Unlike animal milk, almond milk has neither cholesterol nor lactose and being a plant food, vegans, vegetarians, and others forgoing milk foodstuff often eat it. Sold almond milk foodstuff often comes in plain, vanilla, or chocolate flavors and sometimes enriched with vitamins.
In the Middle Ages, almond milk was known in both the Islamic world and Christendom. As a nut (the "fruit of a plant"), it is suitable for consumption during Lent. Almond milk was a staple of medieval kitchens because cow's milk could not keep for long without spoiling.
Historically, almond milk was also called amygdalate. It was consumed over a region stretching all the way from the Iberian Peninsula to East Asia. Le Viandier, a 14th-century recipe collection, contains a recipe for almond milk and recommends its use as a substitute for animal milk during fast days.
In the United States, almond milk remained a fairly niche health food item until the early 2000s, when its popularity began to increase. In 2011 alone, almond milk sales increased by 79%. In 2013, it surpassed soy milk as the most popular plant-based milk in the U.S. Popular brands of almond milk include Blue Diamond's Almond Breeze and WhiteWave Foods' Silk PureAlmond.
Almonds are rich in nutrients including fiber, vitamin E, magnesium, selenium, manganese, zinc, potassium, iron, phosphorus, tryptophan, copper, and calcium. "The UK Institute of Food Research found finely ground almonds contain potential probiotic properties that could help boost digestive health by increasing the levels of certain beneficial bacteria in the stomach".
Almond milk has less protein than cow's milk and other animal milk substances. For children with atopic dermatitis under two years of age, almond milk is not a suitable replacement for breast milk, cow's milk, or hydrolyzed formulas due to the low protein.
The basic method to make almond milk at home is to run soaked almonds in a blender with water and honey (or any other sweetener), then strain out the almond pulp (flesh) with a strainer, cheesecloth, or nut milk bag. One can also blend almond butter with water and sweeteners.
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- Make your own DIY Almond Milk in Two Minutes