the pulp. i drink it all up becaus the vitamix mixes it completely smooth!

  3. Yummy too!! I just gave you an AWARD! YEAH!! Come on over: http://sophiesfoodiefiles.wordpress.com/2012/10/04/vegan-breakfast-smoothy-some-awards/

  4. Great post! That’s cool that you found a way to use everything and nothing went to waste.

  5. In the beginning of going vegan I made all of my own nut milks. Now I’m lazy and use store bought. Thanks for the reminder, it’s not like it’s hard to make!

  6. As Little Sis mentioned, I have been using my almond milk mash in cookies and oatmeal, but my one attempt at drying was unsuccessful in the oven. I’m going to follow your instructions and give it another try. There are so many great recipes calling for almond flour and it’s WAY too expensive. Thanks Sarah!

  7. Perfect post. Whenever I need to tweak Knox’s diet, I come here first. We are going to trial dairy free to see if it helps with reflux. I need a high calorie/fat substitute that contains nutrients and considering nut milks. Since I blend his food, I’m wondering if I can skip the straining process? We already use nuts to boost calorie/fat content so I would throw the almond meal into the Blendtec anyway. I’ve been using 16oz of cows milk plus 1/4 – 1/2 cup nuts every day. Your recipe could replace that.

    • No need to strain! Just blend longer so it is thick, and not chunky 😀

      • Thanks! Hey, what else do you use for Allistaire to pad his calorie and protein intake? Does he drink cows milk? Or coconut milk? Something else? So much of knoxs blend is dairy based: Greek yogurt and cows milk. I’m not sure what else I can use for protein.

Trackbacks

  1. […] 2 cups unsweetened almond milk […]

  2. […] all that almond meal I was talking about awhile back? I believe I have found a tasty use for it in Almond Crackers. […]

  3. […] my quest to keep using up my leftover almond meal I have been busy. I was inspired to make muffins that quickly come together and pair well with […]

  4. […] c almond flour (I made mine from homemade almond milk meal as described in my pal Sarah’s post, I think you could also use oat flour made by blitzing the mess out of rolled oats as in above […]

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