Tuesday, December 6, 2011

How To Make Almond Milk and Save Our Oceans From Plastic

Almond Milk - Finished product

I've gone to a few events the last couple of years for ocean awareness, how to Save The Waves and keep our waters plastic free / trash free. I had a friend and artist ask a few of us to keep everything plastic we consumed over a period of 2 or 3 weeks. At the end of this time, she wanted us to hand over our used plastic goods so she could construct her plastic wave. "The wave is her personal statement about plastic in our oceans" wrote Beth Terry. I thought it was a great idea, but at the end of the day, I forgot or couldn't commit or any other excuse I could come up with for not participating in the 2 week project. I wasn't supporting the cause. I don't mean support by donation. I mean by integrating that philosophy into my daly life. I'd never really done more than just attend parties or the once a year beach clean-up for Surfrider.

Today, December 6, I will try to live a more natural lifestyle, keep my plastic consumption low and keep information and new ideas for a plastic free life flowing. My first step: to make my own almond milk at home and no longer purchase almond milk in a carton with their non-recycleable plastic screw caps & plastic spout. Here is a link for information about the cartons use by Blue Diamond on their FAQ page. I'm not sure if the cartons are recyclable or not, but I was happy to see that Blue Diamond doesn't use genetic engineering or gene manipulation almonds. I tried to find some information about recycling the cartons on Earth 911 with no luck. I don't think you can???

How to Make Your Own Almond Milk
What you will need for this almond milk recipe:
-- 4 cups of water
-- 1 cup of raw almonds - not salted or roasted - purchase them in bulk. Much more affordable
-- 1 teaspoon of raw sugar (optional) or use 3 or 4 dates or organic agave nectar

You can substitute the sugar for 3 or 4 dates, organic agave nectar or leave it out completely. If you are use to flavored almond milk; add less than 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1/2 teaspoon chocolate.

Some recipes call for blanching almonds to get their slightly bitter skin off before blending. I didn't. Too much work for little pay off. Skip the blanching.

-- Blender
-- Metal strainer
-- Cheesecloth (I didn't use one, but if you want to strain all almond out, this is a great technique. In a pinch, I've heard (new) pantyhose work.
-- Glass bowls
-- Spoon

How to Make Your Own Almond Milk
Add one cup of almonds to four cups of water in a very strong blender. Today I'm using my new Vitamix blender, but any brand will do.

How to Make Your Own Almond Milk
Next, add your sweeteners or flavors. In this case, I'm using raw sugar - about 1 teaspoon.

How to Make Your Own Almond Milk
Blend on HIGH for about 1 or 2 minutes

Vitamix CIA Professional Series Blender - Brushed Stainless Steel

How to Make Your Own Almond Milk
Here is my first almond milk - now strain the almond pulp out of the almond milk.

How to Make Your Own Almond Milk
Use a glass bowl (yes, I just purchased new bowls since I broke the last one about a month ago) and a metal strainer. Place the strainer over the bowl and pour almond milk through the stainer in to the bowl.

How to Make Your Own Almond Milk
Pour a small amount of almond milk at a time and use a spoon to help the milk through the strainer.

How to Make Your Own Almond Milk
With my spoon, I scoop the almond pulp from the strainer until all milk has dropped in to the bowl. After, I pour the pulp in to a smaller glass bowl and continue until all milk and pulp are separated.

How to Make Your Own Almond Milk
Now I'm ready to drink my fresh, homemade almond milk, use it in my morning fruit smoothy, have a bowl of oats and my fresh milk - endless possibilities. The almond milk keeps in the refrigerator for about 4 days. I'm keeping the almond milk in one of my empty glass water bottles. I'll see how they hold up.

How to Make Your Own Almond Milk
Ways to use the almond pulp: add it as a topper to your cereal, use as flavor when baking a bread, add it to your homemade energy bars for protein and fiber. I think I'm going to try to make raw almond cheese.

Site to get more information:
-- How and What to Recycle Earth 911
-- Kathleen Egan's Plastic Wave myplasticfreelife.com

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