If you’ve been searching for a way to cut down on the dairy, you’ve come to the right place. Almond milk is steadily growing in consumption, second only to soy in the alternative milk category. Here, we take you step-by-step through the making of a batch of your own!

What’s wrong with store-bought?

When it comes to nondairy milks, there are many packaged products to choose from. While it’s great that so many companies are offering plant-based options, there are some very good reasons to make your own vegan, nondairy milks. Let’s look at why homemade trumps store-bought:

Cost. Making milk yourself is more affordable than buying it in the store, especially if you order your nuts and seeds in bulk.

Fresh is best. Store-bought milks, even the organic brands, are usually full of preservatives. How else do you think they can stay on the shelf for so long without spoiling? When you make milk yourself, you can whip up batches more often, and you can always have access to fresh vegan milk…without all the preservatives.

You’re in charge. With homemade, you have complete control over the quality and ratio of ingredients in the finished product. You can make it just how you like it!

ALMOND MILK

Yield: 2 cups (two 8 oz servings)

Equipment
High-speed blender
Nut milk bag

INGREDIENTS
3/4 cup raw almonds, soaked and drained
2 cups purified water
3-4 Medjool dates, pitted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch unrefined salt

Step one: Put nuts and purified water into high-speed blender and puree until very smooth.

Step two: To separate the milk from the almond pulp, squeeze liquid through a nut milk bag or cheesecloth. Discard the pulp or freeze or dehydrate it to use in other recipes.

Step three:  Put milk back into rinsed blender along with dates, vanilla and salt. Blend until dates are liquefied. Milk may be stored in a sealed glass container in the refrigerator for up to five days.

OK, that was easy—now what? Here are a few ways to switch up your new dairy-free milk alternative:

  • Add 3 tablespoons carob powder—And transform your new dairy substitute into a caffeine-free, chocolatey concoction the kids will love!
  • Use honey instead of dates to sweeten, and then add cinnamon, cardamon and nutmeg to taste—Chai milk, anyone?
  • Add 1/3 cup of pumpkin puree and 1/3 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice with a dash of stevia to taste. We may be past the pumpkin-crazy fall season, but this variation is still a delicious change of pace.
  • Add fresh blueberries or strawberries—Then toss in a little ice and have yourself a refreshing almond milk-based smoothie. (Bonus: Leaving the hulls on the strawberries is a great way to add nutrition and skip a prep step!)
  • Experiment with other nuts (or seeds, such as sunflower or sesame) and sweeteners. Walnut milk sweetened with maple syrup tastes like maple-walnut ice cream! Follow the same basic technique above and use your imagination.