Weekly Food Prep Series: Almond Milk
This blog post marks the first post in the Weekly Food Prep Series. If you recently were able to sign up for the newsletter and get the free shopping guide, you were able to get a comprehensive plant-based whole foods shopping list. When I do my shopping, I keep in mind some foods that I would like to prepare for the week (often on a Sunday afternoon) made from whole foods. These foods might be sold packaged at stores containing additives such as sweeteners, hydrogenated/refined oils that contain trans fats (vegetable oil, canola oil, among others), and preservatives. This series serves to provide readers with recipes to create weekly easily prepared foods to enjoy without having to purchase the packaged foods at the store with the additives. So, I hope you enjoy!
Almond milk is a wonderful staple in a plant-based diet. If you need a tree nut-free recipe, stay tuned; one will be posted soon!
Almonds, almonds, almonds. There's a bunch I need to say about almonds.
If you live near a health food store or co-op market, see if the shop carries raw, unpasteurized almonds in the bulk section. These almonds will probably be imported from Italy or Spain. If you do not see unpasteurized almonds, see if the manager can stock the almonds. You can also google where to purchase unpasteurized almonds that can be shipped right to you. I have ordered imported, unpasteurized almonds in the past.
Why are raw, unpasteurized almonds desirable? The USDA regulated all almonds to be pasteurized. Although that process gets rid of pathogens, the high heat of the pasteurization kills some of the vitamins and phytochemicals that are heat-sensitive and lowers some of the mineral content. Consuming the most nutrient-dense food possible is great, but if you cannot find these, unsalted, non-roasted almonds will do.
Almonds, whether pasteurized or not, contain anti-nutrients on the exterior of the nut, known as enzyme-inhibitors. The enzyme-inhibitors can be removed by soaking the nuts in filtered or spring water to allow for better digestion and assimilation of the nutrients.
1 cup of unpasteurized almonds
1 3/4 cup filtered/spring water
4 medjool dates
1 tsp pure vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean
Nut-Milk Bag (<---- In case you would like to order high-quality nylon or hemp nut-milk bags, click on the link for VT Fiddleheads. I do not profit off of promoting this particular business, but I am happy to spread the word because the shop is a local Vermont company. To see my podcast with the owner of the shop, Linda Mahns, please click here)
Soak one cup of unpasteurized almonds overnight or for at least seven hours in 2 cups of filtered/spring water. Afterwards, discard soak water and rinse almonds.
Soak medjool dates for at least 30 minutes, if possible to soften the dates.
Add the soaked and rinsed almonds, 1 and 3/4 cup of filtered/spring water, soaked dates with their soak water, and vanilla into the blender. Blend on highest setting until smooth. Put nut-milk bag into pitcher with the top of the bag folded over the edge of the pitcher. Pour almond mixture from blender into the nut-milk bag into the pitcher. Grab the nut-milk bag with the blended almonds and squeeze the bag over the liquid in the pitcher so that all of the liquid is squeezed out of the bag. Refrigerate in an air-tight container such as a mason jar.
This fresh almond milk should last for 2-3 days.
What should you do with the leftover almonds? Well I have a recipe coming up in an upcoming blog post! Stay tuned!