Activated almonds are awesome. We’ve been soaking and low heat drying almonds for about 4 years now and have not looked back. You can taste and feel the difference. I’ve got a whole post on them from a couple of years ago here if you fancy checking out some flavours. In my first week back from holidays I bought a few ‘packet’ organics with a view to buying me some time to replenish my home made stocks of various things like fermented veg, activated nuts and nut spread, stock. I was shocked! I paid my bill and looked at the receipt later…
$9.50 – Small packet of organic activated almonds, 100g
$10 – chicken stock, house made, 500ml
$10 – tiny jar of almond butter, NON activated nor organic
These were the 3 items that really shocked me – so inexpensive to make your own! Plus, when you make your own you avoid g.s.t with single, whole ingredients. When it comes to the stock, check out my post on stock making if you’ve not made your own – you’re in for a delicious, nutrient packed treat that costs very little! And as for almonds, I thought a little experiment was in order.
So I bought 1.2kg (about 8 cups) of pesticide free Australian almonds for $20.50 and brought them home. I wanted to test the bang for buck on taking a few minutes to do something for oneself and show just how much more you could get out of a simple purchase like almonds, over buying nut butter, milk or snacks.
1. Soak the almonds in a big bowl with filtered water and a teaspoon of sea salt. Leave 12-20 hours
2. Rinse them well and spread 3/4 of them out onto two baking trays and pop in the oven on 150F / 80C. 10-12 hours OR dehydrate in a dehydrator as per manufacturer instructions.
3. To make 750ml Almond milk. Take 2.5 cups of the soaked almonds – not oven dried, just freshly soaked) and pop in your blender or Thermomix. Add 1 litre of water, 2 pinches green stevia or a tablespoon your preferred sweetener (honey, riuce malt, maple) and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean powder. Blend on Speed 8 for 30 seconds (on high for the blender) and strain in a nutmilk bag or muslin, although a nut milk bag will allow you to wring out the last of the milk and be much finer, less gritty result. Decant into a couple of jars and refrigerate for 3 days. You can use this for smoothies, adding to tea coffee / making a fortifying tonic with a pastured raw egg yolk and a tbsp of molasses syrup whisked in, add to baking… whatever you fancy for your dairy free needs!
4. With the activated almonds ready and completely cooled down (Best done in the oven, switched off and cooled there. Makes them nice and crispy). I took just under 3 cups of almonds and make assorted flavours as per the almond post or whatever ideas you fancy exploring!
5. With the remaining ready-activated almonds I made a nut butter. Blend about 2.5 cups on high until they start to turn into wet sand and then add a little macadamia oil (depending on how dry they are from the activating step, you might need up to 4 tablespoons) and a little pinch of salt and pop into a jar. For a luxury treat, I added 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean powder. Scrumptious!
Could I have changed tense or person more in a few short sentences? Probably not! But you get the drift. My point is, study that receipt. Look at what you’re buying GST charged packets of, buying things that take literally minutes here and there to make.
Many people ‘swap’ to organic and are horrified at the price change, and it’s understandable if you swap from a packet of regular almonds and then buy an activated organic packet – triple the price in fact. Chicken stock is the same, yoghurt is the same… All things we can make easily once we get the courage up and the habit happening. They’re not time suckers either. Just a little minute or two here and there to get things started / check on them, blend them up. It’s doable!
3 big jars of almonds, a big jar of nut butter and 750ml of nut milk (with pulp left over for banana bread or biscuits down the track so I’ve popped that in the freezer) all pesticide free and activated, so all lacking the enzyme inhibitors to boot.
Make your own cost – $23 (I’ve added $1.50 for incidental pinch of stevia here, teaspoon of macadamia oil there)
Buy all of that in an organic, activated and additive free state? $68
There was another jar of almond milk… It mysteriously disappeared into a near by tummy before a photo could be taken!
Where have you found the best saving by making your own version? This is the start of a series where I’ll focus on the savings that can be made with a little home made effort. This is stuff you can do while chatting, listening to tunes… It’s not hard concentration stuff and it will save you a lot of money indeed!
Real Food. Real Savings. Happy People!
Through my job I have access to some amazing bones – all free range, grass fed……usually I get them for my dog but the day before yesterday I decided the chicken carcasses were too good for the dog & made stock…..yumtastic!!!!!
Fantastic Wendy – why should your doggy have all the fun! 😉
That’s an incredible saving, Alexx. I’m nervous about leaving the oven on overnight, but I guess that is the way to do it. I also worry about the energy use – why is nothing easy?
I love making almond milk and then using the meal in a sweet bread. I had no idea it was so easy. Everyone should do it!
Really looking forward to this series as I have long suspected I save money doing things the hard way 🙂
Thanks Jo. You could always do the ‘day shift’ for the oven. I’m not too worried about the energy. I have stock and dehydrating going on at least once or twice a week and our bills are fine / energy use low because the temp is so low. Must say though we have an old gas oven so that could have something to do with it!Yes, it’s perfect in a banana bread isn’t it? 🙂
Great blog! I love seeing comparisons like this and it reminds me I am on the right track. I make my own stock, nut butters, mayo, salad dressings and just getting into some ‘milks’ plus so much more (like you I am sure) – activating nuts is something I don’t do 100% of the time – and I should – thanks for the reminder! Keep up your amazing work x
Yay. Sometimes it’s so important to do an exercise like this to prove to *ourselves* the difference I find. I’m looking forward to writing a bunch more this year and emptying the head!! 😉 Thanks Collette. Likewise x
Great post Alexx and just the motivation I need to try making my own activated almonds. I’ve seen great savings in making my own coconut milk, soy milk, coconut butter, cashew cream, vegetable stock, ice creams, juices, smoothies, dressings, curries, etc not to mention the peace of mind that comes from knowing what goes into the food I feed my family and friends. There is also the immense enjoyment from making things from scratch, and the challenge of finding ways to reduce food wastage (such as using the okara from soy milk making in cookies or bread). There are also so many sources of information and inspiration available online nowadays; And great resources such as your “Real Treats”
Yay. Glad to help to get you motivated 🙂
Love this post. Thanks heaps.
One question… do you have any tips on how to reuse the almond pulp from making milk… it starts accumulating in my fridge… and I don’t like throwing it away. I do try and make healthy snack bars with it but I can’t seem to process all of it for snacks…. no use if then the snacks won’t get eaten…
Hi Corina, I use it to pop in banana bread, a handful here and there in muffins… I don’t make a lot of it must say, it’s for the odd smoothie or cooking sauce. A good question for the community which I shall ask 🙂
Thanks so much Alexx and thanks for the FB question. I only started to make Almond milk recently as I was told to stay off dairy. And I do not like any of the store bought options as they all contain too many additives and worst of all sunflower oil which ruins the taste.
Welcome Corina! Yep, you’re right. The store bought ones are terrible or ridiculously expensive 🙂
Thanks for such great money saving tips Alexx!
Just a couple of queries which I’m hoping you can answer…
When dehydrating the soaked nuts in the oven is it best to use the fan-forced setting or not? Also, can the nuts be dehydrated at a lower temperature of 60 degrees celsius in the oven or do you find that it needs to be at 80 degrees?
Lastly, when making the nut butter I’m unclear as to whether the nuts you use have simply been soaked first or whether they’ve been dehydrated too. If you could clarify if would be much appreciated.
Where did you buy the pesticide free almonds?
Hi Elaine, you can get pesticide-free almonds from a bulk food store x