Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Truth About Almond Milk

Nut milk is a fantastic, dairy free, low-calorie alternative to your standard cows milk. A whopping seven out of ten people don't have the enzyme needed to digest dairy, so it's an incredibly nutrient-rich replacement that is full of healthy fats, Vitamin A, D and beautifying Vitamin E. However, many of the cartons you can buy in the supermarket contain and as little as 2% almonds... TWO PERCENT! They are also packed with loads of rubbish to watch out for, such as additives and stabilisers. Ultimately, if you want straight almond milk, you should try and make your own...

The almond milks you can buy on the supermarket shelves are full of preservatives, additives, sugar and stabilisers. Almond Breeze and Alpro are the culprits that contains just 2% almonds, which makes me wonder how it can be called almond milk at all. They're also probably the two most popular brands in the UK, however they both contain a colourful array of stabilisers and emulsifiers. Unfortunately the regulations on ingredients labels in the US don't make it necessary for producers to state the almond percentage, so it's often difficult to even find out the almond content of some products. When I am buying almond milk, I try and use Rude Health which is full of good, whole ingredients and free from artificial, refined nasties. It also doesn't contain any preservatives, other than 1% sunflower oil (which I think can be forgiven!)

But ultimately, if you want straight almond milk, it's best to make your own. And, at the £2.50 you'll pay for the more expensive brands in the shops, the DIY method can actually end up being a lot more inexpensive. It gives a much more flavourful result and uses only three ingredients. As well as this, the simple recipe gives you some rein to make whichever kind of nut milk you like, for example, cashew nuts and brazil nuts work really well in the place of blanched almonds. You can also add in your favourite flavours, such as a dash of cinnamon or vanilla, as I've used below.

Almond Milk
Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free.

150g Blanched Almonds (soaked in water over night)
750ml Water
1 Vanilla Pod
- If you like your almond milk sweet, you can also add a natural sweetener here, such as agave nectar or honey, to taste.
*Blanched Almonds make the milk much smoother than when using the nut with it's skin on. 

Put all of the ingredients above into a blender until a smooth, milky consistency is reached. In the Vitamix it only takes about 45secs-1 minute on variable 10. If you have a slightly less industrial blender, you may need to get in there with a spatula just to ensure all the almonds are blended nicely. 

You can then put the milk straight in the fridge without straining away any sediment, which of course gives you more nutrients and makes the almond milk really high in fibre. However if you do want to strain it, simply pass the milk through a small sieve or cheesecloth. If you do decide to do this, the finely milled almond left in the sieve/cloth can be dried, kept, and used for baking with!


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