Okay, maybe you read the abrasively titled story in Mother Jones (“Lay Off the Almond Milk, You Ignorant Hipsters”) and maybe you didn’t. The premise was that (a) almond milk is ridiculously expensive, and (b) eating almonds is better for you than drinking almond milk. This isn’t exactly groundbreaking investigative journalism—we know it’s expensive, and of course raw whole foods are better for you. But the author is forgetting the most crucial idea: almond milk is awesome.
I’m no hipster, and I don’t like to think of myself as ignorant, but we all have our indulgences. Some people spring for the extra thick Greek yogurt, some people spend a little more for organic produce. Mine is almond milk. And eating almonds isn’t the same guilty pleasure as dousing your coffee, tea, or cereal with almond milk. Yes, it’s expensive. But it doesn’t have to be. Almond milk is something that is fairly easy to make at home. If you Google it, you can find all kinds of variations and ideas, but here’s the basic recipe:
What You Need
—Two cups of water, not including the water for soaking
—Blender (or a food processor, but a blender works great)
—Cheesecloth (or a mesh nut bag)
—Sweetener like stevia, agave, honey or sugar (this is optional, but recommended)
How You Do It
This is not immediate gratification. You need to soak the raw almonds in a bowl of water overnight, or for up to two days—the longer they soak, the creamier the milk. You can soak them uncovered, and they’ll get bigger as they absorb water. Drain them and rinse them in a strainer, and they should feel a little squishy. Then put the almonds with the two cups of water in a blender (or food processor) for about four minutes, until the water is white and the almonds have broken down into fine bits, like corn meal. Then strain the mixture through the cheesecloth or opened nut bag, squeezing to get the liquid out. It should yield roughly two cups of milk. Sweeten it to taste, and it will keep in the refrigerator for about two days. Long enough to start soaking your next batch.
The remaining nut meal can also be used—spread it on a baking sheet and dry it on low heat in the oven for a couple of hours, then you can add it to oatmeal, smoothies, or muffins. This might be more work than you bargained for, but eating the whole nut at least protects you from “ignorant hipster” status.