I heard a stat the other day that some 70% of the population are lactose intolerant. Further research showed that this figure is quite accurate and made me ponder the possibility of my own lactose intolerance. Unfortunately (for my stomach) I am really not willing to give up creamy goats cheese or ice cream to work this out so I thought I would play around with different types of milk. Plus, there is an abundance of milk alternatives you have to choose from; soy milk, almond milk, quinoa milk, oat milk, coconut milk, rice milk etc…
On top of three quarters of the population having bodily reactions to milk, there are a few other arguments out there to suggest that consuming milk alternatives are a good move. Milk production has quite a high carbon footprint due to the green house gas emissions associated with the meat and dairy industry. Furthermore, whilst milk has important minerals, it also has high levels of calories and saturated fat so there are so better options to try out.
It baffles me how you can produce a milky like substance out of a bean or nut so I decided to embark on the challenge of making it myself. After reading Benjamin Law’s reference of quinoa milk to tasting somewhat like the ‘liquid that comes from milking a handful of wet kidney beans with your butt”, I thought I would go with almond milk which I suspect will be a bit more pleasant. Almonds (and consequently almond milk) are abundant in vitamins and minerals including magnesium (which helps break down food), selenium (good for the immune system) and Vitamin E (an antioxidant which helps protect your cell membranes). Plus it is a good source of unsaturated fat, protein, flavonoids and potassium – bingo!
Easy almond milk
(Soaking time: overnight, making time: 15 minutes)
1 cup almonds
1 muslin cloth (or any cotton cloth like substitute will be fine assuming that it is clean)
Soak the cup of almonds in water for 8 hours or overnight. After this time, clean them with fresh water and put them in a blender with four cups of water and the date. Blend until you achieve a milky texture. Place your cloth over a fine strainer and place this over an empty bowl. Pour your blended almond milk through the cloth and strainer so that all the pulpy bits don’t pass through to the milk. Squeeze the cloth to make sure you get the last drops of almond milk and voila, you have almond milk!
Don’t throw out the leftover pulp as there are lots of uses for this. Dehydrate to make into a flour, eat it like an oatmeal, use in cakes/muffins/bread or just place in the freezer and wait until an opportunity arises.