Let's Make Almond Milk Zero-Waste Style

Attention: If you live in California, you know that we're in the midst of a severe drought. To grow a single almond takes 1 gallon of water! I have stopped making almond milk for this explicit reason. I made this batch of almond milk with the remaining almonds I had in my house. If you have some laying around, by all means make almond milk. If not, remember the drought!

Before I transitioned to a zero-waste life, I used almond milk all the time for smoothie making among other things. Unfortunately, non-dairy milks are packaged in the Tetra Pak which only recycles if your area has the facility to do so. We no longer have such a facility here in Santa Cruz, which means that all those Tetra Paks are ending up in the landfill. You might have noticed that milk, soup, non-dairy milks, vegetable and meat stocks, and many other products are packaged in a Tetra Pak.

What you will need: A cheesecloth or fine mesh nut milk bag, a strainer, a mason jar, a blender and a measuring cup. Feel free to adjust the recipe to the amount you wish to make.

Ingredients: 

1 cups raw organic almonds

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2 cups filtered water 

The Steps:

1. Begin by placing 1 cup of almonds in bowl and fill with water until it covers the almonds. You will need to soak the almonds overnight-- the longer you let them soak the creamier the milk will be. I have let them soak for close to 2 days. You can cover the bowl and refrigerate it if you would like; I leave mine on the counter uncovered. 

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2. After you have soaked your sweet little almonds, drain the water off, rinse the them in cold water, and then drain once more. It's important to drain off the water from the nights soak as it contains phytic acid. Phytic acid is present in legumes, grains, nuts, and seeds, which is why it is helpful to soak your beans and grains, and in this case your almonds, before you eat them. 

3.The next step is to combine the almonds and water in the blender and liquify them. I blend for 2-3 minutes. The almond mixture should look creamy and opaque. 

4. You're almost done! Now place your strainer over a bowl or over a bottle. Line your strainer with cheesecloth and begin to pour your almond mixture into it. ( I just use cheesecloth without a strainer)

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5. Gather the cheese cloth in your hands and press all the liquid out. You will be left with almond meal. Set this aside and continue this staining process until you have extracted all the almond milk. 

6. The almond milk will need to be refrigerated and it will only last up to 2 days. I keep some raw, and then I pasteurize some so that it lasts longer. You can also sweeten it if you desire. 

7. This is the most important part! You will be left with a lot of almond meal, and there are many ways to re-use it so that you are not creating unnecessary waste. If you don't use it--please compost or take to your local food waste. I make energy bars and cookies with the left over almond meal. You can also spread it out on a sheet, let it dry, and then freeze it to use for baking later. 

Making nut milk is simple and delicious. Enjoy your almond milk with granola, in a smoothie, in your coffee or tea, or just by itself!

I'm so grateful for almonds and I hope for rain so that I can eat more of them one day.