I went vegetarian at age 15. (I am now what I call a “conscientious omnivore”– any meat I eat is organic free range grass fed- you know, all the buzzwords- and cooked by moi. I never refer to animals as “dinner”, and I do not eat meat more than once a day) Somewhere in my late teen’s, early 20’s, I dabbled in veganism. The best thing being vegan did for me was eliminate my allergic reactions to inhaled triggers. I was allergic to cat fur for example. I was a veterinary technician, so I was living on Claritin and Benedryl. Stopping consumption of milk, butter, cheese, sour cream, etc..and my allergies were gone, and have stayed gone 10+ years later. I can now have dairy here and there without any negative side-effects!
So what I am getting at is I have been there done that in regards to the different “milks” out there. Soy milk was a staple until I learned about it’s affect on hormones, and had begun to question processed foods. Plus it curdled in hot coffee. So there was rice milk. Rice milk is a problem because it contains a lot of carbohydrates and sugar (even the Original kind). Plus they all had Canola (blech) oil. Next was oat milk, which I just found disgusting. Then Hemp seed milk, but that too curdled in hot beverages, and just tasted funky…plus I think there was Canola oil or soy oil in that!
THEN it was almond milk. Argh! It curdles also, plus it has such a strong taste. I recently learned about an ingredient in almond milk called “carrageenan“, which is used as a thickening agent. It is extracted form an algae called “Irish Moss”. The fun part is, it causes cancer in the stomach lining and intestinal lining of lab rats. I couldn’t win!
*Carrageenen is found in LOTS of things, notably also whipped cream, and non-milk milks. Read your ingredient labels, people!
But I did win! For my graduation my wonderful parents gave me a VitaMix blender. I looked at my toxic box of crappy almond milk and gleefully poured it down the sink. Liberation! I had come to a radical notion (please note sarcastic tone): I will make my OWN almond milk! Bwahahaha!
And I did and it is great! The flavour is mild, it doesn’t curdle, it has no unwanted junk, and best of all, you don’t need a VitaMix to do it! Just a good strong blender.
Homemade Almond Milk
Boil a pot of water, about 2 inches full.
Drop 1 cup of almonds into the water until they start floating, or about 1 minute.
Drain, lay on towel and pat to dry a bit.
Grasp almond between your fingers and squeeze. The almond will pop right out of it’s skin! This is called “Blanching” an almond to de-skin it. Aim down when you do this, as the almond will slip out with some velocity and sail across your kitchen!
Dump this cup of naked almonds into your blender, add 3 to 3.5 cups of water and about 1/2 tsp vanilla extract. Blend on high for 60-90 seconds, depending on the strength of your blender.
Line a wire strainer with a layer of damp cotton cloth (just get it wet under the tap and wring out), such as a piece of your significant others Hanes t-shirt. *Make sure it is big enough to drape over the edge of the strainer, as you will be gathering this up to make a pouch to squeeze the liquid out.*
Hold cloth lined strainer over a large bowl, pour in some of the liquified almond mixture. Carefully gather up the cloth and squeeze gently from the top of the liquid down, like squeesing icing out of a piping tube. It will take a minute, and when it is all squeezed out, you will have a sort of crumbly paste. Rinse out cloth and repeat process until you have emptied the blender.
Refrigerate and use within about 5 days. Use it just like milk; cereal, coffee, tea, baking, drinking straight, whatever!
And “Go you!”, for making something you usually get in a carton, on your own! And it’s completely good for you!