Are you a fan of almond milk? Have you ever wondered how many pounds of almonds it takes to make a gallon of this popular dairy alternative?
The answer may surprise you.
While commercial almond milk production requires a staggering amount of water, making your own almond milk at home can be a more eco-friendly and cost-effective option.
In this article, we’ll explore the amount of almonds needed to make almond milk, the environmental impact of almond production, and how you can make your own delicious and nutritious almond milk at home.
So grab a glass and let’s dive in!
How Many Pounds Of Almonds To Make Almond Milk?
To make a gallon of almond milk, it takes approximately two pounds of almonds. This equates to around 800 almonds, with an average of 400 almonds per pound.
However, if you’re making homemade almond milk, the amount of almonds needed is significantly less. Most recipes call for around 1/4 cup of almonds per cup of finished almond milk, which is roughly 25 almonds per 1/4 cup. This means that a pound of homemade almond milk only requires around 50 almonds.
It’s important to note that the remaining almond pulp can be used in baked goods or other meals, extending the use of the almonds and reducing waste.
The Nutritional Benefits Of Almond Milk
Almond milk is a popular alternative to dairy milk, and for good reason. It is rich in vitamins and minerals, including calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin E. It’s also a good source of protein and healthy fats. Almond milk is lower in calories than cow’s milk and doesn’t contain any cholesterol or saturated fat.
While almond milk may not be a viable protein source for those looking to increase their protein intake, it does offer other nutritional benefits. For example, it contains high levels of vitamin E, which is an antioxidant that can help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. Additionally, almond milk is high in calcium, which is important for maintaining strong bones and teeth.
One of the main benefits of almond milk is that it is lactose-free, making it a great option for those who are lactose intolerant. It is also a vegan-friendly option for those who follow a plant-based diet.
Another benefit of almond milk is that it is often fortified with additional vitamins and minerals, such as vitamins A, D, and B12. This can help ensure that those who consume almond milk are getting the necessary nutrients they need for optimal health.
The Environmental Impact Of Almond Production
While almond milk is often touted as a healthier and more sustainable alternative to cow’s milk, its production has a significant environmental impact. Almond trees require water year-round, even when they’re not producing almonds. A single almond takes about 1.1 gallons of water to produce, and it takes around two pounds of almonds to make one gallon of milk. This means that almond milk has a large water footprint, with an average US freshwater consumption of 175 L per 48 oz for unsweetened almond milk, compared to 307 L per 48 oz for whole milk.
California produces 80% of the world’s almonds, with almond orchards doubling in the last 20 years. However, almond production has come under scrutiny due to its high water usage. California dedicates about 8% of its total agricultural water supply to growing almonds, and it takes a staggering 2,000 gallons of water per pound of almonds. This is equivalent to 10% of California’s water supply and the volume of water used by all of California’s cities combined.
Moreover, almond production uses more pesticides than any other crop in California. Some chemicals sprayed on almond trees have been shown to harm bees, which are essential for pollinating almond crops. The use of pesticides can also affect the surrounding environment near orchards, leading to mass die-offs of both commercial and native bees.
Despite its large water footprint and pesticide use, almond milk still has a smaller carbon footprint than cow’s milk. Cows release large amounts of methane gas, which is a potent greenhouse gas. Therefore, while almond milk may not be perfect in terms of sustainability, it is still a step in the right direction towards reducing environmental impact.
Making Your Own Almond Milk At Home
Making your own almond milk at home is a simple and affordable process that yields a creamier and more nutrient-dense product than store-bought almond milk. The process involves soaking almonds overnight, blending them with filtered water and any desired flavorings, and straining the mixture through a nut milk bag or cheesecloth.
One of the advantages of making homemade almond milk is that it allows you to control the ingredients and avoid any additives or preservatives that may be present in store-bought versions. Additionally, homemade almond milk typically contains a higher percentage of almonds, resulting in a creamier texture and more robust flavor.
To make homemade almond milk, start by soaking 1/2 cup of almonds in water overnight. The next day, drain and rinse the almonds and blend them with 5 cups of filtered water, along with any desired sweeteners or flavorings such as dates or vanilla extract. Blend the mixture on high speed for at least one minute until it is smooth and frothy.
Next, strain the mixture through a nut milk bag or cheesecloth to remove any almond pulp. The remaining liquid is your homemade almond milk, which can be stored in the fridge for up to 7-10 days.
To reduce waste, consider using the leftover almond pulp in baked goods or other recipes. Alternatively, you can skip the straining step altogether and consume the whole nut for a heartier and more nutrient-dense beverage.
Tips For Using Leftover Almond Pulp
If you’ve made homemade almond milk, you may be wondering what to do with the leftover almond pulp. Here are some tips for using it:
1. Make almond flour: Dry out the leftover pulp in a low-heat oven, then blend it into a fine powder. This can be used in place of regular flour in many recipes.
2. Make almond butter: Blend the leftover pulp with a bit of oil and salt until smooth and creamy. This can be used as a spread or dip.
3. Add to smoothies: The leftover pulp can be added to smoothies for an extra boost of fiber and protein.
4. Use in baked goods: The almond pulp can be added to muffins, breads, and other baked goods for added texture and nutrition.
5. Make almond crackers: Mix the leftover pulp with some herbs and spices, then spread it out on a baking sheet and bake until crispy.
6. Use in veggie burgers: The almond pulp can be added to veggie burger patties for added texture and flavor.
Remember to store the leftover almond pulp in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer until you’re ready to use it.