A look at cooking freely within constraints –be they environmental or culinary or other.

Having major food allergies (all things cow related, shellfish, mushrooms and beer), I have had to adapt how and what I cook in order to eat “normally” – this in turn cultivated a love of cooking and feeding people.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Almond Milk

In the US, I had become used to having a variety of milk options - almond milk, soy milk, hazelnut milk, rice milk, even goat's milk.....  All I had to do was walk into either Wild Harvest of Whole Foods and there was almost a half of an aisle from which to choose my milks.  I was so spoiled.

Here in Buenos Aires there is.... cow milk.  Lots of it.  And if you are lucky and go into one of the larger markets like Disco, you can find a carton of soy milk that is not bad.  Or you can trek to Barrio Chino (again, not really China Town, more like China Block) and go to Casa de Soja and buy some really wonderful, fresh soy milk.  Which is great, but if you don't use the entire liter within 5 or 6 days, it solidifies into ghetto tofu.  Not good.

Plus I have read all the details on how lots of soy in your diet is not that great for you, especially for women, so I did not want to limit my consumption to only soy milk.  Plus I missed almond milk, it was perfect for baking with and tasted really yummy with my morning granola.  So I went on A Search.  All over Buenos Aires.  Asking every health food store about almond milk.  Most of them looked at me as though I was asking for milk made from meteorites or something equally silly.  Although to their minds, maybe it is that silly....  regardless, a friend finally mentioned that I should make my own - my guess is that this was an attempt to stop my whining... which worked...


I can make it?

Yes - and it is so easy I don't know why I have never made it before!  And I am told it works with any nuts - my next try is going to be hazelnuts, but those are super expensive here, so I need to source them first.

Here's what you need
filtered water
honey or agave nectar (optional)
vanilla (optional)
a blender
and a cheesecloth strainer - like the one below*

(* - yes, this is a link to Amazon, one of my favorite go to sites for odds and ends - and yes, if you click here and buy this item, I get a few pennies. I am unemployed and living in a foreign country on a very thin budget, so monetizing my blog with items that I myself use or recommend seemed like a good idea.)


First, soak your almonds for at least 4 hours in the fridge.  I use a 4 (water) to 1 (nuts) ratio for the soaking.

Ratio for making almond milk - 1 cup almonds to 2 or 3 cups of water.  2 cups makes a thicker milk, 3 cups makes a thinner one.  I like the thicker milk, but you can play with it and find what you like best.

Then rinse the almonds thoroughly.  Place in a blender with water, 1 tsp honey or agave and splash of vanilla (if you choose to use these).  Blend thoroughly.  Then strain through your cheesecloth sieve into your container.

there will be all sorts of almond pulp goodness left over after you strain your milk - KEEP IT!!! This is amazing stuff that is a wonderful addition of cookies, pastries, pancakes, etc. I am currently testing a variety of vegan cookies using this happy leftover and will post that soon. The pulp will stay fresh in your fridge for about a week, or you can freeze it indefinitely.

Store your almond milk in the fridge and it will keep for about a week to 10 days. Also, it will separate while sitting, just give it a really good shake and all will be well. :-)

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