Here Are Some Basics About Almond Milk

Posted November 2nd, 2016

Because we often get questions about almond milk, we wanted to answer the most frequently asked -- just for you.

Almond milk seems like it’s getting really popular, right?

Yes, almond milk is increasingly popular. According to Nielsen, sales of milk substitutes grew strongly in 2015 at 9.2%. But almond milk outpaced the rest of the milk substitutes category, with sales growing 13%.

New product introductions are notable, too. According to Innova, almond milk product introductions in North America grew 71% from 2011 to 2015.

Why do people choose almond milk?

Almond milk offers a dairy-free, soy-free, lactose-free alternative for individuals looking to avoid those in their diets. People may choose almond milk for a variety of reasons, such as the desire to consume more plant-based foods, or the desire to reduce calories or sugar. The taste and creamy texture are also appealing qualities of almond milk.

Is it high in protein?

Some products may be fortified with protein or may have naturally occuring protein from ground almonds in the product, so check labels. Most almond milk is not high in protein. If you are looking for protein, you’re better off eating a handful of almonds as a healthy snack. An ounce of almonds provides 6 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber, and contains 14 grams of total fat, of which 9 grams are “good” monounsaturated fat and 3.5 grams are polyunsaturated fat (another “good” type of fat). Almonds are also high in vitamin E and magnesium, and contain several other valuable nutrients, too.

Is almond milk’s nutrition the same as that of almonds?

No. Just like there are nutritional differences between eating a steak and drinking cow’s milk, almonds and almond milk are different foods that come from the same source. Almond milk is an alternative choice people can make, which has these benefits:

  • It contains no cholesterol or saturated fat
  • Most varieties are fortified with calcium and vitamin D
  • Many of the unsweetened almond milk products have as few as 30 or 35 calories per 8-ounce serving, so it’s appealing to calorie-watchers
  • As for those looking to watch their sugar intake, the unsweetened products have 0 grams of sugar.
  • The nutrition of different almond milk products varies, so check labels and taste test to find what works best for you.

What is the best brand of almond milk?

Almond milk formulations are proprietary and vary by brand. Your taste buds might prefer one brand, while your friend has another in their fridge!

I heard that when you buy it in the grocery store, it hardly has any almonds in it, isn’t that a rip off?

If you think about it, most beverages are predominately made of water, and almond milk is no different. In general beverages range from 85-99% water.

  • Brewed coffee is 99% water
  • A full-calorie soft drink contains about 90% water
  • Tomato juice contains about 93% water1

I’ve heard that manufacturers of almond milk create a lot of waste with almonds leftover after being strained. Is that true?

Almond milk manufacturers have indicated to us that they make the most of every nut, resulting in minimal waste. According to Califia Farms, for example, 90 percent of post-production product is repurposed.

If I want to get a little DIY, how can I make it at home?

Check out this recipe created by Chef Todd Humphries.

You can even choose to skip straining the almonds and use the thick product on muesli, granola, and oatmeal, or in chia pudding and smoothies.

I actually prefer to strain my homemade almond milk. What can I do with the leftover ground almonds?

You may choose to strain your almond milk for a silkier consistency to drink straight or add to your morning coffee or other beverages.

The leftover ground almonds have a variety of uses. You can give your skin a refresh with our DIY Almond Pulp Body Scrub.

If you’d prefer to stay in the kitchen, you can make Rosemary-Parmesan Almond Pulp Crackers and Honey-Cinnamon “Graham” Almond Pulp Crackers.

Alternatively, you can dry or dehydrate the pulp, and then pulse in a food processor until finely ground into an almond flour for baking – just keep in mind that this will be drier and less flavorful than regular almond flour.

How long can I store it?

Homemade almond milk lasts about five to seven days in the fridge. A refrigerated carton, once opened, should be used within seven days. Shelf-stable almond milk, once opened, should be stored in the refrigerator and used within 7-10 days of opening.

Don't simply toss the milk after those dates; it might actually not be bad yet. Once the milk goes bad, it tastes sour, is thicker, may start to clump, and smells off. A common myth is that if it separates, it's bad, but that’s actually natural, normal, and not a sign of it going bad. Just shake well before using.2

Doesn’t it take a lot of water to produce almonds, and therefore almond milk?

Keep in mind, the water used to grow almonds produces not only a nutritious food; it also grows trees that store carbon, a greenhouse gas. Furthermore, 100% of the tree and the almond crop can be consumed, reused or recycled. After being harvested, the trees’ co-products – the hulls and the shells – are sold as livestock feed and bedding, reducing the water needed to grow feed crops. And at the end of their lives, almond trees can be chipped and returned to the soil.

Also, just like you might turn off the faucet while you brush your teeth, almond farmers have done their part to be more efficient with water. Since 1994, almond farmers have reduced the amount of water it takes to grow a pound of almonds by 33 percent, and the almond community is researching ways to further increase efficiency.

Check out our website to learn more about the full environmental footprint of almonds.

1“Most beverages consist predominately of water. In general beverages range from 85-99% water. Brewed coffee is 99% water, a full-calorie soft drink and 2% milk both contain about 90% water and tomato juice contains about 93% water.” - Laurie Troiani, Director of Product and Process Development at The National Food Lab., How Do I Know if My Almond Milk Has Gone Bad?