Almond milk is a plant milk with a creamy texture and nutty taste. It contains neither cholesterol nor lactose, and is often consumed by the lactose-intolerant and others who wish to avoid dairy products, including vegans. Commercial almond milk comes in sweetened, unsweetened, plain, vanilla and chocolate flavors, and is usually enriched with vitamins. It can also be made at home using a blender, almonds and water.
Sales of almond milk overtook soy milk in the United States in 2013, and by May 2014 it comprised two-thirds of the US plant-milk market. In the United Kingdom, almond milk sales increased from 36 million liters in 2011 to 92 million in 2013.
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 after the Greek word αμυγδαλή (amygdalē) for the almond. 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. As of 2014 it comprised 60 percent of plant-milk sales and 4.1 percent of total milk sales in the US.:2–3
|Nutritional content of cows', soy and almond milk|
(whole, vitamin D added)
calcium, vitamins A and D added)
|Calories (cup, 243 g)||149||80||40|
|Saturated fat (g)||4.55||0.5||0|
|Vitamin B12 (µg)||1.10||2.70||n/a|
|Vitamin A (IU)||395||503||n/a|
|Vitamin D (IU)||124||119||n/a|
If unfortified, almond milk has less vitamin D than fortified cow's milk; in North America cow's milk must be fortified with vitamin D, but vitamins are added to plant milks on a voluntary basis. Because of its low protein content, almond milk is not a suitable replacement for breast milk, cow's milk, or hydrolyzed formulas for children under two years of age.
The basic method of modern domestic almond milk production is to grind almonds in a blender with water, then strain out the almond pulp (flesh) with a strainer, cheesecloth, or nut milk bag. Almond milk can also be made by adding water to almond butter.
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- Christensen, Emma (2013-05-28). "How to Make Almond Milk at Home". Retrieved 2014-10-14.
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