Almond milk is just a sort of cleansing, purifying drink that you can ingest before rituals or as part of a good feast. It is also a nice vegan substitute for milk.

Ingredients:

Directions:

Bring water to a boil. Turn off heat. Add almonds; let steep for 10 minutes. Strain with cheesecloth or strainer after mixture has been steeped. Drain out almonds and use for another recipe.

Yield: 2 cups
Source: Paraphrased from Wood & Seefeldt, The Wicca Cookbook
Use for: Litha

Pagan recipes

Almond milk was invented by French bakers in the Middle Ages to combat spoiled milk. Milk had to be bought and used fresh, so this raised the cost of milk. To complicate matters, vendors often diluted milk to increase their profit margins.

Almonds are high in unsaturated fat. This is good for two reasons:

  • Unsaturated fat has been proven to reduce heart disease by causing a rise in the "good cholesterol" that we're always hearing about.
  • Almond milk can be, and traditionally has been, whipped into a spread much like butter, but much healthier.

In addition to the health benefits of unsaturated fat, almonds and their derivatives, are an unrivaled source of Vitamin E; an excellent source of zinc, fiber, phosphorus, magnesium and calcium. Calcium is probably one of the most important nutrients in almond milk, because it is an oft overlooked component of a healthy vegetarian or vegan diet.

Commercial almond milk is available, and IMHO pretty good. I was introduced to it when a roommate brought home a couple quarts of Blue Diamond Almond Breeze. It's more neutral tasting than most soy milks, which is less startling to a normal milk drinker. If you're really interested in almond milk, the cheapest way to get your fix is to make your own - DIY.

Making almond milk is simple. Recipies call for anywhere from 2 to 4 parts water to 1 part chopped almonds. Purée the almonds in a blender or food processor eg a Cuisinart. Strain with cheesecloth. Small additions such as puréed rasins or vanilla extract are commonly added for flavor. Chocolate almond milk is delicious, also. Almonds, organic or not, cost roughly $4 or $5 (USD) per pound. This may seem expensive, but one pound of almonds should give you many quarts, depending on desired thickness.

While there is good information in the previous writeups I wanted to add a piece of I felt was missing. Soaking your almonds in warm water increases the bioavailability of the nutrients in your final product. Most nuts, seeds and grains benefit from a soak. The following recipe is my amalgamation of several others I have used in the past.

It is in your best interest to buy organic almonds. If you are avoiding wheat or have other food allergies/intolerances please note that almonds are frequently processed with other foods. Blue Diamond is a good brand for raw almonds however I avoid using them for this recipe as they do not sprout. Their commercially produced almond milk is superior to other brands and the last time I checked their almonds were non-GMO. Almonds are typically steam pastuerized, this may affect your efforts.

  • 1 Cup (120 grams) raw Almonds
  • 1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt - optional

After rinsing allow your almonds to bathe in warm water with or without the optional salt. Your almonds should sprout within eight hours - generally I prepare the nuts at night and harvest the milk in the morning. After sprouting rinse, sort, and remove the skins. Sprouted almonds are quite slippery and must be handled with care. While preskinned almonds are available I have not had as much success with them.

Transfer your naked nuts to the grinder you prefer be it blender or food processor. Coconut oil brings out the sweetness of the nuts, I use a generous tablespoon and a splash of fresh spring water before mixing. You can skip the oil however your milk will be thinner and in my opinion less tasty. The advantage is your containers will be much easier to clean.

Process your almonds and additional coconut oil until you have a slurry. Gradually add water, typically I use four cups of water for every cup of almonds. Run your blender or food processor until your mixture appears to have gone into solution. It will gradually settle however a consistent mix is what you are aiming for here. I store my milk in quart sized European glass yogurt jars. My recipe yields a creamy top, I do not strain the milk so anyone using it must shake it vigorously.

This milk is not bad on its own although if you do not strain it the texture takes some getting used to. I have used this milk to prepare cream based soups, over cereal, and can drink it as a stand alone liquid. It fails miserably at hot cocoa so if someone has a good dairy free substitute that tastes like the real thing I would appreciate that information. My children hate almond milk however they don't complain about it in recipes and sometimes can't tell that it has been used. Best of luck if you try this or any other recipe I've posted.

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