Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Recipe: Raw Bourbon Vanilla Almond Milk

Fresh almond milk has got to be one of my all-time favorite vegan discoveries. The first few times I tried making it, though, I was ready to write it off as more trouble than it was worth. Now that I have access to better appliances I am back on the homemade almond milk train. What a difference a good blender makes!

More photos on my instagram: @veganlifeisgood

Raw Almond Milk
Appliances needed:
  • a fine mesh strainer
  • a bowl
  • a good blender or food processor (I much prefer my blender for liquid recipes, the processor is better for solids)
  • cheesecloth(available packaged in most grocery stores, I use 1 pkg per batch)
  • whole, raw almonds, covered and soaked a few days in fresh water or at least overnight
  • fresh water to add, 4 cups to every one cup of almonds
  • vanilla bean (optional)
  • agave to taste
  • Other great options: cinnamon, dates, or cacao powder for chocolate almond milk!!

1.  Soak: Make sure to soak your almonds and rinse them well afterward. Not only does this rid impurities and make them easier to blend, but check out this amazing fact from the Livestrong website regarding digestion:

~"Almonds contain an enzyme inhibitor in their brown skin that protects the nut until the proper levels of sunlight and moisture allow it to germinate. Since the nut does not release its enzymes until those conditions have been reached, eating almonds without removing the inhibitor limits the nutrients your body can absorb and makes the almond difficult to digest. By soaking almonds, you provide the moisture that makes the almond shed its skin and release its enzymes. The process works with most nuts and seeds." 
I will always soak my almonds before eating them, after learning that!

2.  Blend: 4 parts water to every 1 part almond. So, if you have a cup of almonds, add about 4 of water. Blend very well, and add agave or dates at this point. Hold off on using a vanilla bean or powders though, that one comes later.

3. Strain:  Fit a strainer over a bowl or large cup, then line the strainer with cheesecloth. Use large pieces, you don't wait any almond pulp slipping through the sides or up out of the top when you squeeze. Fill the cloth just full enough that you can still gather all the ends into one hand. Now, SQUEEZE! The milk should run out of the cloth, drip through the strainer for good measure, and reach your bowl pulp-free. Strain as many times as it takes, and restrain if pulp slips out (this is a fairly messy undertaking, so don't feel inadequate if you have to re-strain a bit ;)

4. Taste & Presentation: Pour your milk into a seal-able container (you can find attractive ones very cheap at most any store that sells kitchenware, for mine I re-purposed a water kefir bottle from the market. Mason jars work well, too). If you are using a vanilla bean, cut a slit up the side and stick the whole bean in before refridgerating. The flavors will seep out and mingle. This is also where you might want to stir in powders or spices, or add them by the glass with a blender as you go. Don't blend the bean though. 

More photos on my instagram: @veganlifeisgood

Your milk should keep refridgerated for about 3-5 days, though mine never lasts that long. I love using it in my overnight oats! Also, you can use all the leftover almond pulp to make delicious cookies, bread, smoothies, dips... or dehydrate it for almond flour.