This time of the year is almost over, and I am ready to welcome spring with arms wide open. Nevertheless, I will miss the snow. The pretty side of snow, the one that stays white, the one that is silent, the one that engulfs you.
Having lived in a tropical Island most of my life, I remember the first time I saw it, the first time it tingled my cheek as it fell from the sky. I ran outside, like a real newcomer, and enjoyed every flake as if there were no tomorrow. Little did I know that, those flakes where not snow, but “flurries”, and that a several months later the thought of snow would only make me think of that hot, humid, Island I now only visit twice a year. It has been a while since that day, but I still look at snow with awe and fascination.
This recipe is an ode to that day, an ode to innocence and naiveté. An ode to being curious and brave!
We all grow up attached to the commodities of modern life comfort. We love the processed stuff because it is tasty, easy, and accessible. There is nothing wrong with that! But there is beauty in the handmade. There is beauty in understanding how things are made, from the beginning to the end. There is beauty in letting go and exploring new things; there is beauty in stepping out of our comfort zones.
Making almond milk at home is easy. Most of the time is inactive, and goes into soaking the almonds. Peeling the almonds is tedious, but with a glass of wine and an episode of your favorite series, you will be done before you know it! Once you get that over and done with, transforming almonds into milk takes a mere five minutes! I like to soak and peel large batches of almonds when I have time. I place the peeled almonds in and air tight container in the freezer and use them whenever I crave almond milk.
Before you know it, with a smile of your face, you will rejoice the pleasure of accomplishment!
Homemade Vanilla Almond Milk
Makes: 1 liter
- 1 cup raw almonds
- 3 ½ cups water
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp. maple syrup
Place almonds in a large bowl. Cover with water and soak for a minimum of 8 hours; 24 hours is ideal but not necessary. Drain almonds, and rinse thoroughly under cold water. Pat dry.
To peel almonds from their skin, start by holding an almond with your thumb and index finger. Press light pressure on one end until the almond pops out of its skin. Since the almonds have been soaking for quite a while, this should be easy. Place peeled almond in a clean bowl. Discard skin. Repeat until you have peeled all almonds.
Transfer skin free almonds into a powerful blender (Vitamix) with 1 ½ cup filtered water. Blend at high speed for 2 minutes. Add 2 more cups of water, vanilla and maple syrup. Blend at same speed for 2 more minutes.
Place nut milk bag, reusable produce bag, or pantyhose (clean, please!) over a one-liter jar. Leave enough fabric hanging off the edge so that you can hold it down as you pour contents through. You could even rubber band the bag to the neck of the bottle. Slowly pour all contents from the blender into the jar through the bag. Once you most of the milk has filtered through the nut milk bag, remove from the edge of the jar and lightly squeeze until all of the liquid passed through. You should have about 1/3 of a cup of nut residue inside the bag. Don’t throw it away!* Close jar tightly and refrigerate milk for three days. Enjoy!
NOTE: Almond pulp can be used in many recipes. I suggest incorporating it with your staple hummus recipe. It will make the softest hummus you will ever taste.