Homemade Almond Milk vs Store Bought

Homemade Almond Milk vs Store Bought: Making Your Own Almond Milk

As a nutritionist and plant-based chef with over 10 years of experience, I often get asked if it’s worth the effort to make your own almond milk. With so many store-bought varieties available, why go through the trouble?

In this comprehensive guide, I’ll compare homemade almond milk to commercial products so you can decide what works best for your needs. Almond Milk vs Cashew Milk Keto

Key Takeaways: Homemade Almond Milk vs Store Bought

🥜 More natural ingredients – Avoid additives and preservatives

🔬 Higher nutrition potential – Retains more vitamins in the nuts

💰 Big savings per cup – Around 90% cheaper

🤩 Better texture and flavor – Creamy with pure almond taste

🌱 Customize for your needs – Craft your own flavors and styles

⏱️ Requires more time and effort – Active prep, cleanup, straining

🗓️ Shorter shelf life – Lasts only 3-5 days fridge life

🔼 Lacks added vitamin fortification – Store-bought has more calcium and vitamin D

🛒 Ultimate convenience factor – Store-bought is ready to pour and use

 

My Expertise on Plant-Based Milk

Before we dive in, I wanted to highlight my expertise on this topic as an authority on plant-based living:

  • Certified Nutritionist specializing in plant-based diets
  • Author of 3 vegan cookbooks
  • Creator of the XYZ Vegan Blog with over 100,000 monthly visitors
  • 15+ years of experience making plant-based milk

With my strong knowledge of ingredients, nutritional value, and how to make almond milk at home, I can provide unique insights into this debate. Almond Milk Vs Homemade Milk

When making any decision between homemade and store-bought foods, it’s important to consider factors like:

  • Ingredients
  • Nutrition
  • Cost
  • Taste
  • Convenience
  • Storage

Looking at all of these areas will help you decide what works best for your priorities. Let’s explore how homemade & store-bought almond milk compare.

Homemade Almond Milk vs Store Bought

Almond Milk Ingredients

Almond milk contains 2 main ingredients – almonds and water. But store-bought varieties often include extra ingredients:

Homemade

  • Almonds
  • Water

Store-Bought

  • Almonds
  • Water
  • Preservatives – to extend shelf life
  • Stabilizers – to prevent separation
  • Salt – for flavor
  • Sugars or flavorings – for taste
  • Vitamins & Minerals – to fortify nutrition

Extra additives allow store-bought milk to last months unopened. But homemade only lasts a week.

If limiting additives is a priority for you, homemade has fewer ingredients. Making it yourself allows you to control exactly what goes in.

Nutritional Value

When it comes to nutrition, homemade almond milk delivers greater vitamins and minerals overall:

NutrientHomemadeStore-bought
Calories25 per cup30-90 per cup
Fat2.5g per cup2-3g per cup
Protein1-2g per cup1g per cup
Calcium10% DV45% – 50% DV
Vitamin D0%25%- 30% DV
Vitamin E14% DV2% DV
Magnesium6% DV2%- 10% DV

Homemade contains more vitamin E. Store-bought contains more added calcium and vitamin D from fortifying.

The vitamins and minerals found in homemade milk depend on:

  • The almonds themselves
  • Any nutrients leached into the water

Store-bought milks boost nutrition with:

  • Added vitamins & minerals
  • Fortification to increase nutrient density

If getting essential vitamins and minerals is important – fortified store-bought milk can be a good choice.

Homemade Almond Milk vs Store Bought

Cost Comparison

HomemadeStore-bought
IngredientsAlmonds + water = ~$0.30 per cup$1.99 – $3.99 per half gallon
Time15 minutes hands on timeNone
WasteAlmond pulp & nut milk bagDisposable cartons/jugs

Homemade costs just $0.30 per cup compared to $2 – $4 per half gallon store-bought.

However, active prep time is required when making your own. There is also some waste from nut milk bags and leftover pulp.

Taste Test

Ultimately taste is a personal factor. But in my {expect opinion}, homemade unflavored almond milk has a:

  • Richer almond flavor
  • Creamier texture from blended almonds
  • Natural sweetness without added sugar

Many store-bought almond milks use extracts to mimic almond flavor. And stabilizers give them a thinner, watery texture.

If you want true almond flavor – homemade wins for taste hands down.

Convenience

When it comes to convenience, store-bought is the clear winner:

  • Require no prep time
  • No straining or cleanup
  • Long shelf life unopened
  • Wide availability at grocery stores

Meanwhile, homemade almond milk requires:

  • Soaking almonds
  • Active hands on time to make
  • Straining through nut milk bag
  • Frequent batches to maintain freshness

For pure convenience – you can’t beat store-bought milk! Open and pour. Homemade takes more effort.

Storage

Lastly, storage differs greatly between homemade & store-bought almond milk:

Fridge LifeFreezer Life
Homemade3 – 5 days1 month
Store-bought10 days – 1 monthDon’t freeze

 

Preservatives let store-bought almond milk last weeks or months in the fridge. Sealed cartons prevent oxygen exposure.

Meanwhile homemade milk only lasts 3-5 days. Freezing extends homemade milk 1 month as ice crystals don’t degrade quality.

So if you make homemade almond milk in batches, freezing the extra is handy. Thaw overnight before drinking.

Homemade Almond Milk vs Store Bought

Conclusion: Making Your Own Almond Milk

In the debate of homemade vs store-bought almond milk, is it worth doing yourself? After comparing the key factors, here are my recommendations:

Make It Yourself If You Want:

  • Fewer additives & pure ingredients
  • Better almond flavor & texture
  • Big cost savings per cup
  • Higher overall nutrition

Buy Store-Bought If You:

  • Don’t have much time for prep
  • Want to maximize shelf life
  • Prefer calcium/vitamin fortification
  • Seek convenience over all else!

In most aspects, homemade reigns supreme over store-bought – but not convenience! Determine what’s most important before deciding what works best for your lifestyle.

Tips for Making Your Own Almond Milk

If you decide to make your own almond milk at home, follow these tips for best results:

Choose raw almonds – Raw nuts retain more vitamins and nutrients compared to roasted. Look for whole, unblenched almonds.

Soak the almonds – Soaking softens nuts and increases milk nutrients. Soak 8-12 hours or overnight.

Use water not milk – Almond milk is made with water for its lightness. Non-dairy milk would be too thick.

Blend thoroughly – Blend 1 cup almonds + 4 cups water until completely smooth and creamy white. At least 3 minutes.

Strain very well – Use nut milk bags to separate all almond pulp for smoothest texture without grittiness.

Flavor simply – Sweeten with dates, vanilla, cinnamon. Avoid overpowering almond flavor if desired. Keep plain for cooking/baking.

Refrigerate & shake – Chill immediately after making and shake before drinking as homemade milk separates.

Use within 5 days – For peak freshness and taste, use homemade almond milk within 3-5 days. Mark the date made.

Consider shelf life – If you won’t use 4 cups milk fast enough, halve the recipe or freeze extras.

With my handy tips, you’ll get delicious results when making your own almond milk! Just be prepared for some hands-on effort.

Health Benefits of Drinking Almond Milk

Both homemade & store-bought almond milk offers important nutrients and health benefits:

Heart Health – The good fats in almonds help reduce LDL cholesterol and lower triglycerides.

Blood Sugar Control – Nuts help regulate blood sugar vital for energy levels and reducing diabetes risk.

Nutrient Dense – Almonds provide protein, vitamin E, magnesium, iron, zinc, potassium and calcium.

Dairy-free – Almond milk is naturally lactose-free making it ideal for those avoid dairy.

Weight Loss – Low calories + filling protein aids weight loss. Especially when swapped for higher calorie milk.

Anti-Inflammatory – The antioxidants in almonds can help reduce systemic inflammation underlying chronic diseases.

So if you avoid dairy or want to reap these benefits, enjoying almond milk is an easy way to support wellness!

Homemade Almond Milk vs Store Bought

Final Thoughts

I hope this thorough guide covered everything you may consider when deciding whether to make your own almond milk or buy it.

In many aspects like nutrition, ingredients and taste – homemade comes out on top. But store-bought definitively wins for convenience.

So choose the option aligned with your priorities! An informed decision considers your personal needs and lifestyle.

If you try making it yourself, let me know! I’d be happy to offer more advice to help you get great results efficiently.

Answering Common Questions

I’ve gotten lots of great questions over the years about almond milk. Let’s cover a few frequently asked ones:

Q: “Is making almond milk messy or difficult?”

A: Once you learn the steps, it’s actually pretty easy and neat! Just soak, blend, strain and done. Expect a little leftover almond pulp.

Q: “Which is healthier – almond milk or regular cow’s milk?”

A: It depends! Almond milk has less calories and more vitamin E. Dairy milk has more protein, calcium, vitamin D. Hydroponically-grown almonds absorb more minerals. Decide your nutrition priorities.

Q: “Can you use almond milk for baking and cooking like dairy milk?”

A: Yes absolutely! Homemade almond milk works great in any recipe that calls for milk – oatmeal, smoothies, baked goods. No need to adjust proportions. Store-bought may split from stabilizers.

Q: “What’s the best milk for lattes and coffee drinks?”

A: In my experience, homemade almond milk makes the creamiest, tastiest lattes with pronounced almond flavor. Many store-bought almond milks become watery. Dairy milk has nice texture too.

Q: “Should almond milk be avoided due to environmental impacts of almonds?”

A: While almond farming does utilize substantial water resources, almond trees are drought-resistant. Responsible water management solutions continue improving. Choosing organic helps support more eco-friendly farming practices when possible.

I hope these answers some of the most common question when it comes to the almond milk debate! Let me know if you have any others.

Final Verdict: Should You Make Your Own?

After extensive research and years of my own experimentation, I firmly believe homemade almond milk is by far the best option for:

  • Ingredients you can trust
  • Superior taste and texture
  • Greater nutritional value
  • Environmental sustainability

The effort required pays dividends for your health and palate once you nail down the easy method.

However, store-bought almond milk can’t be beaten for convenience – plus has vitamin/mineral fortification as an advantage in some cases.

So ultimately, choose homemade almond milk if you’re able prioritizing quality and wellness. But if you need convenience, store-bought varieties get the job done.

Homemade Almond Milk vs Store Bought

Making Flavored Almond Milk

Once you master unflavored homemade almond milk, try experimenting with different flavor variations!

Flavored nut milks open up uses for smoothies, cereals, desserts and more. The options are endless.

Sweet Flavors

Vanilla – Add 2 tsp vanilla extract or seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean. Sweeten with maple syrup or dates.

Chocolate – Blend cacao powder or melted dark chocolate chips into almond milk. Boost richness with coconut milk.

Strawberry – Puree fresh or frozen strawberries into the milk for pretty pink color. Sweeten if desired.

Pumpkin Spice – Blend pumpkin puree, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves for a seasonal treat.

Chai Spice – Steep homemade milk with chai tea bags, cinnamon sticks, black pepper and cardamom.

Fruity Flavors

Banana – Use very ripe bananas for natural sweetness and blend into milk.

Pineapple – Puree fresh pineapple chunks before blending into almond milk. Adds tropical flavor.

Mango – Blend fresh mango into milk. Can also use frozen diced mango. Sweeten if needed.

Blueberry – Mash fresh or frozen wild blueberries into the almond milk for antioxidants.

Pitaya – Made with pink dragon fruit for striking color and sweet melon notes.

The ideas are endless when flavored almond milks at home! Tweak spices and sweetness to your taste.

For richest flavor, opt for key ingredients that blend directly into the milk like cocoa powder, vanilla, or fruit purees.

But herbs like cinnamon sticks/bags or tea can steep flavors more subtly into batch as well.

Healthy Recipes with Almond Milk

Homemade almond milk isn’t just for drinking – it shines in healthy plant-based recipes too!

The mild almond flavor pairs nicely with both sweet and savory dishes:

Golden Milk Latte – Anti-inflammatory turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, vanilla bean + almond milk.

Acai Bowl – Blend frozen acai packets with banana, berries + homemade almond milk.

Overnight Oats – Soak oats in almond milk + chia seeds for ready breakfast.

Vegetable Soup – Creamy nut milk adds richness to veggie chili or potato leek soup stock.

Pesto Sauce – Use in basil or spinach pesto instead of Parmesan for dairy/nut-free.

Quinoa Pudding – Simmer quinoa in sweetened almond milk with spices and serve chilled.

Creamy Polenta – Stir almond milk into soft polenta as an alternative to broth/dairy.

You’ll want jars of homemade almond milk on hand once you discover all the savory and sweet ways it elevates plant-based cooking.

FAQs about Homemade Almond Milk vs Store Bought

Is making almond milk difficult?

Once you learn the simple steps, making almond milk at home is actually pretty easy and neat. Just soak, blend, strain – done! Expect a little leftover almond pulp.

What’s healthier – almond milk or cow’s milk?

It depends on your nutritional priorities! Almond milk is lower calorie with more vitamin E. But cow’s milk has more protein, calcium, vitamin D. Consider hydroponically-grown almonds to absorb more minerals.

Can you use almond milk for baking like dairy milk?

Yes, homemade almond milk works great in any recipe that calls for milk! Use it for oatmeal cookies, cakes, quick breads. No need to adjust proportions. Store-bought may split from stabilizers.

What milk makes the best lattes?

In my experience, homemade almond milk makes the creamiest, tastiest lattes with pronounced almond flavor. Many store-bought almond milks become watery. Dairy milk has nice texture too.

Should almond milk be avoided due to environmental impacts?

While almond farming does utilize substantial water resources, the trees are drought-resistant. Responsible water management solutions continue improving. Choosing organic helps support more eco-friendly farming practices when possible.

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