As far as nuts go, it’s hard to beat an almond. It might not have the glitz and glamor of the peanut, the most famous persona in the nut world (even though it’s technically a legume) or the novelty factor of a macadamia nut. And perhaps it’s not quite as delicious as a cashew or a pecan. Nonetheless, the almond holds a special place as the most solid, nutritious, and hearty nut out there. They are great to add to a salad, or for coating a chicken, and they can be flavored to be a spicy or super-savory snack. And, of course, there’s almond milk (or almondmilk, depending on who you ask). But how much do we know about this milk-ish beverage? Let’s learn some more!
What is almond milk?
Almond milk is a non-dairy milk alternative made from almonds. While it has apparently been around since Medieval times, it didn’t attain mass market popularity until the 2000s. Today, almond milk is widely available and has surpassed other milk substitutes such as soy milk and coconut milk in popularity.
What is almond milk made of?
Not to blow any minds here, but the primary ingredient in almond milk is almonds. To get more specific, the ingredients in Almond Breeze original almond milk are the following: Almond milk (Filtered Water, Almonds), Cane Sugar, Calcium Carbonate, Sea Salt, Potassium Citrate, Sunflower Lecithin, Gellan Gum, Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin D2, D-Alpha-Tocopherol (Natural Vitamin E).
Where does almond milk come from?
Most almonds are grown in the Central Valley region of California. Because of the persistent drought conditions in the Golden State, it can be challenging to grow these nuts sustainability—especially since they require a large amount of water compared to some other crops. Nonetheless, we love our almonds so production isn’t likely to stop anytime soon.
Is almond milk dairy free?
Yes, despite the slightly misleading “milk” in the name, almond milk is 100% dairy free. Incidentally, calling things that don’t come from animals “milk” is somewhat controversial, and milk manufacturers have sued to try to prevent products such as these from bearing “milk” labeling. In the U.S., this has largely been a no-go, but in the E.U., coconut milk is the only plant-based substitute that can be called milk.
How is almond milk made?
If you want to make almond milk at home, you can! All you need are almonds, water, and a blender. The Kitchn explains the basic way to do it: “The process essentially involves soaking almonds in water overnight or for up to two days—the longer you soak the almonds, the creamier the milk will be. Drain and rinse the beans from their soaking water and grind them with fresh water. The resulting liquid, drained from the almond meal, is almond milk.”
For store-bought almond milk, the process is similar though, of course, at a much larger scale with a few extra steps. Usually, the ground almonds and water are put through a centrifuge or filtered in some other way to rid the milk of any extra grit. The almond milk is also typically homogenized (essentially heated and emulsified) to give it longevity. And other ingredients such as flavoring, sugar, vitamins and minerals, and stabilizers can also be added.
How long does almond milk last?
Homemade almond milk lasts around five days if refrigerated. Store-bought almond milk that is processed to be shelf-stable, should last for about seven to ten days after opening it. Unopened, on the shelf, it should last about two months.
That’s the scoop on almond milk! Enjoy your next glass fully informed.