Almond milk and other milk alternatives are becoming increasingly popular as people turn their backs on dairy in search of a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle. I personally enjoy cow’s milk and other dairy products but this is conditional upon the milk, butter and cheese being organic, grass-fed, full-fat, vegetarian (no animal rennet in my cheese please!) and preferably raw (unpasteurised).
Mass produced dairy products involve the use of antibiotics, bovine growth and milk producing hormones, feeding cows an unnatural diet of soy and other grains that have been grown with fertilisers and pesticides, and continuous milking, even throughout pregnancy. Treating dairy cows as mere ‘milking-machines’ rather than as intelligent animals, forces the animal to overproduce milk and robs mothers of their baby calves - the male calves (considered a waste product of the dairy industry) are shot, and the females are reared only to suffer the same fate as their mother. From a human health perspective, the cheap milk that’s produced is not only nutritionally inferior, it is also contaminated with the hormones, antibiotics and other toxic chemicals that have been forced upon these suffering animals throughout their short lives.
Unfortunately, most industrially-produced alternatives to dairy milk are not as healthful as you might imagine. Firstly, there is never a good reason to drink soy milk. But also shop-bought almond, rice and oat milks are frequently packed with chemicals - flavourings, thickeners, sugar or toxic sugar substitutes like aspartame. Organic coconut milk is a healthy drink but only reliably so if it’s free from BPA (a potential toxic found in the lining of canned goods containing coconut milk, soup, tomatoes etc.) and guar gum (that can cause digestive problems). As far as I’m concerned, if it’s a choice between factory-farming or industrially-processed dairy substitutes, they can all milk off!
Fortunately, with just two ingredients, a decent blender and a nut milk bag it’s easy to make a healthier, better tasting ‘milk’ at home by simply blitzing nuts with water.
Rich and creamy almond milk can be drunk straight, in tea or coffee, poured over Primal Plate’s Nut & Seed Granola or as a substitute for cow’s milk in recipes for soups, smoothies, shakes, sauces, ice creams etc. It is particularly good when made into our Cream of Cauliflower Soup.
A delicious health-food option for everyone, I think nut milks are an absolute boon for vegans, anyone who is lactose intolerant and not least of all, cows!
Almond Milk (makes 750ml)
200g raw, organic, unblanched almonds, soaked overnight in cold water
600ml freshly filtered cold water (see note below)
The next day, drain the soaked almonds and rinse well under cold water. Drain again.
Tip the almonds into a blender and pour in 600ml of filtered cold water. Blitz for 3-4 minutes until completely homogenised and smooth.
Open up the nut milk bag and set it inside a medium sized mixing bowl. Pour the mixture from the blender directly into the bag.
Tighten the tie at the top of the bag to hold everything inside, then using your hands firmly squeeze out all the liquid until you’re left with only dry almond pulp.
Transfer the milk into a lidded glass jar or bottle and chill.
Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Stir or shake well before using.
The above recipe is for unsweetened almond milk. To sweeten, add 2 teaspoons maple syrup (or raw organic runny honey) and 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or 2 roughly chopped stoneless Medjool dates to the soaked almonds and water before blending. Alternatively, add organic liquid stevia to the finished milk to taste (approx 4-6 drops).
You can make cashew nut, macadamia nut, hazelnut, tiger nut (see our recipe for Horchata) and coconut milk (with organic coconut chips instead of nuts) using the exact same method.
I strongly recommend freshly filtered water for making nut milks. I think this warrants the separate blog post entitled ‘Cool, Clear, Water’ to tell you why and how!
Carbohydrate 2g Protein 2g - per 100ml serving (unsweetened)