My most recent brilliant discovery is that our juicer makes some amazing almond milk. I know you’re probably not impressed, as far as brilliant discoveries go, but this is important! When we first bought the juicer a few years ago, I gave almond milk a try, but quickly decided that I liked the taste of store bought almond milk better. My palette and lack of tolerance for packaged things evolved, and I am thrilled at my new-found love for the sweet milky goodness.
At first glance, the ingredient list on the almond milk containers is not wildly scary. There are a few stabilizing and binding ingredients that are questionable, but overall, store bought almond milk is made from almonds. That was good enough for a while. Learning a little bit more about food processing and packaging, I realized that most, if not all, of the almond milk available at the store is pasteurized. Pasteurization involves heating a product to a specific temperature (actual temperature depends on the type of pasteurization) for a period of time to kill enough pathogenic bacteria to make the product shelf stable. Refrigerated almond milk is pasteurized too. This destroys many heat sensitive vitamins and enzymes in the process and damages any healthy fats that were once present in almonds. Some vitamins are added back in, confidently appearing on the nutrition label. The fact that almond milk is “processed” isn’t shocking by any means, but I recently learned is that most whole almonds that are labelled “raw” are pasteurized too, at least ones coming from the US. Nuts.com has some unpasteurized almonds for sale, imported from Spain. I’m not sure I’m ready to dish out $13.99/pound for some seriously raw almond milk yet (though they’re probably worth the price for eating whole), but I really hope that at least having the almonds in tact during pasteurization protects some of the vitamins and fats. When soaking the almonds overnight, a little “sprout” appears at the tip. Maybe that indicates that some life is still present in the poor suckers. Fingers crossed. If anyone knows of any other good sources for truly raw almonds or information on this topic, I’d love to learn more.
The most common way to make almond milk is in a blender, there are many recipes and tutorials out there. Here is a great one. If you have a slow juicer instead (not that they’re the same thing at all), the process is similar. Almonds are soaked overnight, then juiced with water. Most sources recommend a 1:4 ratio of almonds to water, but I prefer 1:2. I think the reason that I initially didn’t like the almond milk was that even though the pulp comes out of the other end in the juicer, there are still traces of pulp left in the juice. This didn’t work for me. A nut milk bag was the answer (just like with the blender method) and I discovered that this stuff actually tastes amazing. The 1:2 ratio produces a very creamy milk. I blend 1 cup of it with a ripe banana and I’m a happy girl. What makes me even happier is adding some cinnamon to the mix, and swirling in some carrot-ginger juice.
- 1 cup home-made almond milk
- 1 ripe banana
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 cup of freshly squeezed carrot/ginger juice (from about 1 lb carrots and a small knob of ginger)
- Blend the almond milk, banana and cinnamon.
- Add the carrot ginger juice and stir to combine. Garnish with more cinnamon.