Simple Homemade Almond Milk

by Gena on August 22, 2009

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Happy weekend, guys!

One of the most frequently asked questions I get from new clients is, “what about milk?”

This usually demands a multi-part answer. If the client is asking whether or not it’s OK to have some dairy once in a while, I’ll need to listen to her level of transition and get a sense of her goals. I’m no great fan of cow’s milk dairy, but I certainly believe that there can be a place for organic (if not raw and organic) dairy in a transitional diet.

If she’s looking to reduce dairy in her diet, and she’s asking what kind of milk substitute I recommend, the answer is always the same: nut milk. Yes, soymilk is an option, too: I certainly recommend it over cow’s milk dairy. But it’s heavily processed, and most women find that it can lead to bloating and gas  – in addition to the fact that many women (myself included) like to take it easy with soy.

And when there are such delicious things as hemp and almond milk in the world, why bother with soymilk?

Nut milk is heavenly. It’s sweet, mild, and gentle on the belly. It’s light enough to serve as a neutral base in smoothies and soups — unlike soy milk, which tends to have a distinctive aftertaste — yet pleasantly sweet. Best of all, it digests seamlessly — unlike conventional dairy, which so many among us (especially those of you who are lactose intolerant) find difficult to stomach.

There are a number of good brands of nut milk on the market. I enjoy Blue Diamond, which is a good value and a nice, sweet taste. Pacific Foods makes a wonderful variety of almond and hemp milks (I like the vanilla flavor). And my current favorite is a brand called That’s Nut Milk, which is as close to homemade as you can find on the markety.

But truth be told, there’s very little reason to spend money on a store bought brand. Nut milk is one of the very easiest raw food products to make at home! Sure, if you don’t have the energy or time, a store bought brand is fine. But I think you’ll find that investing just a little effort in homemade nut milk pays off in a big way. You can adjust flavors, sweetness, and best of all, you can feel a sense of pride in having created your nut milk from scratch. And if you purchase nuts from the bulk bin at your local health food store, you’ll also be able to save money.

Here’s what it takes to make nut milk:

Almonds

Water

Sweetener/flavorings if desired

A blender (regular or high speed)

Yes. That’s it. And there’s barely any recipe to remember — only a ratio. It takes one cup of nuts to four parts water to make a batch of nutmilk. To this, you add the seasonings you like: for plain nutmilk, add a dash of salt, no more. For vanilla almond milk (my usual) add a few dates and a teaspoon of vanilla. And so on.

Tonight, I was in the mood for some vanilla almond milk. So I followed my favorite recipe:

Vanilla Almond Milk (yields 2-3 cups or so)

1 cup almonds, soaked 8-12 hours beforehand if it’s possible
4 cups water
6 dates or 1/4 cup agave
1 tsp pure vanilla extract (or the contents of a vanilla bean)

Procedure:

Begin by soaking your nuts in some water, if you can. Eight hours is ideal, but an hour is fine if that’s what you’ve got!

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Next, rinse off your almonds and discard the soak water. Add the almonds and the other ingredients (water, dates, vanilla) to a regular blender or a VitaMix. Blend them on high speed:

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Let it go for a minute or so.

At this point, you can serve the nut milk exactly as is — you’ll simply have to give it a good shake before pouring!

If you prefer a smooth texture, though, you’ll want to give it a strain. To do this, you’ll need a large container, and some cheesecloth. Or if you plan to make nut milk on a regular basis, go ahead and invest in a nut milk bag!

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They’re cheap, conveniant, and can be used again and again (unlike cheesecloth) to strain nut milks and soups. You can purchase them from One Lucky Duck and other raw stores on the web.

To use, simply place the the nut milk bag or cheesecloth over the mouth of your container, leaving a generous overhang and allowing the strainer to droop about halfway down into the container. I used a large mason jar as my container:

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To fasten the bag/cheesecloth in place, use a rubberband around the mouth of the container:

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Next, pour all the almond milk into the container, so that it drips through the cheesecloth and into the container below:

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Take off, do some errands, read a good book, watch a movie, or whatever. Within forty-five minutes (or, ideally, an hour or two), all of the liquid will have been strained, and you’ll be left with almond pulp, like so:

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You can use this for raw cookies, for nut pates, or simply as a nut-butter-like treat.

Meanwhile, you’ll have three or so cups of fresh, delicious almond milk, ready to enjoy in smoothies, in soups, or plain! It should last about 2-3 days in the fridge. I’ve seen it last longer — if it tastes at all sour to you, you’ll know its time has come.

Tonight, I opted for a classic treatment:

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Cause sometimes we all just need some cookies and (nut)milk.

Let’s see that again:

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If you’re wondering, those are the amazing raweos! Introduced to me by Melissa, these are now among my very favorite raw treats :)

There are tons of ways to enjoy nutmilk. You can make it with cashews (for a super neutral taste), with hemp seeds (protein rich and distinctive), macadamias, or pecans. And you can adjust seasonings to taste. My favorite varities?

Chocolate nut milk: To the recipe for vanilla almond milk, add 2 tbsp raw cacao nibs or unsweetened cocoa powder

Cinnamon milk: To the recipe for vanilla almond milk, add 1 tsp cinnamon and a dash of nutmeg

Chai milk: To the recipe for vanilla almond milk, add 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon garam masala, and 1/4 tsp. nutmeg

Sugar-free vanilla milk: In place of the dates, add stevia to taste

So…what are you guys waiting for?! Stop dropping pennies on store bought nut milks, and get blending!! Once you experience the joy of homemade almond (and other nut) milks, you’ll never want to go back. Give the procedure a shot, and let me know how it goes!

Happy weekend to you all.

xo

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{ 191 comments… read them below or add one }

deborarh July 8, 2012 at 9:34 pm

Just a week or two ago I’ve decided to go raw for health reasons, and now that I have, I’ve noticed a difference in how I feel overall. Not sluggish, not bloated, not congested… I’ve made a few recipes but I am looking for other ways to “create” in the kitchen.
Thanks so much for the pics and the step-by-step instructions. I’m excited! I never thought I could drink milk again. I plan on making my milk now (thanks to you!)

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New2NutMilk July 10, 2012 at 5:08 am

I just made the basic recipe with nuts, water, dates and vanilla and it’s quite good. The texture, however, is not what I’m used to. How would you recommend making it more creamy?

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France August 13, 2012 at 11:54 pm

What I’ve been doing is using a bit more almonds, so 1 1/2 perhaps to 4 cups water, that should make it creamier, play with it until you like what you get. It’ll never be as creamy as cow’s milk though.

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Quizamo August 25, 2012 at 8:55 pm

I use three cups of water per one cup of dry almonds. It will thicken after it chills. A little touch of stevia or agave nector will impart a bit more sweetness and mimick cow’s milk a bit more. Good luck!

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Jillian September 24, 2012 at 5:34 pm

Some recipes suggest lecithin – I am not sure how that falls on the raw scale.

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Sam August 13, 2013 at 12:43 pm

I think using almond butter could make for a creamy almond milk

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Hilary October 1, 2013 at 4:46 pm

Almond butter can make a creamy almond milk. it is so easy to make without a blender. When I was at a fairly remote cabin, I ran out of soy milk. This recipe is one I found in “Vegan a go – go” by Sarah Kramer – a Canadian
2 tablespoons of almond butter to a cup of water. I had an empty jar, into which I put the latter ingredients; I then shook the jar ( screw lid on very tightly!). I had it without sweetener and added it to my muesli and fruit, and it worked very well. Makes approx. 1 1/4 cups. Recipe called for blender, but with no power, it was so simple in a jar. Use within 24 hours.

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Kitty December 4, 2013 at 3:23 pm

if you use water that’s been boiled and cooled, and a sterilized jar you can make your nut milk last longer. I never make a recipe that I hope to keep in the fridge without using these simple hints so that my recipe will last as long as possible. Also for frugality I sometimes will bring something like nutmilk to a simmer and hold it there for five minutes to kill any germs so that I can extend the shelf life another 3 to five days. it doesn’t have to boil to kill off the germs. The commercial nut milks are boiled so it’s no stretch to boil you own creation and not let it go to waste.

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Anonymous March 3, 2014 at 10:55 am

Thanks for that tip! Do you boil it as soon as you make it or can you wait a couple of days until you know it might be going off. I make him almond date milk-nice combination. I considered adding vitamin D capsules because I think vitamin E is a natural preservative…

Judy Griffin July 20, 2012 at 3:49 pm

Hi Gena,

I just love your recipe collection here and look forward to trying them. Would love to know how to make the Raweos but the link doesn’t work. Can you please post or send this recipe. Thank you!

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Gena July 21, 2012 at 9:39 pm

I bought those! I’m not sure if the brand is still around, but try googling it….

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Lara July 31, 2012 at 3:59 pm

There is one nondairy milk available in Turkey: a bland soy milk that is prohibitive in cost and contains artificial flavors and other chemicals.
The dates found in Turkey, however, are magnificent, and so was my almond milk! I’m looking forward to baking with it. Thank you for the post!

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lyn e August 14, 2012 at 4:48 pm

I used my food processor to grind the nuts. It took longer to strain… but yeilded a much creamier textured milk. Thanks!

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Shelly September 4, 2012 at 6:41 pm

Using 1/2 – 1 TB of soy lecithin granules will assist with creaminess in raw nut milk.

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Donna September 27, 2012 at 12:12 pm

GREAT tasting recipes! I just made some today and even the kids love it sweetened with dates. I tried 3 different types of cloth to strain the pulp out, and each time they clogged up and it took forever to drain through.Is this normal? Suggestions on cloth? I went to using a tea sieve and spoon to clear the screen and it works much faster but leaves in some fine pulp. Also I was wondering what do you do with the excess pulp? I would hate to throw it out, it tastes good, and I was thinking I could make a merangue type cookie out of it…I’ll get back to you with the recipe if it works out! Any other suggestions on using the pulp?

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Rachael March 2, 2014 at 7:16 pm

Hi Donna, it’s a late response but I just read in another blog that after straining the pulp out, you can put in the oven at the lowest temp, with the door cracked, and dry out the pulp to use as almond meal/flour. I am about to try it tomorrow!

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Tan October 7, 2012 at 9:01 am

I’m interested in raw food but didn’t have a chance making any raw food yet.
I’m planing to do an almond milk as my first raw food drink but have heard that raw almond is toxic.Is it true ?is it okay to eat it raw?
Thank you

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Hilary October 1, 2013 at 4:51 pm

Almonds are eaten raw all the time – not toxic at all; although cooked almonds are great with oatmeal – cooked with the oats. Soaking them can be benificial, as it removes something acidic, which is only a concern if you have an allergic reaction to the smallest amount of acid – not common as far as I know.

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Anonymous February 8, 2014 at 10:16 am

Almonds sold in US stores aren’t raw, due to health/safety laws, even bough they’re often labeled raw. They are heat/chemical treated. Some farmers have licenses to sell small punts of purely raw almonds but you must but them in person rather than online. You can search for more info online.

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Melba October 13, 2012 at 3:59 pm

This was a very easy to do recipe . I also used my food processor , then strained the milk through a reusable produce bag that I had bought at a local health food store .It looks exactly like the nut bag in your picture .

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Steve Sensenig October 21, 2012 at 10:04 pm

Just tried this recipe (I used the agave) for the first time tonight. It’s still straining, but I couldn’t resist tasting some of what had already strained. It tastes so good and so fresh, and I’m sure that it will taste even better after it’s been refrigerated and gotten cold.

Thanks for this, and for this website. We just recently discovered this site and look forward to trying many recipes from it in the days/weeks to come!

steve :)

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Gretchen October 26, 2012 at 10:32 am

Do you rinse the almonds that have been soak for eight hours before blending?

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Anonymous December 5, 2012 at 2:09 pm

Yes, I would definitely rinse the off after soaking. I always rinse my sprouted almonds, as they accumulate a white foamy substance on their surface after soaking.

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Anonymous December 5, 2012 at 2:08 pm

Your Raweos link is broken.

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Arlene December 11, 2012 at 4:51 pm

Does the water used to soak the almonds need to be drained & then new water added before putting the almonds & water in a blender?
Thanks.

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Green Goddess January 7, 2013 at 9:24 am

Hi there – your link for the nut milk bag is returning an error – here is the correct link – and thanks for the recipe! :)

http://www.oneluckyduck.com/products/nut-milk-bag

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Jo January 20, 2013 at 5:35 am

I’m making this today and am super excited!! The almonds have been soaking all night. During an Ayurvedic nutrition course I learned that the skins of almonds are toxic and you should always remove them, so I’ll be doing that first!
Much thanks and love from Amsterdam – Holland!

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Jessica January 24, 2013 at 12:48 pm

You forgot to mention to rinse the almonds after they are soaked. This is an important step because the almonds release inhibitors while they soak, which are very hard to digest!

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CeCe August 16, 2013 at 7:02 pm

I don’t know where you guys/gals are looking but her second step – it’s literally the NEXT step is to rinse the soaked beans!!! She did not forget to mention it, you overlooked it in your reading. :)

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Danielle January 24, 2013 at 11:05 pm

You did not add a VERY important step!!! Make sure the almonds are rinsed off after soaking before you blend in vitamix :)

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frances amaah January 28, 2013 at 10:53 am

how long does homemade nut milk for?

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frances amaah January 28, 2013 at 10:55 am

how long does homemade nut milk KEEP for?

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Gena January 28, 2013 at 10:36 pm

A few days in the fridge.

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Robin M Powers January 28, 2013 at 4:15 pm

I make almond milk on a regular basis. And when I want it to be extra yummy I use 3/4 Tsp of vanilla and a 1/4 tsp of ground cardamon.

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Lara February 8, 2013 at 12:21 pm

What is the calorie content roughly for the no sugar almond milk (sweetened with stevia)?

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STRIXO February 16, 2013 at 2:00 pm

I broke down how much it costs to make my own almond milk with 5 lbs of store bought bulk Raw Organic Whole Shelled Almond (ROWSA) and here’s what I got:

- 1 lbs = 3 cups. (That’s a conservative figure); 5 lbs = 15 cups
- I make a single batch with 1 cup of ROWSA at the time and get 6 cups of almond milk using this recipe:

1 cup almonds, soaked and rinsed (Up to 24 hours in Fridge)
2.5 Tsp Maple syrup (or 6 pitted dates)
6 cups water (you may use only 5 for thicker milk)
Pinch sea salt
1 tbs vanilla extract (optional)

Blend almond with only 2 cups of water to produce fine almond meal. Then filter with Cheesecloth or create your own filter bag made of fine fabric.

- This makes 90 cups of almond milk;
- There’s 45 pints in 90 cups;
- Each store bought almond milk cartons is 2 pints; 45 pints/2 = 22.5 cartons
- So you’ll need to buy 22.5 cartons at $3.00 (Also a conservative figure) to get the same quantity of homemade almond milk; 22.5 cartons @ $3.00 = $67.50
- The cost of 5 lbs of ROWSA is $37.50 (I get mine online at Azurestandard.com)
- Even at $10.00/lbs ($50) it’s still a good and clean deal! No Carrageenan, additive of all sort and waste…speaking of which HERE’S ONE DELICIOUS WAY TO USE YOUR ALMOND MEAL (I dry mine in a toaster oven @ 175 F for 25 minutes moving the meal around every 10 min.):

DRY INGREDIENTS:

-3 cups (450g) of almond meal
-2 tsps baking soda
-1/2 tsp salt

WET INGREDIENTS:

-1/4 cup (60ml) coconut oil melted
-4 large eggs

-2 very ripe bananas, mashed
-3 tsps vanilla
-3 tsps cinnamon
-1/2 cup (50g) of walnut, chopped
-1/2 cup of carob chips (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350C(175F)
2. Combine DRY INGREDIENTS in a small bowl
3. In separate bowl mix together coconut oil and eggs
4. Mix the flour combination into oil and eggs, stir until well blended.
5. Add mashed bananas, vanilla and cinnamon. Fold in walnuts and carob chips.
6. Pour batter into a greased loaf pan. Bake for 25-30 min. or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Enjoy!

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barb April 14, 2013 at 2:32 pm

Thank you. I was just led here because I learned about Carrageenan — I am kind of mad to know that this is put in our so-called healthy food. I have been drinking more than I want to have – -now I will make my own and save money!

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kate March 20, 2013 at 7:20 pm

is it okay if i let the almonds soak for almost 24 hrs

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Gena March 21, 2013 at 10:16 pm

Definitely. Just rinse them after.

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Emma March 21, 2013 at 3:07 pm

I got too impatient and did this after about 6hours, my blender is a little cheap and feeble but it seemed to do nicely, the almond meal was a little larger though i’m wondering if I can try and grind it again on its own. The milk was a little watery for me but then i’ll just reduce the water next time, otherwise it is absolutely stellar and i’ll never buy storebought again :) thankyou for showing me the light !

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Gena March 21, 2013 at 10:15 pm

Hooray! Glad it turned out OK.

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Jens March 31, 2013 at 10:24 pm

Gonna try this one tonight. Thank you.

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Jessica April 1, 2013 at 11:29 am

Can you freeze this?

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Gena April 2, 2013 at 8:30 am

I have not tried it, Jessica, but please feel free to try and let me know how it goes. I can’t imagine why it wouldn’t work.

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Jens April 2, 2013 at 11:34 am

So I tried making this the other night, it did get a little watery. I did not soak the almonds, will soaking them make it less watery or should i simply use less water? Thanks

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Gena April 4, 2013 at 1:54 pm

Soaking will vastly improve your results, Jens! Definitely try it.

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Jens April 5, 2013 at 12:39 pm

Had them soaking over night this time and that definitely made a huge difference. Thank you.

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barb April 14, 2013 at 2:29 pm

I just learned that carrageenan, a common ingredient in some almond milks such as Pacific Foods and Blue Diamond have some serious well-documented health concerns. There is a movement to try to get it removed from organic, and there are brands out there without carageenen. FYI. Thanks for the recipe and for posting this info so we all can stay on top of our heath– the carrageenan led me here to make my own.

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september May 28, 2013 at 11:27 am

Could you make quite a bit and have just enough to keep in the fridge, and freeze the rest? My boys are 4 and drink milk like crazy! I want something better for them, but I would have to make it every other day. Just trying to make it easier on myself.

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Sharon July 15, 2013 at 12:27 am

I am getting very close to trying this recipe! It seems like a win-win kind of recipe. Those cookies look amazing as well!

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Shayna July 30, 2013 at 3:15 pm

Your post mentions only needing to soak for an hour (if that’s all the time you have). I assume you are using raw almonds but now I’m confused as to how long almonds should be soaked for in order to ensure they are free of the phytic acid and other enzyme inhibitors that are supposed to be harder on the gut. Is an hour all it takes to remove them and the rest of the soak time (when recipes call for 8-12 hours or more) simply for texture? Thank you! Loving your recipes.

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A "Typical" Raw Vegan September 9, 2013 at 8:53 pm

Hi all- just because something is posted on a nice blog doesn’t mean you should abide by its information. A couple things you should know about milk substitutes- soy… is hardly ever a healthful option. It is hardly ever truly organic and true non-gmo soy is quite difficult to find. About 90% or more of soy is genetically modified, so although it may be labeled otherwise, it’s best to stay away. In most commercial grocery stores you will not find truly raw almond milk or cows milk. Cows milk is either pasteurized or homogenized unless found otherwise by direct farmers or even farmers markets. You will not find truly raw almonds in most commercial or organic grocery stores period. Almonds are either irradiated, steamed or dry roasted stripping the nut of its nutrients to begin with, although they may be labeled raw. And honestly, I’m a vegan as of now but there is no perfect diet, not even the raw vegan diet is the key to health, so do with what you can, stay away from processed store bought milks of any kind, cow’s, soy OR almond. Raw cow’s milk or nut mylk is where you should be investing your money if interested in keeping a “milk” in your diet. Be gentle with yourself, and food is fun and interesting, especially raw food once you’ve entered its fad, but ask yourself if lately it’s been front and center of your thoughts above all, and if it is, well that should tell you enough. Enjoy life, eat to live not live to eat.. it’s a way of eating not an area or excuse for you to obsess over. Be well and live long Namaste ~

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A.Sx September 27, 2013 at 2:25 am

I often take the skin off the almond nut before making my milk to give it that real milk look, what’s the advantage of leaving the skin in.
Thanks to all the other contributors for all your cool tips.

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trude sargeant February 6, 2014 at 12:56 pm

Good question!! What is the advantage of leaving the skin in?? Does anybody know?? I do know the DISADVANTAGE of the skin. Pythic acid. That does not come out with soaking. It needs to be neutralized with e.g. tea spoon of lemon juice. Too much Pythic acid makes it difficult to absorb vitamins and minerals. It is part of the skin of nuts, grains and seeds. Not all have it. Wheat is the worst. Buckwheat has none. (look it up on the net if you want to know more) What is the point of eating healthy food but you cannot absorb the goodness because you have too much Pythic acid. By the way, anybody thought about growing your own almonds? Easy to grow and very pretty blossoms. Certainly no rubbish in your homegrown homemade almond milk. ;-)

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trude sargeant February 6, 2014 at 12:58 pm

Phytic acid – who needs spelling corrections.

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Jane October 16, 2013 at 8:58 am

I use the almond pulp from making the milk to make energy snacks. To the pulp from 1 cup of almonds used for milk, I add 8 oz of raw almond butter or peanut butter (I use all organic), one cup of uncooked oatmeal, one cup shredded coconut, 1/2 c giant raisins and 1/2 c raw pistachios (I buy nuts and fruits from Braga Farms in California) I add 1/4 Mexican vanilla, a pinch of chipolte flakes, one tablespoon cocoa powder (unsweetened). I mix with a fork or pastry blender, roll in walnut size balls and store in freezer. These make great desserts and energy snacks

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Jane October 16, 2013 at 9:05 am

Sorry – the measure for vanilla is 1/4 c

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Cathy October 18, 2013 at 12:53 am

Is this almond milk suitable to make yoghurt out of ? If so, how long do you think it will stay fresh for in the fridge. Thanks

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Susan March 2, 2014 at 12:40 pm

Do you know what nutrients are left behind in the pulp? I’m just wondering if i will lose all the protein from the almonds when the milk is strained, or if the pulp is more fiber and carbs….thanks!

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Inimbi March 2, 2014 at 9:08 pm

The “raweos” page doesn’t seem to exist anymore. Is there anywhere else I can find the recipe? Thanks :)

Excited to try making nut milk for the first time! Just waiting for the nut milk bag to arrive.

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