I started making my own almond milk about a year and a half ago to reduce the trash we produce (the shelf stable packaging is not recyclable in San Francisco) and avoid all the fillers and preservatives in store bought almond milk. Now that I’ve figured out a routine and recipe that works for us, I’ll never go back to the watery, flavorless, packaged variety.
How to make almond milk:
Start with good quality raw California almonds, unpasteurized if possible. Because of unfortunate USDA regulations, unpasteurized almonds grown in California are not available in stores and can only be purchased directly from the farmer. I purchase mine from Cipponeri Family Farms at the Heart of the City Farmers’ Market. They are not certified organic but they do not use pesticides. Last time I purchased almonds I paid $20 for 4lbs. Other options in San Francisco include Alfieri Farms and Massa Organics at the Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market.
Almonds store best in the freezer. I transfer a small amount to a liter sized jar (on left) that I keep in the fridge, and use a stainless steel rice measuring cup (kept inside) for measuring the almonds for each batch. The cup actually holds 3/4 of a cup and is available at Daiso for $1.50.
I soak one “cup” of almonds in water in a French jam jar / working glass. I have several of these that I collect from thrift stores (I like the old ones stamped with “Made in France”, better quality). The lids are sold (unpackaged) at Crate&Barrel. They’ve actually got a great seal; we use them for leftovers, green smoothies, snacks, drinking, etc.
You’ll notice that after the almonds have soaked for several hours, they’ll swell up and all the wrinkles will be gone. Time to blend! Rinse them well, transfer to the blender, and fill with water up to the 4 or 5 cup line. The ratio of almonds to water is obviously pretty flexible. This is also a good time to add any additional ingredients; occasionally I add dried unsweetened coconut or dates or vanilla. Blend thoroughly, don’t let it overheat. You want the almonds to stay “raw”, especially if you purchased unpasteurized ones, and maintain their maximum nutritional value.
Pour it into a nut milk bag or other straining device over a bowl or wide pitcher (a spout is nice if you have one). It’s not necessary to strain it if you want to be really lazy, but the texture might be too much. Squeeze every last drop of liquid into the pitcher. There are lots of ideas out there on what to do with the almond milk pulp that’s left in the bag - I used to mix it with cacao, honey, and coconut oil and roll in dried coconut to make raw truffles, also one time I made a hummus-like dip from it - but the pulp is pretty flavorless so nowadays I most often compost it.
I’m on my third nut milk bag; the first two got holes at the seams and too much pulp came through. The current one is from EcoPeaceful on Etsy and is very well made.
Pour into a jar or pitcher and store in the fridge. Make sure it has a tight seal because the almond milk separates easily (none of those weird additives to keep it together!) so it needs a good shake before pouring. I use an old Choya Umeshu bottle (purchased at Nijiya Market). Lasts 5-6 days in the fridge, but I make the right amount so that it’s usually gone by then. I start soaking the next batch of almonds each time I make the milk so they’re always ready to go.