How to Make and Sell Almond Milk

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Figure 1 - Costs involved in making almond milk.
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Creamy, healthy and delicious almond milk is so easy to make.
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Almonds are a super-food.

We’ve discovered how to combine fresh almonds with apple
juice to create a non-dairy milk that’s fantastically good
tasting. It’s also chock-full of essential vitamins, amino
acids, enzymes, minerals, and fruit sugars … and ripe
with home business possibilities, too! To show you what I
mean, I’d like–if I may–to tell you how Michael
and I happened onto almond milk, and how we reaped a
“healthy” profit selling the drink to health food stores in
and around Vancouver, British Columbia.

It all started one cold, rainy November day shortly after
Michael and I had returned–penniless–to
Vancouver following a summer of nomadic wanderings in
Cinnamon, our VW van. I’d had–and was able to
endure–a sporadic throbbing in one of my eyeteeth for
quite some time, but upon our arrival home the pain had
become agonizing and unbearable.

The next day we went to see the dentist, who looked into my
mouth and promptly prescribed $250 worth of root canal
work. “No way!” Michael exclaimed … and that was the end
of that.

So–rather than spend money we didn’t have–I
immediately embarked on a cleansing fast and scoured the
herbal guidebooks for alternate methods of dealing with
tooth problems. I ended up with a dental plan that included
the following: a calcium and silicon-rich tea made from
horsetail, oat straw, and comfrey leaves (to nourish the
gums and teeth) … a mouthwash–and
poultice–containing powdered myrrh and goldenseal,
for their healing and antiseptic qualities … chaparral
for pain … and a tea of specially blended herbs, rich in
B vitamins, to nourish and build nerve tissue. (These herbs
included–among others–black cohosh, catnip,
cayenne, hops, lady-slipper root, lobelia, mistletoe, red
clover, skullcap, valerian, and wood betony.)

Over the next few days my face swelled “out to here” and
the pain became excruciating, but finally–to my
immense relief–an abscess broke through the gum and
drained. Ten days of “herbal therapy” later, the swelling
had completely subsided and my tooth stopped throbbing. I
felt weak … but the worst was over.

The Almond Milk Discovery

On the night of my “recovery”, I spied some almonds in the
house where Michael and I were staying. I found the nuts–to
say the least–powerfully alluring. “Michael,” I said,
“do you think I could have some almonds?”

“Absolutely not,” he replied. “That’d be too much chewing,
and anyway almonds are too heavy a food for you to break
your fast with.”

“Perhaps you could make a nut butter out of them in the
Champion juicer,” I suggested. And Michael did … but the
ground almonds–while easy enough to swallow–did
feel quite heavy in my stomach. In an attempt to remedy
this situation, Michael put a few spoonfuls of almond
butter in the blender along with some apple juice … and
produced a beverage that was light and strengthening, and
as satisfying as the creamiest malted milkshake!

I doubt if Michael slept a wink that night. “Look,” he
whispered, waking me up, “Suppose we sell ‘almond milk’ at
the health food stores. Think of it! It could do wonders
for babies … or nursing mothers!”

“Or anyone,” I added.

Fifteen minutes later–after I’d dozed
off–Michael woke me again to say that perhaps the
drink’s flavor could be enhanced by the addition of
cinnamon and nutmeg. And fifteen minutes after that he had
yet another great idea. (This one-sided conversation went
on all night.)

The next day, we made up a batch of apple/nut milk to sell
at the neighborhood natural food store … and it was a
rousing success! We offered samples in little cups, and
watched with delight as everyone in the store partied on
the creamy, rich beverage. (The cashier–who hailed
from eastern India–asked us if we’d ever been to
Benares. “There,” he told us, “people make a drink
consisting of almond milk and a little hashish . . . .”)

A day later, our leftover nut milk was as fresh tasting as
when it first left the blender (although the
“cream”–as with fresh cow’s milk–had risen to
the top). That’s yet another of almond milk’s many virtues:
It never seems to go bad … even after a week in
the refrigerator!

Since our initial “discovery” of the beverage, we’ve done
some experimenting and come up with a few improvements to
the basic almonds-and-apple-juice recipe. For example,
we’ve found that–just as Michael had thought from the
beginning–cinnamon and nutmeg do enhance the
drink’s taste. (A touch of vanilla helps, too.)

Also, we decided to include sesame tahini in the milk to
both improve its flavor and boost its calcium content.
(Sesame tahini, incidentally, is a creamy spread made by
blending together a tablespoon and a half of lime juice,
six tablespoons of water, one-half cup of finely ground
sesame seeds, and a teaspoon each of oil and dried kelp.)

Our justification for the sesame tahini went something like
this: The body uses both phosphorus AND calcium to
build teeth and bones … and an excess of either mineral
in the diet leads to excretion of that mineral. Yet we know
that almonds contain twice as much phosphorus as
calcium.
By adding sesame tahini (which is rich in
calcium) to the drink, then, we strike a balance between
phosphorus and calcium . . . leading to more efficient
utilization of both nutrients by the body.

Likewise, we later added Brazil nuts to our recipe, since
they contain an extra essential amino
acid–methionine–and thus add something to the
milk’s protein content.

The result of all this is that we now have a
nutrition-packed “nut nog” that’s as vitalizing as it is
delicious. (A few of the many nutrients contained in the
juice are listed in Table 1.)

It’s Easy to Make Almond Milk

Almond milk is easy to make … all you need in the way of
“special equipment” are a grain mill and a blender. (We’ve
found that for home use, the Corona hand operated corn mill does a very
satisfactory job of grinding almonds, sesame seeds, and
Brazil nuts.) Strictly speaking, though, you don’t really
even have to have a mill. We’ve found that if we let the
almonds soak overnight in apple juice, it’s possible to
whip up a batch of “milk” solely with the aid of a blender!

To make about five quarts of almond milk, all you have to
do is blend together the following ingredients:

[1] One gallon of organic apple juice
[2] Approximately 2 to 2-1/2 pounds (about 4 to 5 cups) of
almonds, either finely ground or in the form of a nut
butter
[3] One-half pound (7 to 8 tablespoons) of finely ground
sesame seeds or 4 to 5 tablespoons of sesame tahini
[4] One tablespoon of Brazil nuts, finely ground or in the
form of a butter (optional)
[5] One tablespoon of powdered cinnamon
[6] One tablespoon of powdered nutmeg
[7] One tablespoon of vanilla
[8] One tablespoon of lecithin (optional).

After blending, strain the milk and bottle it. (Note:
Refrigerate the juice as soon as possible, unless you
intend to drink it right away.)

We usually decant the 160 ounces of rich, creamy liquid
into two quart-sized (32-ounce) bottles and six pint-sized
(16-ounce) bottles, which we then sell to the health food
store for $2.25 per quart or $1.15 per pint. (The quarts
and pints retail for $2.85 and $1.55, respectively.)

See Figure 1 for our “per batch” cost breakdown (all prices are wholesale).

Obviously, the batch cost could be reduced further if we
recycled the pint containers, but this isn’t always
possible. (Usually, though, we are able to reuse
the quart bottles.)

We sell the 160 ounces of nut nog to stores for $11.40 (two
quarts at $2.25 each plus six pints at $1.15 each). So you
can see that our profit per five-quart batch comes to an
even $5.00 … which ain’t bad for about two hours’ work.
(Remember, this is the kind of “work” you do in your own
home, at your own pace, while you sip juice and make small
talk with a friend.) Your profit could be
considerably higher, if you could get one or more
ingredients-the apple juice, say-at a lower cost.

Variations on the Almond Milk Business

Anyone going into the nut nog business in a big way would
probably be wise to convert the almonds and Brazils into a
finely ground butter prior to making up batches of milk.
This does two things: It eliminates the need for (and time
spent on) a straining step, and it makes the nuts go a bit
further (since you don’t end up straining out–and
throwing away–tiny nut fragments).

Michael never stopped experimenting with different versions
of the milk and–as a result–our nut nog never
came out the same way twice. One of Michael’s most
brilliant gastronomic achievements–and something
you’ll want to try yourself–was his nondairy yogurt.
Simply [1] buy a package of yogurt (or kefir) starter at
your local health food store, [2] sterilize a quart bottle,
[3] heat some unstrained almond milk to 180° (too hot
to touch, but not boding), then [4] when the milk has
cooled to room temperature, pour it into the sterile
container and add the yogurt or kefir starter. Store the
liquid at room temperature for 24 hours, and voila! Almond
milk yogurt! (Hint: To make more yogurt, repeat the above
procedure using three tablespoons of almond yogurt in place
of the starter.)

We also occasionally make a scrumptious “chocolate almond
milk” by adding roasted carob powder to the basic milk
recipe. (Invariably, this was–when we were making
it–our best seller. You should’ve heard the “oohs”
and “aahs” whenever we walked into the store carrying
armloads of chocolate nut milk!)

Another variation that’s definitely worth trying is
carob-mint almond milk. Just add five drops of pure
peppermint oil extract to a pint of carob flavored nut nog,
shake, and pour. (You’ve got to taste it to believe it!)

So there you have the story: the complete story–in a
nutshell–of how Michael and I got hooked on almond
milk. We’ve made a healthy profit selling this healthful
beverage, and there’s no reason why you can’t do the same.
All you really need are almonds, apple juice, a blender,
and a little determination. (Plus, perhaps, an aversion to
$250 dental bills!)