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Saturday, August 18, 2012

Raw Almond Milk, French Press Style

For years I've shied away from making my own almond milk. For one thing, I'm not much of a milk (of any kind) user, but it's the straining step in particular that always seemed like too much trouble.

Okay, full disclosure. The "nut mylk bag" thing really turns me off. You know what I'm talking about: the reusable fine mesh bag, made of nylon or hemp cloth, that you have to suspend over some type of receptacle, pour your blended almonds into, and squeeze with your hands, again and again?

Not that I mind milking things. I've milked a few cows and goats in my time, for instance, and quite enjoyed it. But the cumbersomeness of the nut mylk bag, the slimy factor, the questionable hygiene, the clean up? No thanks. I do own a nut mylk bag. But truth be told, I've never used it. Not even once!

I've always loved the idea of making my own fresh almond milk, though. And lately I've been dreaming of an almond milk green smoothie, say, with bananas, dates, and comfrey added - yum! I know I could use boxed almond milk, but that doesn't really appeal to me either: too dead and processed.

So, it was with great excitement that I learned, from fabulous N.Y.C. Food Coach Dana James, of a new, bag-free option for homemade almond milk production: the French Press method.

Mais oui - but of course! Why didn't I think of that?

Using a French Press instead of a nut mylk bag to strain the pulp from your blended almonds-and-water mixture is as straightforward and easy as it sounds. I tried it for the first time last night, and I'm sold. You will be, too. Here's the basic recipe:

Raw Almond Milk, French Press Style

1/2 cup raw, organic almonds
water to soak
3 cups fresh, cold water
pinch of sea salt
1 teaspoon honey, maple syrup or agave

Soak almonds eight hours or overnight. Drain and rinse, then add to high speed blender with 3 cups water, sea salt and sweetener. Blend on high for one to two minutes. Pour into French Press, cover and depress plunger verrry slowly. This will take some effort and patience, but go slowly; liquid may gush out if you plunge too hard or fast. Pour fully-pressed almond milk into a clean glass jar and try to use within a few days for maximum freshness: this is a raw and living food!*

All mixed up and ready to go - love that foam!

Post-plunging. Observe strained almond pulp at base:

Serving Suggestion (I had this for dessert, but could be breakfast, too):
Hail Merry Grawnola, Holy Crap Cereal and Jungle Peanuts topped with Fresh-Pressed Almond Milk

* The Sad Truth About "Raw" Almonds
It's been a challenge to find really raw almonds since the almond pasteurization laws went into effect in 2007. Almost all storebought organic almonds are now "pasteurized" with steam, while non-organic raw almonds may be treated with surface chemicals or radiation (scary). It is still possible to purchase unpasteurized, truly raw almonds, however. Californians can buy direct from farmer in quantities of less than 100 pounds, and some online vendors carry them, but the cost is often high. I offer economically priced, really raw almonds through my Community Superfoods shop. Local readers, please email me if you're interested and I'll hook you up!


16 comments:

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diana allen, ms, cns said...

Thank you for visiting Eat to Evolve!

Erica said...

Great site!! will def. save you as 1 of my favorites!! I was just making my own almond milk when I decided to find a way on line that would be easier to press out the milk. using the dispossible cheese cloths is killing my hands. I have it 2x per week to make sure is extra fresh. I have a 17mo old baby. I had no idea they pausterized nuts or even used radiation, so scarry. we buy ours at WholeFoods. God bless, Erica

diana allen, ms, cns said...

I'm so glad you stopped by, Erica! Thank you for your comments. I hope you and your baby will enjoy making and drinking many fresh, delicious batches of this low-fuss almond milk in good health, always... <3 diana

Lady of the Woods said...

Found your blog by pure chance and soooooo glad I did! I am following. suggestion: add the feature "sign up for email notification" so we can receive in our email box new posts as they come in for those like me who need healthy inspiration to show up in case I forget to check in :D. But I LOVE THIS FRENCH PRESS NUT MYLK IDEA! I have bags of almonds for making mylk and haven't done it. And I'm finding so many wonderful uses for my French Press and I adore this one! Can't wait to try it now. thank you! Fairy Cafe and Cottage, Lady of the Woods.

diana allen, ms, cns said...

Thank you for your sweet comment, Lady, and your follow-by-email suggestion. I added the feature up at the top of the blog & hope you'll sign up to stay posted on future yumminess. In joy, Diana :~)

Lady of the Woods said...

Thanks for visiting my blog! I am still star struck on your site LOL and I have my almonds soaking, won't be ready til tonight but my French Press is ready. I must take my time and go through everything here. I've been eating a bit too much comfort foods and got off organic and light greens eating even my own organic garden foods, but this blog will definitely set me straight with all these posts and pics, its all I need to get me on the right path again! Thanks for doing this! blessings, lady

Waldyr Oliveira Jr. said...

I've been making almond milk for almost a year now. Ironically it didn't have to do with it being healthier than milk, but in my previous living situation I had very limited fridge space and a gallon of milk was taking too much space. Anyway I was just thinking about using a french press rather than the nutbag (which is a hassle). So i Googled almond milk in a french press and got my confirmation on your site.

Tomorrow I'm bringing back my french Press from the office.

diana allen, ms, cns said...

Most excellent! Love this. Happy pressing, Waldyr :-)

Wendy Fundora said...

I've been drinking almond milk for about 8 months now but I love the idea of making my own. I don't own a French press but I will today! Thank you for sharing and I love your site.

diana allen, ms, cns said...

Thank you, Wendy! Enjoy your new French Press. I also use mine for making herb tea with loose herbs, in place of a teapot sometimes. Looks pretty and self-strains. So versatile! :)

Earthen Delight said...

I agree wholeheartedly with what you are saying here, but are you sure those almonds have not been steam-pasteurized? Most US almonds are. I get raw, organic almond please visit my site.Almond Exporter

diana allen, ms, cns said...

Thanks for your note, and for sharing your website. I've posted about the raw almond dilemma on my blog before and get my almonds from Ultimate Superfoods where they sell Italian sourced, truly raw almonds. Once in a while there's a bitter almond in there - but on the whole, sweet and tasty!

Carol Jardim said...

Hi, Diana! I'm so glad I found this post. I just bought a french press and always wanted to make my own almond milk (but never had the patience to do it the "old style").

I'm just so jealous of my beautiful new french press! Any chance it might break, clog or anything with almonds? :(

Thanks!
- Carol

--
www.raizdegengibre.com

diana allen, ms, cns said...

Hi Carol ~ Thank you for visiting my blog! Love your website, too. I wouldn't worry about breaking your French Press or even clogging it with almond pulp...just be gentle and use a scrub brush to clean out the fine mesh after each use. Happy pressing!

Enrique Rivera-Cortes said...

Well I tried it today with a Kona French Press I got from Amazon.. and after about 30 seconds, it was like a hit a wall of almond pulp and the plunger wouldn't go any further. I ended spilling the almond milk. Has anyone else had this happen to them??