The earliest known recipe for almond milk can be found in Le Viandier, a late thirteenth century recipe book.Yes, almond milk is at least that old! What’s more striking is that the recipe is remarkably similar to how nut milk is made at home (or in small batches) today!
So how exactly is nut milk made?
According to the thirteenth century recipe, almonds used to be ground into a fine powder, then boiled with water, and finally strained. Today, thanks mostly to improved blender technology, instead of boiling, most people soak, blend, and strain nuts to create their milk. An alternative way of making nut milk (if you’re looking for a quicker option) is to add nut butter to water and blend - this mean no soaking or straining required, but the end result isn’t quite the same.
What about the boxed almond milk from the store? Is this made differently?
We’re glad you asked! Commercial almond milk processing has diverged from this medieval practice quite a bit. Commercial almond milk is made by toasting and grinding toasted nuts into a fine dust. (Toasted nuts are used to enhance the flavor). The dust is then mixed with water, emulsifiers, stabilizers, sugars, and flavors to give the milk its taste and its texture. Did you know that commercial almond milk only contains about 2.5% almonds? Therefore, the nutritional benefits and delicious taste of fresh almonds are lost by the time you consume the final product. Have you ever wondered why commercial boxed milks have such a crazy long shelf life? Many of them don’t even need to be refrigerated! This is thanks to all the preservatives added - gross!
Fortunately, more people are educating themselves about commercial almond milk and looking for better options or making their own. NotMilkNYC is committed to making fresh nut milk easily accessible while still made the old-fashioned way - with lots of nuts, simple ingredients, and NO additives.