Tuesday 22 October 2019

Make Your Own - Almond Milk

My Make Your Own Section

I have been making great strides in my quest to rely less on single use plastics

So far I have done some reviews of plastic alternatives, written several articles and reduced or switched about 45 items so far (list to follow soon). 

I will regularly review some of my home making experiments, in the hopes it gives some inspiration to others starting out in their plastics reduction journey. 

I'm only 3 months into my experiment so off to a great start. I've also been donating money to save trees and started a Facebook page to go with this site.

It has been a busy time, but also have been busy making a few homemade things. From bathroom/kitchen cleaners, to homemade fabric conditioner, weed killer, toilet fizz bombs, liquid hand soap, mint extracts, bath salts and homemade Greek yogurt and almond milks. 

👯 I have become quite the home bunny! 👯

Home Made Almond Milk

So why almond? Since being young I've always been plagued with a throat catarrh type of congestion. It's bad enough in Winter but putting up with this all year round can be minging. Sometimes it'll block my breathing airways and not pleasant at all. 

It was an acupuncturist who suggested my root problem could be caused by milk. Dairy milk, along with bananas can be mucous producing she explained. 

It took 2-4 weeks after giving up dairy to rid the entire congestion. My nose would run and would cough up too but gradually these all disappeared. I occasionally still indulge in dairy (ice creams in summer, cream in my Irish coffee) but if I have too much the problems soon creep back in.

So after deciding to reduce plastics it was natural to look at ways of making my own milk alternative and I was really surprised just how easy it was!

So what do you need?

Almonds. Water. Yep that's it, almonds and water!!

Some say to use whole almonds with skins and soak overnight before blitzing (this helps to remove phytic acid in the skin). 

I decided to do the cheat's option which is to use *blanched almonds. As the skinning has been pretty much done for you, you can skip the first step! 

This site shows how to blanch your own easily and do an instant method, rather than soaking overnight. I just bought already blanched almonds so even managed to skip that bit.

The recipe I followed suggests 1 cup almonds to 4 cups of water (I use filtered water). I didn't bother by the way with any additives like salt or vanilla, just left it bare!

Blitz it for several minutes until smooth and creamy and then use cheesecloth or a nut bag to help drain out the almond pulp. The result is a nice creamy milk (even though I didn't soak the almonds as they came already blanched, it still came out creamy). 

homemade almond milk glass bottle

I then poured the milk into a re-used milk bottle and topped it off with a piece of tin foil. Great in milky hot chocolates but also great in teas, coffees and cereals. 

Even better is that it's naturally packed with calcium so no need for fortifying your drink. You can also adjust the almond to water content to suit your needs.

Almond milk off the shelves in supermarkets is usually served in tetrapaks (which contains plastic, card and aluminium). Not all council kerbside facilities will take this for recycling (may need to check with your local council to be sure). Looks nicer in a glass bottle anyway!

*This site lists some of the differences between blanched and unblanched almonds. Although slight, there will be some differences in nutritional content between the two.

Do I still buy supermarket almond milk? 

Yes, I do if it's on special offer but I have now discovered a local recycling centre that does take tetrapaks, so I make sure if I do use these that they get recycled. You can also experiment with less almonds to make it runnier if you do prefer the supermarket version.

This product once made lasts about 4 days in the fridge. Meanwhile the pulp can be frozen or can be oven dried to make almond flour. 

You can make truffles from pulp that has been stored in the fridge with added cocoa powder, some chopped dry fruits and a binder such as peanut butter, almond butter (or I used chocolate spread making sure the brand I chose was in a glass jar with no palm oil).

Someone suggested using almond pulp as a coating for fish or chicken fillets too or even mix in with your oaty apple crumble topping. If you really don't want the left over pulp I'm sure the birds would tuck in.

My Verdict?

Great to have such a simple recipe. Great to have something lovely tasting. Great to realise that we can find alternatives and still enjoy it too. Win, win, win!!

You got this!