You know the fancy schmancy almond milk you ogle at Whole Foods (those specks of vanilla bean? a hint of sea salt? yum!)? Not the cheap dairy substitute stuff that comes in a carton and has a long list of ingredients you can’t pronounce, but the good stuff next to the fancy schmancy juices that makes you seriously consider whether it could possibly be delicious enough to be worth $12/tiny bottle.
Well, it is really really delicious. But $12 is a lot for a non-alcoholic drink. Solution: make it yourself!
It takes some time (mostly waiting for the almonds to soak) and it isn’t exactly cheap, but it is cheaper. Plus, almond milk is one of those things (like cheese or pickles) that is extremely satisfying to make yourself. And did I mention it’s delicious? Well then, what are you waiting for?
Fancy Schmancy Homemade Almond Milk (makes about 2 cups)
Adapted from The Kitchn
- 1 c raw almonds
- 1 vanilla bean
- 5 dates
- 1 c coconut milk (liquid only, not the thicker stuff at the top of the can)
- 2 c water (plus more for soaking)
- Pinch of sea salt
- Fine mesh strainer
- Fine mesh nut bag or cheese cloth
- Measuring cup
Start by placing the almonds in a jar or bowl and covering them with about an inch of water. Let them sit for 12–48 hours (the longer they soak, the creamier the almond milk will be). As the almonds soak, they will plump up and become a bit squishy.
When you’re done soaking the almonds, drain them and rinse them thoroughly.
Chop the dates into quarters and remove the pits. Place the rinsed almonds and chopped dates in the blender. Split the vanilla bean down the middle with a paring knife and scrape the seeds into the blender.
Add the water, coconut milk, and sea salt and pulse a few times to break up the almonds, then blend on high speed for 3–5 minutes until the almonds have broken down into a fine meal and the mixture is milky and uniform (read: no big chunks sitting on top).
Set a fine mesh strainer over a mixing bowl and place a nut bag or cheese cloth on top. Pour in the contents of the blender. Gather the edges of the nut bag or cheese cloth around the almond mixture and twist the top. Squeeze with clean hands to extract as much almond milk as you can. Place the remaining thick, mealy portion of the mixture in a jar or tupperware container to save for future use (like muffins, cereal, or body scrub).
Note: I did not have a nut bag or fine cheese cloth on hand, so I strained my mixture through the fine mesh strainer twice, stirring it with a spoon to extract the liquid. This worked fine but was a little more time-intensive, so I’d recommend the nut bag if you have time to go buy one.
Pour the strained almond milk into jars or bottles and enjoy! The almond milk can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two days.