Once you've tasted homemade almond milk it's quite difficult to return to store-bought. From scratch it's fresh, fragrant, and creamy. An added bonus? You're able source your own almonds, which results in a noticeable difference in taste and overall quality. I'm not sure anyone really needs another almond milk primer, but I've been making this homemade strawberry almond milk a couple of times a week now that berries are in season, and it is devastatingly good. Ripe strawberries plus fresh almond milk were made for each other. And that shade of pink? It triggers some deep pleasure-point in my brain reserved for childhood memories of milkshakes and slather-frosted birthday cakes. If you've never attempted to make almond milk - straight or otherwise, this is the tutorial. I use strawberries here, but of course you can trade in blueberries, blackberries, or other favorite seasonal fruit as the seasons progress.
The general jist is the following: soak almonds, drain and rinse, blend with water and any other ingredients you fancy, strain almond milk from almond solids, chill. There are some considerations within these steps as you're working through the process, particularly when it comes to straining. I'll highlight the different methods you might consider below. For example, a lot of people recommend using cheese cloth, which I just cannot get onboard with, so I'll show you what I prefer.
Above: soaking almonds, preferably overnight / pre-blend / post-blend
Above: You have a couple of options when I comes to straining. I've found the best method usually depends on the type (or power) of your blender. My goal - speed, and the least amount of mess and clean-up. If you have a high-power blender, one that is going to puree and emulsify the almonds into oblivion - (which is great, btw), buy a sturdy, large tea/infusion bag (photo above). You will never, ever go back to cheesecloth. Fill the bag, twist and squeeze the almond milk into a bowl. Alternately, and I've found this works best with almonds that have been processed in older blenders, or ones that don't quite break up the almonds into nano-bits - use a large French press. It's a dream.(below)
You can use the almond solids along with muesli or granola, or in cookie batters, pie crusts, or crisp toppings, and the like. Enjoy!
Homemade Strawberry Almond Milk
You can use frozen strawberries when fresh aren't in season.
1 cup raw almonds
maple syrup, 1 pitted date, drops of stevia, (or to taste)
generous pinch of sea salt
15 ripe strawberries, hulled
1/2 teaspoon almond or vanilla extract
special equipment: large cloth tea bag, sieve, or French press
Soak the almonds in filtered water for at least an hour, or, preferably, overnight. Drain and rinse. Blend the almonds with 3 1/4 cups filtered water, the maple syrup, salt, strawberries, and extract, until smooth. Transfer to tea bag (or preferred straining method), and strain. Twist and squeeze as much almond milk as possible from the bag. You should have a dry-ish almond meal in the bag when you're done, as well as silky smooth strawberry almond milk. Transfer to a jar and refrigerate.
Makes about 3 cups.
Prep time: 60 minutes