While almond milk isn’t something I consume on a regular basis, it is a wonderful treat and delicious substitute for those who abstain from dairy or are lactose-intolerant. I’ve never particularly enjoyed the taste of commercial varieties of almond milk and the additional additives and stabilizers always left me feeling bloated, too. Homemade, however, is something special.
Besides being super tasty, almonds are a good source of manganese, copper, magnesium, vitamin E, biotin, and riboflavin (B2). However, in order to absorb and utilize these nutrients, it’s recommended that the nuts are soaked.
Soaking raw nuts before processing is recommended to neutralize the phytic acid. What is phytic acid? It’s the plants storage form of phosphorous. When consumed, phytic acid binds to minerals like zinc, iron, magnesium, calcium, chromium and manganese in the gut, leaving you with very little to absorb. Many animals like cows, sheep and rats produce enzymes (phytase) that readily break phytic acid down. Humans don’t produce enough of this enzyme to safely consume high-phytate foods. Soaking the nuts minimizes the phytic acid content, leaving you with a nut that is more digestible and minerals that are more bioavailable. Soaking also enhances the flavour! You can soak your almonds for 12-24 hours (no more or no less).
1 cup almonds, soaked for 12-24 hour and rinsed thoroughly
1 – 2 pitted medjool dates (optional – omit for an unsweetened variety)
1/2 tsp of vanilla bean powder or 1 tsp vanilla extract (omit for an unflavoured almond milk)
3 cups of filtered water
Add all the ingredients into a high powered blender (Vitamix/Blendtec) and blend until the almonds are a fine milky consistency. For regular blenders, blend in divided doses.
Place nut milk bag* over a large bowl or wide mouthed jug and pour blended almond milk into the bag. Squeeze the bag from top to bottom to press the extract the liquid.
Transfer milk into a clean mason jar and store in the fridge. Consume within 3-5 days.
* Nut milk bags can be found at most local health food stores. If you don’t have a nut milk bag, a fine wire mesh strainer and/or cheese cloth will do.
But wait! Don’t throw out that pulp! Use your leftover pulp to make some of these delicious recipes!