Some of you know, but maybe some of you don’t know, that I used to work at Trader Joe’s. I stopped working there about five months ago when I moved too far away.
There are still some things I miss dearly about being a Crew Member, such as on-duty wine and cheese tastings, having a blast with my coworkers once we closed the doors for the night, getting to taste every new product that found its way into the company, and interacting with the customers.
One of my favorite things about the customers was their excitement for Trader Joe’s products. Some would bring me copies of their favorite recipes and in return, I would bring them copies of mine or quickly jot one down on receipt paper as we waited for the transaction to process.
I got the following recipe from a customer over a year ago, but I never believed him when he would tell me how easy it was to make almond milk at home. Well now I’m kicking myself for not making it sooner because it really is as simple as soak, blend, strain. The end.
Not to mention it tastes SO much better. It’s incredibly fresh tasting and leaves a brightness on your tongue that I assure you you’ve never experienced from even the best store-bought variety.
Homemade Almond Milk
What you’ll need:
- 1 cup raw almonds with skins on
- 4 cups filtered water, to blend
- 2 cups water, to soak
- flavorings or sweetener to taste, optional
- 1 large jar or other airtight container
- In a medium-sized bowl, soak the almonds in 2 cups water for at least 1 hour or up to 8 hours.
- Drain the almonds. They will look nice and plump
3. Place the almonds in a blender and cover with 4 cups of filtered water. (This is where I wished I had a Vitamix, but even a cheap blender will get the job done).
4. With the blender on high, blend for about 1 minute until the almonds are finely chopped. At this point, you may choose to add sweetener or extracts (vanilla would be nice), but I opted to leave them out.
5. Once blended, place a doubled sheet of cheesecloth halfway into your jar and fasten with a rubber band.
6. Slowly pour the almond milk mixture into the cheesecloth, making sure to get all of the processed almonds in there as well.
7. You may find that you need to strain the mixture in a couple of batches. That’s fine, just make sure you let the crushed almonds strain for an hour to get all of the milk from them.
You can actually save the almond “pulp” and use it in recipes. There’s more on that below.
8. Once fully strained, seal the jar and store in the fridge for a few days. Pure almond milk will spoil much faster than the store-bought variety, so I suggest a “smell-test” after a couple of days…if it lasts that long, which mine surely won’t.
At this point, you’ve got homemade almond milk!!
Separation is natural, so give your milk a little shake before using it. My proportions made enough almond milk to fill this entire jar to the top, about 1 quart (32 oz.)
The best word I can use to describe the flavor of this would be FRESH!!! It’s not at all bitter, but slightly sweet and it tastes much more like fresh almonds than the brands I’m used to.
Enjoy it ice-cold with an Ultra Fudgy, Oil-Free Brownie or poured over your favorite cereal.
I admit, I had a bowl of cereal with my fresh almond milk for dinner last night, and then another bowl at 2am when I woke up starving!! That’s what I get for eating cereal for dinner.
I hope you’ll give this a whirl in your blender (puns always intended around here). 😉
A quick note about the leftover almond pulp:
You can spread it out on a sheet pan, and let it dry in your oven to make almond meal.
All you do is place the sheet pan in the oven with just the light turned on and let it sit for 6 to 8 hours. If you don’t have an oven light, turn it on the lowest temperature and watch it closely so it does not burn.
Once it’s dried, whir it through the food processor once more to achieve a finer consistency. Viola! Almond meal to use in cookies or as breading. Be creative!
Question of the day: Do you shop at Trader Joe’s? If so, what are your favorite item(s)? I love their sweet potato tortilla chips, mediterranean hummus, both varieties of the gluten-free granola, and the multigrain pancake and baking mix for weekend morning waffles and a killer topping for a fruit cobbler!!