Almond milk is no stranger in my kitchen as I use it almost everyday. The main issue is that I’ve been using the store bought processed kind since I've been too lazy to make my own. This is just nonsense as my roommate makes it every few days so I know what it entails. This weekend I decided to have a go at milking almonds. I soaked my raw almonds in filtered water overnight and then patiently de-skinned them one by one. By the way, the longer the soaking the creamier the milk, and I like mine creamy.
Why Soak Nuts
But there's another, more important reason for soaking nuts, as it releases the natural enzyme inhibitors that prevent the seed from sprouting. When these inhibitors are no longer in the way of our own body’s enzymes we are able to break down the food in our digestive tract and absorb vitamins and minerals from it. Pretty cool stuff if you ask me.
When we don't soak, these enzyme inhibitors can interfere with the function of our digestive and metabolic enzymes. "Anti-nutrients" like phytic acid is responsible for leeching vital nutrients from our body and it blocks the uptake of essential minerals such as calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc. This is why it's very important to soak all nuts, seeds and legumes before ingesting them. More on that at a later date.
Not everyone removes the skin from almonds after soaking, and you don’t have to, as there are definite nutritional benefits in the skin. I like to use the almond pulp to make crackers and they are less fibrous when I remove the skins. Plus, I actually enjoy the almost meditative process of de-skinning these delightful little nuts. It brings back memories as a little girl at the table with my grandmother where we would sort through a pile of black beans and discard any dirt clods or stones hiding amongst them.
Long gone are the days when women would spend quality time showing children and grandchildren their skills in the kitchen so as to pass along recipes and stories which would go down in family history for generations to come. What a lovely tradition to have amongst the women. It’s something I hope to pass down one day to my children and beyond.
1 cup raw almonds
3 cups filtered water
Soak 1 cup of raw almonds in a bowl of filtered water for 8-15 hours. Once the almonds become plump and are without wrinkles, strain water and rinse. Next, squeeze one side of the almond between your pointer finger and thumb until the nut slides free of it’s skin. This is optional. Discard the skin. Place de skinned nuts in a blender with 3 cups filtered water and blend until frothy.
Place nut milk bag in a pitcher or large jar and wring the excess milk out so only the pulp is left. This should create just shy of 4 cups almond milk once your finished. Due to the frothiness made by the aeration from the blender, you should take advantage and serve a latte immediately. Don’t discard the pulp as there are plenty of things that can be made from it. More recipes ideas on this to come. For now, check out my Almond Meal Crackers.