It’s no secret that almond milk has long been THE plant-based beverage du jour. Its flavor is mild, nutty, versatile and pleasing, although, oat milk is beginning to give it a run for its money. The health benefits of almond milk are undeniable, and it’s a wonderful alternative to dairy, which is good news for African-Americans, who suffer disproportionately with lactose intolerance. Although, almond milk is readily available in almost every grocery store, I prefer to make my own at home. Why, you ask? Well, the answer is so that I can control the purity, taste and thickness of the final product. The percentage of almonds used in production, is one of the most important variables that I want to control, because it’s responsible for the thickness, creaminess, taste and mouthfeel of the milk. Almonds are expensive to produce, which is why most almond milk manufacturers include 2% or fewer almonds, resulting in an unnecessarily thin and watery product. They compensate for the thinness of the product, by adding fillers and binders. Whatever your personal preference, making nut milks is simple and fun to do. Once you’ve made one batch, you’ll find that it’s easy to adjust it to your personal taste.
Here’s an easy recipe to try at home:
- 1 cup whole raw almonds, soaked 8 hours, rinsed and drained
- 2-3 cups water
- 1-3 pitted Medjool dates
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Dash of cinnamon (optional)
Combine all ingredients in an high-speed blender and process until smooth.
Separate the milk from the pulp by squeezing the mixture through a milk bag. Compost the pulp or reuse it as a flour substitute. I give mine to my chickens!
Serve chilled. Stored in a sealed glass jar in the refrigerator. Almond milk will keep for up to 4 days.
Note: Once you’ve made 1-2 batches, you’ll have a better sense of your personal preference. Do you prefer it sweeter? Add more seedless dates? Does it taste too one-dimensional in flavor? Maybe you should add a pinch of salt or nutmeg. It’s your party, so celebrate your creamy, white mustache in your own, unique way.