Even though I don’t buy into all that nonsense about Bonsoy soy milk that’s been going on recently (the whole thing stinks of a Vitasoy conspiracy) it’s nice to change things up a bit nonetheless. I’ve read many recipes on how to make Almond milk (they’re all pretty much the same) so instead of buying almond milk, I gave making my own a shot…
First of all, I need to qualify that if you buy your almonds in those petite little bags from the supermarket at something like $5 for 250g you’re going to go broke doing this. Try getting your almonds (and other nuts/seeds) from a nut store, or better still, a wholesaler. I know this will be a bit tricky for some, I’m lucky enough to live inner city right near Basfoods in Brunswick and Naturally on High in Northcote. It makes sense to shop at a Mediterranean/Middle Eastern grocery store since these traditional diets are dense with a variety of nuts, seeds and legumes. The produce is generally fresher, and you can buy in bulk. Even Aldi might be cheaper (I got 500g of Australian macadamias for $8.99 there the other week – bargain!).
Almond milk and flour recipe
What you’ll need:
- 1/2 c. almonds (preferably raw)
- 1 c. water for soaking
- 4 c water
- In a bowl, cover almonds with water and allow to soak overnight.
Note: this softens the almonds, improving digestibility and also begins the sprouting process, thus amplifying their health benefits.
- After soaking, drain the soaking water and rinse the almonds well
- In a high speed food processor, combine almonds with the remaining 4 cups of water
- Blend away until creamy. There will remain some almond grittiness, how much depends on how good your food processor is (note to self: add Vitamix blender to the wishlist)
- Line a fine mesh sieve with cheesecloth and place over a bowl. Pour the almond mixture into the sieve and let drain, then grab the corners of the cheesecloth, hold together securely and squeeze the cheesecloth to extract all of the milk. Note: I managed to extract the ‘milk’ with the sieve and applying a little pressure with a spoon. But that could be because my food processor is a hand-me-down from mum and not that much chop. Ha ha pardon the pun
- Reserve the pulp in the sieve for making the flour
- Transfer the milk to a covered container – will keep for up to 3 days refrigerated
To make the flour
- Spread the pulp on a flat tray lined with non stick paper
- Pop in the oven at 100°C and gently dry out for approx 15 – 20 mins without browning the pulp (you can also achieve this by using your dehydrator that I know is shoved in the back of your cupboard!!!)
- Transfer to a food processor and grind to a silky four
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days (personally I think it will last a little longer, but you do as you please)
(adapted from Raw by Charlie Trotter and Roxanne Klein)
Uses for almond milk and flour
So now that you’ve got some almond milk and almond flour that has to be used within 3 days…what do you do with it? Well I just had my cup of tea with almond milk instead of soy. If you like the nuttiness of soy milk, you’re gonna luurve the nuttiness that comes with almond milk. It has a sweet twang to it that I also enjoy.
Otherwise, pour over your fancy pants breakfast to make a fancier-pantsier breakfast and use in place you would soy or cow’s milk. No moo’s necessary.
Almond flour can be used just like almond meal – but you will have a finer texture. Try this Lemon, Almond and Grape Cake (click on image):
Almonds are a good source of protein (20%) and unsaturated (good) fats, potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc, Vitamin E and fiber. Almonds are also a good source of important antioxidant flavonoids and 2-4% laetrile, meaning almonds have anti-cancer benefits. Studies have also shown almond’s ability to combat heart disease by their ability to lower LDL’s, and raw and roasted almonds were found to significantly reduce cholesterol.
It is the only nut to alkalise the blood.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), almonds are slightly warming and their flavour is sweet. Almonds relieve stagnant Lung Qi and they help transform phlegm and lubricate the intestines.
In layman’s terms, this means almonds can be used for:
- Cold-type asthma. Asthma accompanied by white, clear or foamy mucus, cold extremities, pale face, frequent feeling of coldness.
- Deficiency-type asthma. Asthma accompanied by weak radial pulse, little or no tongue coating, pale complexion, shortness of breath, head needing to be propped up in order to sleep, difficult breathing on slight exertion.
- Dry-type constipation characterised by infrequent and hard to pass stools that are very dry, small and dense.
- Coughing/lung conditions. Almond milk is especially helpful to alleviate.
Ayurveda (traditional Indian medicine) considers almonds as one of the best nuts, and said to awaken intelligence and spirituality and reproductive ability.
Oooh wee, that is some list!
Almonds can exasperate the phlegm and sputum if person has damp signs eg: sluggishness, thick greasy tongue coating and edema. Don’t go crazy overboard with nuts. Because they are concentrated in fats, makes them difficult to digest and are best eaten in small amounts.
(Sources: Healing with Wholefoods, Paul Pitchford; Healing Foods, Michael Murray)
In an ideal world, almonds – along with other nuts and seeds – are best eaten freshly shelled since the good fats they contain can easily go rancid. Since this is not very practical in this day and age, ensure you buy your nuts/seeds as fresh as possible (ie a supplier that has a regular turnover such as a nut-shop).
Almonds that have been blanched in boiling water also kills a lot of the ‘good stuff’ – it is laborious, but soaking overnight then hand peeling is best.
Look for almonds that are uniform in shape and colour – avoid those that are shrivelled, limp or have a sharp or bitter odor.
Store in an airtight container and in a dark cool place – or better still, the refrigerator/freezer.
What are your favourite almond recipes? Have you had any health epiphanies from adding almonds into your diet? Did you try the almond milk and loved it/loathed it? Where do you buy your nuts and seeds? I love to hear from you, please comment.
This is guidance only and not intended to replace qualified MD diagnosis and treatment. If you suffer from chronic and serious conditions please consult your doctor and embark on a nutritional therapy in accordance with prescribed medications.