There are so many products in the grocery store I can’t eat because they have one ingredient that is on my verboten list. For instance, almond milk. There are a few brands that do not contain carrageenan but they are hard to find. Here is a good article about why you should not eat carrageenans by Chris Kresser. When my friend, Chantal, who is staying with me and a vegan, put some almond milk with carrageenan in my refrigerator, I decided to make some for her because I heard it was easy to do.
First we bought some organic, raw unpasteurized almonds. This is a great time of year because the tree nut crops are ready after their drying time. Then of course, as I always do, I searched for Paleo Almond Milk on the internet. I chose a recipe from the blog Our Paleo Life. Go to Kendall’s recipe here.
First, you need to soak the almonds overnight, between 12 to 24 hours. Nuts have the same anti-nutrients as grains which nature has provided seeds in order to preserve them from rotting and protect them from predators such as birds until they are ready to sprout. Sprouting requires water both in nature and in our kitchens. The water washes away the tannins, phytates, enzyme inhibitors and the goitrogens. According to Wikipedia, goitrogens are “substances that suppress the function of the thyroid gland by interfering with iodine uptake, which can, as a result, cause an enlargement of the thyroid, i.e., a goiter.” Goitrogens are found naturally in many seeds and vegetables but are destroyed by cooking or soaking. You will notice the water will seem dirty after about an hour. I drained and replaced the water three times during the almond soaking time. Read about the benefits of soaking nuts on the Food Matters website.
Chantal and I noticed the almonds were softer to bite into and sweeter to taste after they had been soaked! Many people prepare their almonds for eating by soaking them and then drying them in a dehydrator.
The you drain the almonds and put them in a blender with water for one minute. I then used a fine stainless steel strainer to strain the milk in a bowl. The strained almond milk is then put back in the blender with 2 dates and some vanilla. I used vanilla extract instead of the vanilla pod seeds.
We noticed the almond milk had a better almond flavor than the store bought variety! It was very, very good. I’m going to use this almond milk to make my Paleo Chocolate Chai. I stored the extra almond milk in a glass bottle in the refrigerator. I took the strained pulp and spread in on my dehydrator trays. I dried it for 3 hours at 105 degrees. This makes a wonderful almond meal! With how much almond flour is in the store, I am tickled pink I was able to make a useful ingredient from the by-product of the almond milk!