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How to Milk an Almond (fresh homemade almond milk, easy)

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Fresh raw almond milk is delicious, healthy, unprocessed, and economical. There is no waste, no unrecyclable plastic-lined tetra-pak boxes or cartons to put in landfills and drink BPA out of, and this tastes much, much better than storebought. The resulting almond meal is a free bonus, useful in cookies, crumb crusts, porridge, granolas, or in lieu of bread crumbs in stuffings and dressings, breaded crusts, etc.

To make a half gallon (or 2 liters) of delicious fresh almond milk, you will need:

about a pound (or roughly half a kilo) of fresh raw almonds out of the shell
A blender or food processor
A large bowl to strain into
A mesh bag or cheesecloth for first straining
A reusable fine wire mesh coffee cone or fine muslin bag for second straining
A half gallon or 2 liter refrigerator jug to keep it in
A few pinches of salt (optional)
Sweetener of your choice, to taste (optional)

Step 1: Measure and soak almonds

Picture of Measure and soak almonds
You will be using about 3 cups of water for every 1 cup of raw almonds out of the shell. Soak overnight in enough water to cover with a little water more, to provide room for swelling. Another easier way to measure if you want to make 2 quarts or 2 liters at a time, is that 1 lb (or roughly a half kilo) of raw almonds out of the shell, makes a half gallon or 2 quarts or roughly 2 liters of creamy, rich almond milk when sufficient water is added after squeezing, to equal that volume. You can of course halve the water to make an almond cream suitable as coffee creamer, nog base, cream pies, or other uses where milk may be too thin.
 
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FarisM25 days ago

What make my almond milk goes bad? after 3 days it goes soar for some reason. Some times it last for 6-7 days and sometimes not. Do you know why?

keyman25 months ago

I was recommended to remove the skins (after you soak the almonds) in order to minimize any toxic elements. Also, fresh almond milk has vital oils and other enzymes that will be damaged if you boil it - raw/fresh is best. Adding sugar counteracts the health benefits, perhaps a bit of honey? ; )

megmaine (author)  keyman24 months ago
Variations are always welcome. However, my recipe is raw; boiling isn't part of it. Substitute honey for sugar if you like, but do be aware that honey is primarily composed of glucose and fructose, two simple sugars found abundantly in fruits.

Cane sugar, beet sugar, date sugar, maple sugar, and sorghum are composed of primarily sucrose, another sugar found abundantly in fruits. Other fruits containing more sucrose, than either fructose or glucose, include apricots, cantaloupe, grapefruit, mangoes (particularly high levels of sucrose, in mangoes), nectarines, and peaches, to name a few. Most people don't realize how abundant sucrose is in nature, and assume it is some man-made refined product, never guessing that their maple syrup and date sugar are comprised mostly of sucrose as well.

Sucrose is a compound sugar, made up of a combination of both fructose and glucose. If refinement and removal of trace minerals is the chief objection to sucrose, whole, unrefined evaporated cane juice, molasses, maple sugar, and date sugar are forms of sucrose that are not refined.

Honey, in the US, can contain a certain amount of high-fructose corn syrup legally, so in order to avoid that, you must purchase raw honey from a trusted source. Usually small-scale local beekeepers who sell through farmer's markets and health food stores are my choice.

So do choose your honeys according to your principles, with full awareness of its sugar content and degree of purity.

Perception of a source of sugar as healthy or unhealthy, may not bear up to scrutiny once the composition of different sweeteners is revealed. For instance, most people who consume agave syrup have no idea that it is very similar in composition, to high-fructose corn syrup, so the perception of some sugars as innately healthier choices due to being less processed or more natural somehow, bears scrutiny in order to make truly informed choices.

But how and whether you choose to sweeten your almond milk, is entirely a personal decision, and feel free to tailor it to your taste and health preferences, of course. :)
cutt377 months ago

First you have to wait until the almonds have matured. Once the almond utters are fully developed, you are able to milk the almonds for all they're worth. 1 almond makes 2 ounces of almond milk. Be sure to use correct form as to avoid carpal tunnel syndrome. Almonds can only be milked once every fort night.

jhamrick28 months ago
What kind of cheese do vegans use in their mac and cheese? Great how to though, going to try it this weekend.
mikilewinger11 months ago
Thank you my friend ! I have just finished my first batch and it came out almost as creamy as sour cream.  I added one tablespoon of sugar for every two cups of water and it came out too sweet for my taste.

1) I usually boil homemade soy milk after preparation, should I boil almond milk as well ?
2) Is there a way to get rid of **most** of the cyanide smell so that i becomes "MyKids" friendly ?
3) Any oppinion on adding some pinches of salt ? Would it make it "less fatty" ?
4) I wonder how much fat percentage is in it ?
megmaine (author)  mikilewinger11 months ago
You're welcome, and I am sorry for neglecting this site as of recent years, but being a homeschooling mother of 3 with multiple food allergies is demanding. (sadly, I can no longer make the almond milk due to food allergies of the kids, but it's still lovely stuff).
As to your questions,
1) I have never boiled this, and can't imagine it would improve the flavor or texture. But feel free to try it and report back! Life is about experimentation.

2) Cyanide smell? I never experienced that, so I cannot comment. My kids enjoyed my almond milk until one became allergic to this as well (adding to a long list...sigh..). I once bit into an almond that had twin seeds, slim ones, and it filled my mouth with an almost overpowering maraschino cherry scent and flavor. I always wondered if that were by some fluke, a "bitter almond" but as many have posted here, due to their dangerous nature for consumption, they are heavily regulated and should not make it into the food supply. Otherwise, people would be dropping like flies, yes?

3) I LOVE pinches of salt! In fact, it rounds out the flavor of anything sweet, very nicely. Dairy milk has quite a bit of naturally occurring sodium, and any milks made to be creamy and taste similar, benefit from some salt. It's amazing when you add a bit, taste, add a bit more, and then hit the mythic sweet spot, and have a delectable beverage, topping, etc.
4) For fat percentage, I couldn't guess except to expect that almond milk would have an amount of fat similar to the total volume divided by the amount of fat in the amount of almonds that went in. That total would be the asymptote, the possible maximum. The real amount would likely be slightly less, since you can't extract every bit of oil from this simple method. So, calculate the amount of fat in the total amount of almonds used, then divide by number of servings you decide on for your volume of measured output of almond milk, and recognize that as an ideal maximum, and that the reality will fall somewhat short of that.
gethen1 year ago
I saw some people getting confused further down, so I wanted to leave this note on "bitter almonds:"

The Bitter almonds that are a source of cyanide are NOT almonds that taste bitter. The Bitter almond is a different tree from the Almond tree, and Bitter almonds are not the same as Almonds. You cannot find Bitter almonds for sale at the grocery store, not even if you wanted to.
NubisBully1 year ago
Any ideas on unshelled almonds? I'd assume they're safer (more raw) due to them being unshelled and honestly I cannot afford organic almonds right now but I'd like to minimize the pasteurization/chemical contamination as much as possible. I wish I could grow them as you do in Spain (goatherdtoo) :)
Hi Many thanks for your excellent recipe for almond Milk..... we really enjoyed, but we have the luxury that my wife and I are Almond farmers in the Alpujarra in Spain and produce totally natural organic almonds. It is very interesting to read how almonds are being treated in the US. Should be a law against it....:-)
megmaine (author) 1 year ago
I didn't actually measure, and I have a hunch it would vary slightly by how long you soaked the almonds, how finely you ground them, and how well you pressed them, but that said, since the almonds don't contribute a whole lot of moisture by volume, and 3 cups of water goes in, I think it's safe to say that 3 cups plus whatever the almonds contribute, comes out. Less than 4 cups total most likely, but more than 3. That's the best I can do. Let us know how much you get?
megmaine (author)  megmaine1 year ago
I'd make it again and measure just to answer this, except that I now have a kid allergic to nuts, and can't make it anymore. Sorry!
nickguyver1 year ago
At one point you mention using 3 cups of water to 1 cup of almonds. If this is the ratio I am using to follow this instructable, what is the amount of milk I will have at the end? I can taste test to get the right consistency, but I would rather know what end amount I should end up with. Any help would be most appreciated. Thanks for posting.
S1892 years ago
Thanks so much for this instructable! I finally felt brave enough to give this a try and it worked! I've never had almond milk before so this was truly a new experience for me and I've never had the store brand, so I can't compare it to that so I really had no idea what it's "supposed" to taste like. I know I liked this though, and the only thing I'd do next time (that I didn't this time) is add a little sweetener. It seemed to get a little tang after a couple days. This lasted me 4 days and I definitely plan to make this again.. Thank you for the how-to!
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sabaan4 years ago
Is there any way to use roasted, salted almonds instead of raw almonds?  I thought about rinsing them in water before putting them to soak.  Kind of like how you shower before you go in the hot tub.  Also, I really wanted to reserve the water for vegetable stock.  I'm willing to take the squirrel's risk.  But, outside of earlier arguments, would there be any additional reason for not using almonds that have been heavily processed like the ones I'm planning on using?  And I was hoping to use my slow cooker instead of the oven (less electricity).  The only advice I've found on curing or drying in a slow cooker has come from cannabis-related sites.  I guess it's reliable, though.  I'm asking all of this because of this asinine scheme I've been literally cooking up all week.  If you want to read about it, feel free.  But also feel free not to.  I just typed it to get it out of my system.

Okay.  I'm hoping this doesn't sound stupid.  I've challenged myself to make a week's menu plan using a soy-free, gluten-free version of eco-Atkins.  I want to spend less than $100 and feed my family of four with three daily meals and an additional snack.  (Eco-Atkins is a high protein diet that relies on plant protein instead of animal protein.  It differs from Atkins in that you are allowed up to 130 net carbs per day-- closer to the "Maintenance" or final phase of Atkins, whereas the initial phase of Atkins keeps net carbs at 20 or less.)  I eat seitan, but just wanted to create a bigger challenge for myself.  I normally keep soy-free because I developed soy sensitivities most likely from overconsumption.  My fault.  I ate soy in every over processed form at every meal.  If I'd done the same with Stevia, I'd probably have gotten cancer, too.  (Somewhat kidding.  Just referencing earlier comments about supposedly cancer-causing Stevia.  But only somewhat kidding because who knows how much Stevia I could inhale if left to my own devices.  Any gluttonous consumption can lead to consequences.  And my soya love was gluttonous.)  Anyhow, eco-Atkins has gotton a lot of criticism from vegans just for reminding them of the Atkins diet (where you can eat an all-you-care-to-eat buffet's worth of bacon, but need to refrain from the forbidden fruits of carb-ridden apples).  Atkins' loyalists have given the plan criticism because it's not Atkins-y enough (too many carbs), people might think it implies that this version is healthier than their version, and it relies too much on soy and gluten.  And, of course, the usual criticisms about any plan that cuts out an entire food group like dairy, how veganism is too restrictive for people to follow, and any implementation would be too costly.  This is so long because I'm just so excited!  It was really just a study conducted by David Jenkins, who helped develop the Glycaemic Index.  He was just exploring if vegans could follow the Atkins diet.  He also wanted to see if there were any benefits to relying on plant-based protein as opposed to animal-based protein.  I'm just doing this to prove something to myself.  I have no idea why.  But I'm having fun, and that's all that matters.  And my six-year old daughter acted like the spaghetti squash was magic when we de-seeded and de-pulped "the plant that grows noodles inside of it."  I avoided calling it a squash, but did say it was in the pumpkin family.  She said "that pumpkin's cousin is really creative."
 
megmaine (author)  sabaan4 years ago
Very interesting. I think the question you were asking was whether roasted almonds can be used. If someone has done it, please let us know, but I am otherwise quite certain that you will not get almond milk from roasted almonds.
However, if you would like to try, and post your results here, it would be an interesting read. Thanks for posting!
@megmaine, I made almond milk for the first time today, and I used roasted almonds, not raw. Came out just fine!
megmaine (author)  sabaan4 years ago
You could try it (roasted, salted almonds) but I seriously doubt you would get anything resembling almond milk, because the roasting process dries the almonds as well as alters their properties. Imagine trying to get sap from dried maple firewood...
ahhh i understand thanks a lot
Shoot!!! I followed the recipe exactly, but it tastes SOUR like spoiled milk... where did I screw up?
megmaine (author)  my5lovesandme2 years ago
I have never encountered that problem before, but it sounds like fermentation, which can occur very rapidly in very warm weather.

The other possibility, is rancid almonds. 80% of the world's commodity almond supply is grown in California and they are harvested between late August, and October.

If you are eating California almonds right now, in mid-July, they would be from a harvest of nearly a year ago. Rancidity has never tasted sour to me, but bitter. Who knows, though. It could be a factor.

Since 2007, all almonds grown in California for the domestic market, have been pasteurized, but I wrote this Instructable after that, so that shouldn't be the problem.

If you soaked them in a climate-controlled room, then I can't see overnight fermentation unless there's something in your water.

Sorry I can't be of more help, but if either the freshness of the almonds, or warmth of the overnight soak could be an issue, hopefully soon you will be able to enjoy success with it, once those are not factors. Let us know if you try it again in the fall, how it comes out!
Maybe next time I will soak overnight in the refrigerator. I had them on the counter, and the house temp got up to 80 degrees. (I was at work, and the air was turned off) Fermentation is what it smelled like! I will try again! Hopefully, with much success! Thanks for the response!! :)
MissAllyson2 years ago
So how do I know if I'm picking "bitter" almonds, as opposed to "regular" almonds? There are many almond trees that grow wild, and also up and down the bikes paths in the area where I live in northern California.
alexd6195 years ago
WARNING!!!
DO NOT use bitter almonds (not really a problem in the US because there are refined and are generally not sold at all) but in other countries bitter almonds mixed/blended with water and release cyanide and can put you in the hospital or even kill you (this is why you hear people say that if you smell almonds where there are none you have probably been poisoned) if you dont believe me look at wikipedia.

anyways i still plan on doing this i just wanted to let everyone know that

re: the bitter almond as poison: Bitter almonds as well as certain seeds such as apricot, peach and apple have cyanide-CONTAINING compounds, not free cyanide. Just as table salt contains sodium and chloride, which are extremely poisonous on their own, but sodium chloride is not poisonous. Similarly, these nuts contain a compound that on its own is toxic, but when in a molecule, your body can deal with it... google rhodanese if you don't believe me.
I have eaten apricot and apple seeds because they are tasty... bitter and almondy.. and I'm fine.
Also, Wikipedia is a great source but it is also sometimes censored or projects the thoughts of governmental agencies or companies with a profit agenda... lead-producing companies succeeded in convincing the public that lead was harmless or even healthful until about the 70s. So take what you read with a grain of salt (pun intended) and decide for yourself :)
megmaine (author)  jmcdonald132 years ago
Here is the Wikipedia on almonds, an excerpt stating how compounds in bitter almonds, in the presence of water, convert actual cyanide:


" It also contains the enzyme emulsin which, in the presence of water, acts on a soluble glucoside, amygdalin, yielding glucose, cyanide and the essential oil of bitter almonds, which is nearly pure benzaldehyde. Bitter almonds may yield from 4–9 mg of hydrogen cyanide per almond.[21][22] Extract of bitter almond was once used medicinally, but even in small doses, effects are severe, and in larger doses can be deadly; the cyanide must be removed before consumption.[23]"
megmaine (author)  alexd6195 years ago
Thanks for pointing that out. I am not sure you can even get any almonds that might kill you, at the health food store or grocer. So we are assuming grocery store or health food store almonds here, the raw ones. Not roasted!
Unfortunately almost all almonds sold in the US are not actually raw. Recently it was mandated by the USDA  that all almonds are pasteurized, which is literally cooking (unless they fumigate the almonds with propylene oxide, a chemical the U.S. EPA has classified as a probable human carcinogen). Furthermore the regulation still allows pasturized/fumigated almonds to be called raw on product packaging.
What I wonder . Is why if something has been classified as a probable Carcinogen , then why can they still use it ? Its like they tested it for safety and then , forgot to warn everybody or restrict it . Whats the point of even testing if they don't do anything?
megmaine (author)  browncar5 years ago
Good question!
For the answer, I always say: Follow the money! It will lead straight to what gets marketed, promoted, sold, and used, and what gets warnings issued against it and attempts to keep it from the market. Just follow the yellow brick road.
Wish I could say follow the high road of ethics instead.

Aspartame is still in everything. Stevia had to go around an FDA blockade by being labeled a "supplement". Vioxx was heavily promoted, and hawthorn berry and bromelain are not mentioned by mainstream docs. One is patented, the others cannot be. Unfettered market forces aren't quite the supreme fount of wisdom and goodness they were made out to be, but Upton Sinclair knew that a long time ago.
megmaine (author)  jerryric5 years ago
When was this? Because the almonds I buy as "raw" seem in all ways my senses can detect, to be raw, and when  I toast them in the oven their appearance, texture, and "crunch" changes. So either they are treated in such a way that the heat doesn't actually cook them, or else they aren't cooked. Roasted almonds don't give milk. Raw do. Mine do.
The non chemical pasteurization process involves a steam heating treatment. It seems the general consensus is that most almonds are treated with propylene oxide, nuts you find in regular grocery stores and as ingredients in processed food.  Health food stores are ordering steam pasteurized almonds because that is healthier then the chemical treatment. Heating food above 115 degrees kills digestive enzymes and healthy micro organisms. While the taste difference may be subtle or non existent, and pasteurized almonds will definitely produce milk, they are no longer a raw/living food.
megmaine (author)  jerryric5 years ago
So there it is, those who want untreated almonds will have to find someone with an almond tree and get cracking.

Still, the steam treated almonds are far preferable to our purposes (dairy allergies in the family) than animal milk, and infinitely preferable to plasti-packaged commercial almond milk.

Nothing perfect in Eden anymore, but this is still better than our other options. Thanks for the info. Raw foodists who are able and willing to eat dairy have, at least in certain states, the right to go buy raw milk from the animal of their choice, or milk their own mammal, and raw mammal milk is actually a living food, unlike the pasteurized version commonly seen in supermarkets.
Yeah here in the us it is not a problem because if a bitter almond does make the store shelf it has been boiled and roasted  to remove the cyanide but in other countries they arn't as strict on food regulations as they are here
megmaine (author)  alexd6195 years ago
Good warning for those who may live in places where bitter almonds might be easily available and possibly confused with the edible, nonpoisonous type. Thanks!
MissAllyson3 years ago
I live in Northern Cal. and I just went out this weekend and picked some alomonds off of a wild almond tree where I go hiking, and yes, they were very bitter. I tried making almond milk and it was so bitter I couldn't drink it. It actually smelled like a gas too, and I thought it was only because it was my first try at it, and I didn't know that you had to soak the almonds, so I just figured that's what made that gassy/chemical smell. So does this mean if I had added this to a recipe, I could have killed myself? Should I just forget about the wild/bitter almonds and start buying them from the store?

~MissAllyson
megmaine (author)  MissAllyson2 years ago
You'll want to be careful with bitter almonds from the bitter almond tree. Bitter almonds are squattier in shape than sweet almonds, and may yield 4 to 9 mg of cyanide per almond.
Some sweet almonds trees produce almonds that are more bitter, than other almond trees, but they don't have cyanide.

Bitter almonds produce the oil that is used for almond flavoring, that strong sort of maraschino cherry scent (to my nose) of benzaldehyde.

But they shouldn't be eaten carelessly, because of the cyanide content.
I'm glad you didn't make almond milk from what might have been a bitter almond tree, and then drink a lot of it!
This should not have been bitter, it had to be the almonds.. I would stick with the store bought almonds,.,
elspeth12 years ago
Hi - I live in New Zealand and have just read all the comments about 'nasty' almonds. I bought /buy my almonds at the supermarket - have just made some milk and its storing in the fridge - tastes a little bitter.....are we safe? Am presuming we are as I eat the same nuts without any bad effects - what would be the bitter taste? They taste all right just eating them...
megmaine (author)  elspeth12 years ago
I never had that happen, buying them in bulk from the health food store, but once they get even slightly rancid (and nuts out of the shell go rancid much faster than nuts still in the shell), I won't eat them, because aside from an obnoxious bitter taste and smell, rancid fats are so unhealthy, that they make eating the item a nutritional minus instead of a plus.

Timing and storage methods matter a lot. In the Northern hemisphere, late summer through fall is the season of almond harvest, and eating them too far out of season increases the risk of rancidity, as does eating them already shelled whole, or worse, already ground (which exposes every part to light and oxygen).
Spring would be the harvest season for Australian almonds, I presume, so in New Zealand, if you are eating Australian almonds, you'd want to watch out for out-of-season ones accordingly.

Some feel that the almond skin is bitter, though it never bothered me, and some people go to the trouble to blanch them before making almond milk. To each his or her own! Hope you found a solution, and if so, please share it!
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