Thursday, September 19, 2013

Experimenting with Almond Milk

I love almond milk.  The love affair began when my youngest daughter was unable to tolerate dairy for a year or so while her body repaired itself after a diagnosis of Celiac Disease.  Of all of the non-dairy milks we tried, unsweetened vanilla almond milk was by far our favourite.  She can tolerate dairy now, but for the most part we haven't gone back.  We generally avoid dairy in our home - I just don't think it's all that great for us.  But almond milk...that's a different story.

Whenever it went on sale, I would stock up on my favourite brand.  I still have at least five cartons in the pantry.  Then I started hearing about this thing called carrageenan.  I've heard whisperings about it for years, and mostly didn't listen.  But now more and more people are questioning the safety of this food ingredient found in many non-dairy milks to help the texture become closer to that of cow's milk.  As a precaution, I do my best to avoid products with carrageenan as best I can.

In my corner of the country, none of the brands of almond milk in stores are without carrageenan.  I have still been drinking up my stash of almond milk cartons, but a little more slowly.  And I've been keeping this recipe in the back of my mind for a rainy day.  I decided to take the plunge yesterday after buying a huge bag of raw almonds at the bulk food store.

I have to say, it was so much easier than I had anticipated!  I did not have a nut milk bag, but I used a jelly bag that I had bought to make crabapple jelly last summer and it worked perfectly.  The hardest part of making my own almond milk was to remember to soak the almonds overnight.  I forgot three days in a row.  I remembered once while laying in bed and was just too lazy to get up, so it got pushed to the next day.  Again.  Once the almonds were soaked, the rest of the recipe literally took five minutes.  I used pure vanilla extract, and this was my result:

You can see all of the delicious flecks of cinnamon slowly settling to the bottom of the jar.  This stuff is good.  Really good.  But - I don't really know that I'll make it often.  Here's why:  I don't eat cereal often, and I don't drink my almond milk on it's own.  I consume most of my almond milk in coffee.  About 1/3 of a cup per mug of coffee.  When I tried to use my homemade version in my coffee, it separated.  It looked gross.  I could stir it back together, but within 20 seconds it was separating again.  Not fun.  Maybe that's what the carrageenan does?  Next time I'm on a cereal or smoothie kick I will make this, but not for everyday coffee consumption.

If you drink your almond milk by the glass, in cereal or a smoothie, I definitely recommend this recipe.  It is so simple and fast.  As for me, I'm still on the hunt for something to add to my coffee.

1 comment:

  1. I love almond milk! I don't drink it alone either, nor do I eat a lot of cereal. I have yet to attempt to make it homemade since it took me forever to find just the right one from the store. But, knowing me (a definite homemade girl), I'll be trying to make this one day.

    Make It or Fix It Yourself