Thursday, July 12, 2012

Make Yourself Some Almond Milk

Milk alternatives in Morocco are scarce and expensive.  I like to have a milk alternative around for various reasons – cereal, mac and cheese, fruit smoothies...  I have discovered that the best DIY option is almond milk, because raw almonds are easy to find in Morocco.   Many Hanuts sell raw almonds, in fact the Hanut directly below our apartment has them – how convenient! Here is my recipe and method. Bear in mind that measurements are approximate.

1 cup of raw almonds
4 cups of water
6 soft dates – pitted
1 tablespoon of honey
a pinch or two of salt

*the dates and honey are the natural sweeteners. They are optional, and you can choose to add less or more or one or the other or none
*add more or less water to achieve your personal desired consistency
*homemade almond milk can turn sour fast, so if you do not think you will consume 4 cups in 1-3 days, you may want to cut the recipe in half

Soak almonds for a few hours or overnight
Boil some water, remove it from the heat and add the almonds
Let the almonds sit for a few minutes and then strain
Once the almonds are cool begin to peel them – they should slide easily out of their skins
In a blender or food processor grind the peeled almonds into small pieces – my blender has a small spice grinder attachment, so I grind them in this in small batches
Chop or grind the dates into small chunks
In a blender or food processor combine almond pieces, date chunks, honey, salt, and water and pulse and blend for a few minutes until everything is creamy, white, and milky – yummy!
Using a fine strainer, strain the milk into a container

Voila! You now have made yourself some almond milk!

*if you want, simmer the milk on the stovetop before refrigerating (I am not a scientist, so I think that this may kill some germs - if any exist - and help keep the milk longer?)

*before you use the milk, be sure to stir it since some of the fine almond pulp that made it through the strainer tends to settle

What to do with the leftover almond pulp?
As a Peace Corps volunteer, one motto I have - especially in the kitchen - is "waste not, want not". You will have some almond pulp left over in your strainer.  What can you use it for? I like to add it to fruit and yogurt smoothies or to my barley grit cereal; I have also made cookies with it. Be sure to store it in an airtight container in either the fridge or freezer. Here are some websites with info on almond pulp and with many ideas and recipes for how to make use of it:
3 Creative Uses For Almond Pulp
Easy Almond Pulp Cookies
Almond Pulp Freezer Fudge
More Almond Pulp Recipes

Have fun and enjoy!