I have had a number of questions recently regarding almond milk and whether or not it should be used in place of cow’s milk in people’s diets. Here is everything you need to know about almond milk:
Almond milk is made from, you guessed it, almonds. Similar to soy milk, almond milk acts as a cow’s milk substitute; it contains no cholesterol and is lactose-free and soy-free. Almond milk has less saturated fat than regular (non-skim) cow’s milk and is a great option for people with lactose intolerance or milk allergies.
Almond milk has a consistency similar to cow’s milk making it a suitable substitute in any recipe. It has it’s own unique nutty flavor, and comes in flavors such as vanilla and chocolate; these varieties are often sweetened with natural evaporated sugar cane juice. Almond milk is shelf stable and contains a handful of healthy nutrients including potassium, magnesium, and vitamin E.
While almond milk has a variety of nutritious vitamins, it is much lower in protein than cow’s milk. However it contains less carbohydrates and fewer calories than cow’s milk (60 calories per cup almond milk versus 80 calories per cup skim milk). Almond milk is great for anyone on a vegan or raw food diet. You can either buy almond milk at the supermarket or make your own at home; keep in mind that store-bought varieties are pasteurized and fortified with calcium.
So how can you make milk from a nut? The process is similar to that of soymilk.
- Soak almonds in water overnight.
- Blend almonds to form a frothy puree.
- Squeeze contents through a cheesecloth to strain out the milk. (The leftover almond pulp can actually be used in baking recipes such as cookies)
- Add water to equal desired volume.
- Refrigerate for 24 hours.
- Add sweetener of choice and a pinch of salt to flavor the milk.
If making your own almond milk seems too labor intensive for you, almond milk can be found at your local health food store as well as many of the major grocers such as Jewel and Dominick’s. Almond milk is sold as both refrigerated and shelf stable products so that you can buy and store it in your pantry for a later date.
If you are looking for a great nutritious milk substitute, I recommend giving almond milk a try! Almond milk can be used in smoothies, to flavor your morning coffee, or even poured over you favorite breakfast cereal!