From Scratch Friday: Almonds

 

Welcome to From Scratch Fridays! Every Friday, I’d like to feature a post on how to make something from scratch that you might otherwise buy at the store, or that seems to intimidating to make. It’s usually cheaper, healthier, and better from the environment – although admittedly often takes a bit more time. And so we start today!

Oh almonds, how I love thee. I used to just eat you raw, but I have since discovered so many great ways to utilize your delicious nature. And all it requires to transform you is a few kitchen tools and a little bit of patience.

Almond milk, almond pulp, almond butter. All mild, nutty, and delicious.

Let’s start with almond milk. I started buying cartons of almond milk when I decided I wanted to cut back on our processed soy consumption. But at the time, San Francisco didn’t recycle the cartons that the almond milk came in, even though most other cities around the country did, which never made any sense to me.

Regardless, it sort of horrified me to be throwing away so many cartons, and even after SF started recycling them, it still seemed like a lot of waste, not to mention the waste of money and the preservatives. I knew there had to be a better way. After a quick Google search, I found making almond milk was as easy as soaking a cup of almonds for 8 hours, draining, rinsing, blending with 4 cups of water and then straining.

That’s my trusty blender, and my nut milk bag beside it. The first time I tried, I used cheesecloth which didn’t work out so well. Then I discovered that they actually MAKE bags for this kind of thing that are cone shaped. It was a revelation. And then, one day, Alex gifted me this beauty:

The SoyaPowerPlus was $100 but the almond milk doesn’t separate and I don’t ever end up with milk and pulp all over my counter because I didn’t screw the lid on tightly enough. I know they say you shouldn’t have single use appliances in your kitchen, but since I can make rice, soy, and nut milks in this, I think that counts as multiple uses.

From the nut milk comes the almond pulp which can be apparently made into a hummus and can also be dried and used for various baking recipes!

And then of course, there is also almond butter. The first time I made almond butter, I dry roasted the almonds. I liked it, but I didn’t love it. And then, upon the suggestion of my good friend Nicole, I made raw almond butter with just a hint of salt. Holy moly, it’s delicious. And all you need is a food processor and 15 minutes!

Runty loves the food processor as much as I do! She’s giving it a little kiss!

Mmmm, almond butter. It takes about 15 minutes, with some scraping, to get it good and drippy. But it’s worth it.

If you can find almonds in bulk, it’s probably cheaper, and takes less packaging, to make your own almond butter. There are no plastic seals, you don’t have recycle jar after jar (or keep so many jars your cabinets start to make you look like a hoarder….like mine do….), and you know exactly what’s in it. Plus, the taste knocks store-bout out of the park and there is no oil separation!

 

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