Not So Random Thoughts and Recipes

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Raw Almond Milk . . .

Raw almond milk

My dear high school friend, Paula, sent me a Facebook message asking for my raw almond milk recipe and some of my favorite smoothie recipes. Her request prompted this post.

Raw almond milk smoothies are served in our household nearly every day . . . sometimes twice a day if I don't feel like making dinner! Smoothies have been part of my morning ritual for over two decades.

Strawberry mango smoothie

raw almonds, soaking
Soaked raw, sprouted almonds ready for the blender

 I've been buying my almonds from Angie & John, owners of 'Nut~N~Other Farms' for several years.  Angie's almonds are high quality, raw organic nuts. I purchase 50 pounds from Angie and John every year and I store them in a chest freezer.

Imperfect Vegan

2 cups raw, unpasturized, organic almonds. 1 cup of dry almonds yields about 1/1/2 cups of soaked almonds.

Rinse almonds and put into quart mason jar with mesh lid. Fill with cold water to rim and soak 8 hours. Drain water and refrigerate if not using them right away.

After soaking, rinse almonds and then blend in a high speed blender (Vita Mix) with filtered water until nut meat is pulverized. Use 3 to 4 cups of water to each cup of soaked almonds. The less water, the creamier your milk will be.

Separate milk from pulp using a nut bag. Place a large strainer on a 4 cup glass measuring cup. Place a nut milk bag onto the strainer and pour milk into bag ~ let drain. Squeeze milk through nut milk bag to finish. Store milk in an airtight, glass container for up to 3 days. Milk will separate, shake before pouring. 

blended soaked almonds and water

I have a very powerful Vita Mix blender. A standard blender may not have the power to blend well if all of the fruit is frozen. Begin with unfrozen strawberries/mangoes and freeze only the bananas. The fruits that carry more water tend to make it more difficult to blend. You may need to experiment with how much your blender can handle. If you find that you're doing daily smoothies it's well worth coughing up the $400.00 for a Vita Mix. I've had mine over 6 years and it's an amazing work horse.
raw almond milk in nut bag

Get creative with your smoothies. Right now raw California mangoes are in season but only for a few short weeks. They are SO worth it, truly amazing flavor and unlike mangoes from out of the country that are pasteurized, (dipped in boiling water bath) California mangoes are raw. 

How to pick and cut a California mango:
California mangoes are ripe when they have a slight 'give' to them and are green, not yellow, when ripe.  A mango has one long, flat seed in the center of the fruit. I use a potato peeler and peel the (washed) skin. Then stand the mango on your cutting board stem end down and hold. Place your knife about 1/4" from the widest center line and cut down through the mango. Flip the mango around and repeat this cut on the other side. The resulting ovals of mango flesh are known as the "cheeks". What's left in the middle is mostly the mango seed. Take care when cutting a mango as they are slippery. You can also cut the mango unpeeled then section and cut the fruit from the peel.

For smoothies I cut the mangoes into large chunks and freeze them on a cookie sheet lined with waxed paper then bag them up after they're frozen. They're also a nice sweet, cooling snack right out of the freezer!

Pour smoothies into juice pop molds and freeze for cooling treats! If you don't have dates use maple syrup or agave nectar. I buy 45 lbs. of dates from the grower every year. We pit them and freeze them on cookie sheets then bag them up and store in the freezer.

Pitted organic Khadrawy dates ready for the freezer

I buy 45 pounds of dates a year directly from the Bautista Family Organic Date Ranch in Mecca, CA.
Imperfect Vegan
Makes one smoothie

1 cup raw almond milk
4 to 6 fresh, pitted deglat noir (or any pitted) dates
1 heaping Tbls. ground golden flax seed (optional)
1 Tbls. chia or salba seeds (optional)
1 Tbls. maple syrup (optional) I don’t add sweetener because I like the clean sweetness of the fruit ~ personal preference.
Blend until dates are indistinguishable
While blender is running, add 1 frozen banana (I peel, then section banana and freeze on a cookie sheet, then bag for use later).
1/2 C fresh, frozen blueberries
1/2 C. fresh, frozen strawberries
Blend until smooth and drink! 

Be creative, add frozen fruits in season or combine fruits you enjoy. Make a date and banana shake for something simple.

Fresh organic strawberries, rinsed and ready to be hulled and frozen for smoothies

Peel the bananas cut into thirds or quarters and freeze on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

Organic bananas ready for the freezer
Strawberry blueberry smoothie

The fiber in the fruit gives you a 'full' feeling. Smoothies are an energizing way to begin your day!

Banana date shake

What fruits do you add to your smoothies?