Learn how to make your own Homemade Almond Milk that lasts longer than 5 days, so you’re not making a fresh batch every week!
Why do things spoil faster that it should?
The answer is almost always sanitation. Food spoils faster when it is either handled improperly, or stored poorly.
Last week, I asked my Instagram community how long their homemade nut milks keep, because mine lasts for 2 weeks, IF I stick to my one-cup-of-coffee-a-day deal, and even then, it’s a matter of running out rather than spoilage. It became clear from the responses I received that this post had to be written, especially when people were giving up dairy-free milks or going for the store-bought version simply because ‘it was just too much work!’.
I have nothing against store-bought plant-based milks – in fact, I loved using Califia Farms Unsweetened Almond milk for almost a year until I noticed the pile of plastic bottles in the recycle bin. While I do occasionally reach for a bottle of Califia when I’m too busy or need that extra boost of Calcium, I mostly make my own now, FOR THE PLANET, which is why I became vegan in the first place.
And so, this right here is how I make my own Homemade Almond Milk, which apparently keeps longer for me than it does for others – I will break down the process, and troubleshoot along the way, so you can enjoy your stress-free Almond Milk, made from scratch, without any additives that alters texture or taste.
Disclaimer: This resource on making Almond Milk is based on my own personal experience. No extensive tests or experiments have been conducted to establish or claim superiority of my method against others. Follow at your own discretion.
1.Soak, yes, but first we blanch!
Seems like an insignificant step, but I think this is where the ‘sterilization’ process begins. I don’t make almond milk with the skin, rather blanch my almonds to remove the skin before soaking overnight.
WHY should you soak nuts? Soaking removes phytic acid, a component of most grains, nuts and cereals that inhibits absorption of some nutrition like calcium, iron and zinc. Blanching partly sterilizes your almonds; I buy my raw almonds from a bulk bin ( to reduce packaging) – from a store where people use a scoop to take what they need, and sterilizing makes sense to me, particularly since I won’t be cooking or boiling the milk prior to consumption in my coffee.
This is the process I follow to blanch my almonds, and it’s fast and perfect. It seems like an extra step, but I reserve chores like this for after dinner, while I’m watching TV on the couch. I always blanch almonds for an entire month’s worth of almond milk (2-3 cups), and freeze the excess. Soak what you need, and next week, you can save time on the blanching and go directly to the soaking step.
Step 1: Boil water in a saucepan, enough to immerse the almonds.
Step 2: Add almonds, wait one minute, remove from heat, drain and peel.
Step 3: Transfer blanched almonds to a bowl, pour FILTERED WATER to immerse, cover and refrigerate. Yes, SOAK YOUR ALMONDS INSIDE THE REFRIGERATOR.
THE DIFFERENCE: Blanching, then soaking in the fridge.
2. From the Almonds cometh the milk!
Once your almonds have soaked for atleast 8 hours, and no more than 24 hours, it’s time to get grinding. But before that, drain the water it was soaking in. Soaking leeches phytic acid from grains and nuts, and it’s best to toss that out.
In a clean, high powered blender, free from any residue (pesto, carrot soup, smoothie, harissa, whatever you last used it for), add your soaked almonds, along with filtered water to immerse. Blend until smooth. Top with more filtered water, as much as the jar can hold and blend for a few more seconds.
Get your ‘filtration’ system ready as below:
Clockwise from the top: 1. Sterile bottle 2. Ground Almonds in blender jar 3. A large, clean bowl fitted with a super fine nylon mesh strainer 4. more filtered water
Pour the almond puree into the strainer, and using a spoon, push it down to extract the milk. DON’T USE YOUR HANDS!
WHY? Human hands contain natural oils (even after you’ve just washed it), which causes food to spoil. It’s why museums tell you not to touch any of the exhibits, and why food spoils faster when you use your fingers to scoop it. So the whole squeezing-the-nut-bag step is probably what is reducing the shelf life of your almond milk. Also your nut bag might have old batch residues, if you aren’t washing it extra clean.
The nylon mesh strainer I use here is double layered, ultra-fine, and gives the smoothest milk. After each use, it gets tossed into the top rack of the dishwasher for sterilization. If you don’t have one of these, line a colander with your nut bag and replicate the process.
Step 4: Drain the soaking water from the almonds.
Step 5: Toss almonds into a clean blender jar, along with filtered water to immerse. Blend until smooth.
Step 6: Strain via a fine meshed sieve, using a spoon to press the milk out of the almond puree, adding upto 5 cups of water for every 1 cup of raw almonds.
THE DIFFERENCE: Not using hands for milk extraction, filtered water, nylon mesh strainer.
3. Let’s bottle that up, shall we?
Another place where people make mistakes that leads to shorter shelf life of your almond milk (or any of your foods) is using a bottle that is not sterile.
Do not be alarmed with the word ‘sterile’. It’s not as difficult as you think. Here are a few ways to sterilize:
- Microwave your pre-washed glass bottles and jars on high for 1 minute.
- If you washed your bottle in a dishwasher, soap residue (it’s always there!) can ruin your milk. So pour a little boiling water inside, swish around, pour out and let air dry.
- Wash your bottle by hand (use a bottle brush), and let it dry out in full sun. Cheap and absolutely effective. If you’re worried about dust outside, place the bottle upside down on a wire rack to dry.
Step 7: Transfer pressed almond milk into a clean, sterile glass jar. If you are using a funnel, make sure it’s clean and sterile as well.
Step 8: Refrigerate immediately.
THE DIFFERENCE: Using a sterilized bottle to store your almond milk.
- Blanch your almonds before soaking.
- Soak in the fridge, and drain out the soaking water before grinding.
- Use filtered water for soaking and grinding.
- Do not use your fingers to press the milk out.
- Sterilize your bottles.
I’ve seen people who do this with their milk (whether it came from cows or plants, I don’t think you should do it): in the morning, they take the milk out and leave it out while they go about making their coffee or assembling their cereal. The milk is there, sitting on the counter, waiting for you to be ready to start using it.
STOP DOING THAT!
Whether it’s milk or a condiment that you store in the refrigerator, take it out for as little time as possible. Use, and immediately return back into refrigeration. The constant temperature fluctuations can encourage bacteria growth, spoiling your food faster than it otherwise would.
REDUCE WASTE TIP:
- Almond Skin – If you have a compost at home, toss the skins in there. If you have potted plants, the skins can be added as a top dressing/mulch. It’ll dry, decompose naturally and return nutrients back into your plants. If you have neither, then I found this recipe that lets you bake the skin as a snack!
- Almond pulp – you know the white mushy, nearly flavorless pulp that is the remnant of your extraction process? Don’t throw it out! I have a few ways of using them up in cooking, and I’ll keep linking to it here as I post the recipe for them on the blog.
While I cannot guarantee your almond milk will keep for 2 weeks like mine does (so many factors at play here), I can definitely say, with some confidence, it will keep longer than the 2-4 days that seems to be the norm for everyone.
And when you make your Homemade Almond Milk using this method (which I really think you SHOULD!), be sure to SHARE YOUR PHOTOS with me through Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. I’d love to hear how long your batches are keeping!
- 1 cup of raw almonds
- 5 cups filtered water
- More filtered water for soaking and blanching
- Boil water in a small saucepan, enough to immerse the almonds. Wait till the water begins a rolling boil.
- Add almonds to boiling water, wait exactly one minute (use a timer to be precise), remove from heat, drain and peel. Detailed instructions here.
- Place blanched almonds in a bowl, pour FILTERED WATER to immerse, cover and refrigerate overnight. Do not soak for more than 24 hours.
- Drain the soaking water from the almonds.
- Place almonds into a clean blender jar, along with 1 cup of filtered water to immerse. Blend until smooth.
- Top blender with more filtered water, as much as will fit in the jar. Blend for 3 seconds to combine.
- Place a fine meshed nylon sieve on a large container. Pour the almond puree into the strainer, and using a spoon (not your fingers), press the milk down to extract. Keep topping the sieve with the remaining water, always using the spoon to stir and press to extract.
- Once you're pressed the last drop of almond milk and all that remains is dry pulp, transfer the milk into a clean, sterile container and refrigerate immediately.
- Almond milk extracted with this method will keep longer than the usual 4 days. If you notice any discoloration, or sour smell, discard immediately. Read the post fully to avoid common mistakes that lead to early spoilage.
- I always blanch more almonds than I need for this recipe. Freeze the excess, it makes the next batch of milk extraction a little easier.
- If you cannot find a nylon mesh sieve fine enough to get very smooth almond milk, you can line a colander with your nut bag, and extract. Don't use your hands.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1/2 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 63 Total Fat: 5g Saturated Fat: 0g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 5g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 6mg Carbohydrates: 2g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 0g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 2g