Almond milk is becoming more popular by the day, and rightly so. It’s delicious. Especially so if you make it yourself! And it’s easier than pie (not to mention cheaper!).
Almonds are rich in Omega-3, though not the very important “fish oil kinds” (EPA and DHA).
Almond skins are rich in polyphenol antioxidants (which are protective agents against cancer and cardiovascular disease with antimicrobial action). They also have a lot of dietary fiber, and act as prebiotics (which means they feed those friendly gut bacteria that are associated with health and well-being). (Mandalari, 2012)
You will need to prepare ahead of time by soaking the almonds in water for at least 7 hours or better, over night (making sure to use raw nuts, about 100g to make 1 liter of almond milk). This not only softens them up nicely, but releases the nutrients and makes them much more digestible by breaking down the phytic acid that protect the almond from spoiling (phytic acid can make up from 0.5% to over 9% of the almond!). Phytic acid is often referred to as an anti-nutrient because it impairs the absorption of iron, zinc and calcium around the time it is ingested, and may therefore promote mineral deficiencies if consumed regurlarly.
This is why soaking almonds is recommended if you are a regular almond milk drinker (besides being more blender friendly). Plus, you may actually like the taste much better (and decide to soak all your almonds before eating them).
After the soak peeling almonds is just a matter of pinching off the skins (while watching a short video). You can dry the skins and grind them into flour to add to baking recipes or granola. Gardening mulch is another idea.
Blend the almonds together with 4 cups of water (cold or hot), some 2-4 pitted dates for sweetness (or alternatively, a spoonful of honey or maple syrup) and a pinch of salt, then strain the mixture through a tea towel. And voila – beautiful, silky smooth almond milk!
(Don’t throw away the remaining almond pulp! You can use it in baking, granola, add it to curry or even use it as a body scrub.)
Once more the ingredients in list form:
• 100g of soaked almonds (100g dry weight)
• 4 c of water (cold or hot)
• 2-4 dates, pitted (or other sweetener of your choice)
• 1 pinch of salt
What NOT to do:
-don’t use roasted or salted almonds, and never use rancid nuts!
-don’t skip the soak. Plan ahead! Or decide to make milk tomorrow (and start soaking now).
-don’t get the nut to water ratio wrong. You need 4 parts of nuts to 1 part of water (if you keep the ratio you can substitute or mix in other nuts. Experiment to your heart’s delight!)
-don’t skimp on blending time.
-don’t use a tea strainer if you want smooth, silky milk. A tea towel or nut bag is a must for effective straining! Don’t be afraid to use your hands to squeeze out all the liquid.
-don’t forget to flavour your milk with sweetness and salt (unless you actually like it bland). Try soaking your nuts with a cinnamon stick.
Important note for vegans:
If you are hoping that almond milk will cover your vital need for Omega 3 fatty acids I have to warn you that it does not. Yes, it contains ALA (alpha linolenic acid, the plant omega 3 precursor), but not the very important EPA and DHA that are usually found in fish (and ALA conversion to EPA and DHA in the liver is not very efficient). The good news is, the fish got it from a vegan source, and so can you: seaweed and microalgae. The vegan equivalent to fish oil is algae oil.
And one more recipe to wish you a happy day:
Almond milk snack
Mix some chia seeds into warm almond milk, wait for 30 minutes (to give the chia seeds time to expand) and sprinkle with cinnamon to make a yummy snack pudding.
Sources: (besides personal experience)
Arnarson, A. (2018). Phytic Acid 101: Everything You Need to Know. Retrieved on Feb. 6th, 2020 from https://www.healthline.com/
Schlemmer, U., Frølich, W., Prieto, R.M., Grases, F. (2009). Phytate in foods and significance for humans: food sources, intake, processing, bioavailability, protective role and analysis. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2009 Sep; 53 Suppl 2:S330-75. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.200900099.
Turner, H. (2017). Comparing Algae-Based DHA+EPA Supplements. Retrieved on Feb. 6th, 2020 from https://www.todaysdietitian.com/