Let’s make it 1 gallon of almond milk for $1.50 to $2.50 (organic) and its only going to take us 15 minutes of actual work time!
Ok, so to say my husband and I go through an incredible amount of almond milk is a complete understatement. We will just start by saying my husband and I each drink 16oz in our favorite nutrition shake, shakeology, EVERYDAY. So that means at a minimum without my daughters help, baking/cooking, in my coffee, etc. (you get the picture here) we are going through about a gallon each per week.
Almond milk isn’t the cheapest thing on the planet, prices average about $2.50-$3.00 per half gallon. Not to mention the waste of cartons when I have to buy a ridiculous amount. Also considering the added ingredients, salt, preservatives, potential carcinogens like carageenan, and if sweetened, the added sugar devil is present too.
The other day I said to myself, “there has to be a better way!” I’ve considered making my own almond milk a gazillion times. I made many excuses: time, annoyance, I have a wild child, money, blah blah blah. BUT my biggest hold up was I was not going to go through all the effort and expense to come up with 16oz of almond milk out of a cup of almonds. Totally not cost effective or time effective for me. I read a lot of different recipes, a lot of different ideas, and yesterday I had AWESOME success.
Step 1: Take 1 cup whole raw almonds and soak them in filtered water for 8 or more hours (overnight is easy)
1 cup of raw almonds = $1.50 (Aldi) OR 1 cup organic raw almonds = $2.50
Step 2: Drain and rinse soaked almonds. Add rinsed nuts to the blender and fill with as much filtered water as yours will hold. Cover and blend for a few minutes until your liquid turns to milk and the almonds are ground up (2-3 minutes is more than adequate). Strain with a nut milk bag or NEW nylon paint strainer (lowes or home depot have them cheap). Squeeze bag to remove any remaining milk from almond grounds.
Step 3: Put the almond grounds back in blender, refill with filtered water and go again! (if you have a really small blender you can repeat a 3rd time until you get close to a gallon of almond milk. Stir it all together to have a common strength of flavor and “milkiness.”
You could stop here and have DELICIOUS original unsweetened almond milk, however it will be thinner than the store bought stuff. Follow the next steps for *Extra special* vanilla unsweetened almond milk that will taste better than the store bought but have a closer consistency to it. Xanthan gum is a stabilizer that binds small particles together in food. Its used in gravy, salad dressing etc. Some studies show it can help lower blood sugar & cholesterol levels when taken as a supplement. For our purposes though in this dose, it is just a thickener.
Step 4 (optional): Put half the milk back in the blender with 1/4tsp xanthan gum powder and 3/4tsp vanilla extract, blend just until well incorporated. Place milk in its final resting place. Repeat with the second half of the milk adding 1/4tsp xanthan gum powder and 3/4tsp vanilla extract. Place the 2nd half of milk in its final resting place.
Step 5: Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator. Enjoy within a few days for best quality and freshness.
Note: You can add sweetener like honey or stevia to your almond milk when blending– BUT I recommend enjoying the natural almond flavor and slowly releasing your body from the “need” to enjoy all things sweetened. You can do it! Mess around with the amounts of xanthan gum and vanilla. I like a strong vanilla taste but you can cut back if you don’t. If you’d like it thicker add a pinch more of the powder when mixing.
What about whats left?? Well when you are all done you have almond meal! How awesome is that–zero waste. Unlike our cardboard cartons, plastic, etc. Now we can save all of that and use our remains. Take the almond meal and spread it out on a parchment lined tray. Bake at 200 degrees stirring occasionally for at least an hour (or until completely dry and crumbly). You can use it as almond meal, store in sealed container for a few weeks or in freezer for a few months. You can also take your dried almond meal and grind it further in the food processor or spice/coffee grinder to make almond flour.
So to recap, depending on whether or not you went organic, we just made a gallon of almond milk for $1.50 or $2.50. You preserved the earth a little, you had zero waste, you saved money, it only took about 15 minutes of actual prep time, and you KNOW what you are drinking. High five!