Thursday, July 18, 2013

How Do You Milk an Almond?

Now I have tried soy milk and honestly I do not like it at all.  I do not like the taste whether plain, vanilla or chocolate, and the after taste is even worse.  I kept seeing commercials for almond milk and this interested me somewhat.  Being diabetic, I knew that almonds, as a snack, reduce blood sugar and blood pressure levels; so could this almond milk do the same?  I purchased a carton of Silk brand Pure Almond, Vanilla Flavor, Unsweetened to try out, not just on cereal as the commercials suggest, but also for my coffee.  50% more calcium than milk, only one gram of carbs per a one cup serving, and loaded with vitamins; how bad could it taste...its almonds.

On cereal, it was pretty good; it enhanced the whole grain flakes with a subtle flavor of vanilla and almond.  My cereal already had a sweetener added to it and good thing. The almond milk alone is very bland tasting of watery almonds, and no wonder why!  I looked up how almond milk is made; basically almonds are soaked in water for 8-12 hours.  Strained (wouldn't that remove some of the nutrients?), then blended with filtered water until smooth.  It is strained twice more to remove any fibers or particles before it can be used.  During the blending process, sweeteners can be added, or not; and nutrients added in also; I guess to replace the ones that went out with the "bathe" water.   So yes, it is basically watery almond juice of sorts.  Oh, and my blood sugar reading afterwards was lower than if I used skim milk, so a plus in the "on cereal" column.

Next came the real test for me, how does it match up against coffee creamers (sugar free of course) or half n' half?  First I tried it without adding any sweetener to my coffee (regular, not flavored)...not good.  Again the subtle hint of vanilla and almond, but the bitter coffee taste was still strong.  I added two packets of stevia, much better, but not quite there.  I added two more packets and there it was, just the sweetness I liked and the vanilla and almond flavors were much stronger too. 


Now texture wise I wasn't too happy; it was very thin, thinner than even skim milk.  It also looked like milk that had been watered down...a lot.  I like my coffee light, but the almond milk only achieved a muddy looking color.  I also had to use twice the amount of almond milk, as opposed to creamer or half n' half, to get it to that coloring.  While the taste, with the stevia added in, was fine; the coloring really turned me off.

Basically, using almond milk for cereal is fine, if you don't mind the watery texture.  Using it for coffee though gets a huge thumbs down from me.  Drinking it as a substitute for milk; well I won't give judgment on that as it was unsweetened, and milk has its own natural sugar to sweeten it. 

Mary Cokenour