I switched to Almond Milk a while ago for many reasons, but I found out recently that store-bought almond milk isn't as good for you as you think!
Ever wonder why your store-bought almond milk lasts so long? It's because of all the additives that are put in there to extend shelf life.
Most store-bought almond milks also have an additive called Carrageenan. This is a thickener that helps improve the texture of dairy and alternative dairy products. Basically, they make the almond milk super watered down (this makes it less expensive to produce), then add this thickener to it to mask that. Although still regarded "safe" by the FDA, Carrageenan has been linked to many health issues, including inflammation and digestive problems, so I always steer clear of this additive!
My homemade almond milk doesn't need any additives, flavors, or added sugar. It's delicious just the way it is! I can't even drink store-bought almond milk without gagging anymore- I want the real stuff! I soak my almonds every Friday evening, then make my Almond Milk on Sunday to last me through the week.
Be warned- once you taste the difference between the store-bought stuff and this, you'll be ruined! It's so fresh, delicious and creamy. I drink it as-is, use it in recipes, and if I'm feeling fancy (which I usually am), I add a dash of homemade vanilla extract, or soak an organic cinnamon stick in the pitcher with the almond milk. Yum!
Homemade Almond Milk
1 cup organic almonds
2 cups filtered water (for soaking)
4-6 cups filtered water (for the almond milk)
1. Rinse the almonds, and then place them in a sealed glass container full of filtered water for 1-2 days. I recommend the full 2 days- mine turns out best that way!
2. Discard the "soaking" water, rinse the almonds and put them into the blender. Add 4-6 cups of fresh filtered water to the blender, then close and blend on HIGH for 1 minute.
3. Place your strainer over your glass pitcher (or a measuring glass/bowl if your pitcher is too small for the mesh strainer) and place the cheesecloth on top of the mesh strainer.
4. Pour the contents of the blender into the strainer with the cheesecloth on top. You may have to pour some, let it settle, then pour some more.
5. Once you've emptied the blender, twist the cheesecloth above the remaining pulp, and squeeze to get all of the milk out.
6. You'll be left with the almond "pulp"- you can discard this or use it for almond meal or other recipes.
7. Store the almond milk in a sealed glass container. I like this pitcher.
The shelf life of your almond milk varies- Google says that homemade almond milk is only good for 2-3 days, but personally I find that mine's good for about 5-6 days as long as I keep it sealed tight.
I love this almond milk by itself, but if you want to add some flavor you could add:
Vanilla Extract (put a teaspoonful in the blender with the almonds)
Cinnamon Stick (soak it in the glass pitcher with the Almond Milk)
Dates (blend 1-2 with the almonds)
Honey/Agave (blend with almonds, and/or add it to the glass pitcher with the milk and shake before serving)
*Always use organic and locally sourced ingredients when possible*