Finding a good milk substitute for the lactose intolerant or casein allergic is a challenge. This week Wheat Free Nutrition takes up the challenge of examining almond milk. This post provides instructions for making your own almond milk and compares it to commercially available almond milks in terms of ingredients, nutrition, cost and convenience and includes a gluten free bonus at the end.
- 1 cup Raw Almonds
- Water for soaking nuts
- 3 cups Water
- 2 Dates (optional)
- 1/2 tsp Vanilla (optional)
- Cover the almonds with water and soak overnight or for at least 6 hours.
- Drain the water from the almonds and discard.
- Blend the 3 cups water, the almonds, dates and vanilla until well almost smooth.
- Strain the mixture using a cheesecloth and refrigerate.
The WFN test kitchen staff was surprised at the ease and good taste of this homemade almond milk. The dates and vanilla in this recipe are strictly for flavor, you can omit them or add other flavoring ingredients as you desire. Below are the other results of our tests.
Homemade almond milk has a very short ingredient list and each consumer controls their own additives. However, commercially available milks have a fairly benign ingredient list. The ones examined had almonds, water, natural flavors, salt, carrageenan and supplemental vitamins and minerals. The salt is for flavor and the carrageenan (a thickener and emulsifier made from seaweed) gives a thicker more milk-like mouth feel.
Most commercially available almond milk has been fortified with vitamins A, D and calcium. Homemade almond milk does not replace these essential nutrients. We were unable to find a completely unfortified almond milk to compare nutrition information, but did find one without added calcium which listed calcium as 0 in the nutrition panel. While almonds are considered high in calcium, the added water dilutes the calcium to the point that it is insignificant in reasonable serving sizes. You must compensate for this in other parts of your diet if you choose to make your own almond milk regularly. This is especially important in children.
WFN compared the cost of almond milk and almonds at a warehouse club store. A three pound bag of almonds was $11.76. This calculates to a cost of $6.96 per gallon of almond milk. The price of already prepared almond milk was $5.22 per gallon.
It is much more convenient to buy already prepared almond milk. However, we experimented to make home produced almond milk more convenient. We found that it freezes and thaws extremely well. It is possible to make large batches, freeze then thaw as needed.