Valentine's Week 2021

Mary

My first fermented almond milk – or how to boost your immune system

This week it's the carnival week. It is kind of like Halloween, but nothing scary and nothing to do with witches, with the main idea behind being scaring the winter away. You have probably seen or at least heard of the famous one that takes place in Venice every year (yes even in 2021, albeit in much reduced numbers and without tourists). In Slovenia we call it PUST – read poost. 

The weather is nice – sunny, but freezing cold– as winter should be.  Anyway, instead of putting a costume on, I have been lying on the sofa, surrounded with vitamin C, vitamin D, and litres of hot ginger tea (nothing to worry about, it's not Covid, so the doctor – and the test – said). 

But you know how it goes, unless it is man-flu, which women clearly cannot get, we can’t stand (or lay) still. I was getting bored, so I decided to take all of my energy and prepare fermented almond milk. 

Now, why fermented? 

Firstly, I have never tried it, my sister keeps going on about it, how she is doing this and doing that and how she is adding it to her food on a daily basis, so I wanted to do something she has not done (good old sibling rivalry).

Secondly, anytime I feel a little bit down and rough as if my immune system is not up to scratch, I start to reflect a little bit over what I eat and whether I eat enough fruit and vegetables and whether I drink enough and so on. Kind of standard what you do with kids on daily basis (here you go, have chicken nuggets… haha just joking). So today I decided to try something new, especially because I’m a proud owner of my own copy of the book Ferment!, which, shame on me, I haven’t used very often…. until today.

During the first Covid lockdown (yes, a year ago… like Whaaat???) it was quite a big thing if you were baking your own bread. That is, of course, if you managed to find any flour or yeast on the deserted shelves of the shops. And as there was no yeast to be found (I really don’t know how much people were baking) so many savvy bakers – yes myself included (so I say, not sure if anyone agrees) – started making their own sourdough starters (fermented yeast) and baking bread at home. Yes, sourdough starters are THE THING! And it is really nice to see how the starters are being passed among friends, almost like a small competition, check how my starter is better than yours. The fact is, once you’ve made it, if you keep feeding it, you can grow it forever. Literally. But more about starters another time. 

Ok, now back to fermentation; what would we point out as the key points of Ferment(ation)s?

If we completely avoid the scientific description of the process, it is the natural preservation of different types of food (from vegetables to fruits, drinks, etc.) by usually just simply adding salt.

“New” creations (when comes to food) are usually like salads or relishes, but again you can make it the way that you like.

You will definitely notice an immediate improvement in your digestion. 

So if you follow my grand example of not starting with the easy ones, but going in hard core, give this Fermented Almond Milk a go:

You will need:

  • 200 g almonds
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp almond extract (I used vanilla extract)
  • 1300 ml water
  • 1litre jar with lid

Method:

  1. Blanch the almonds for a minute in freshly boiled water, then drain them and rinse with cold water.
  2. Remove the brown skins from the almonds.
  3. Dissolve the salt in 750 ml of water (this is how you get the brine).
  4. Add the almonds to a litre jar and add the brine. Cover with a clean cloth, secured with an elastic band and leave overnight.
  5. The next day drain the almonds and save the brine in a separate bowl. 
  6. Blend almonds in a food processor or smoothie maker along with the 550 ml of fresh water, lemon juice, almond extract and honey until smooth.
  7. Add the remaining 750 ml of brine and stir to ensure the ingredients are evenly distributed.
  8. Pure the mixture back into a litre jar, close the lid and leave at room temperature for 48 hours.
  9. And that is it. Keep the “milk” in the fridge and use it until you feel it has gone off. 

And how did my first experiment go? I have to say that it tastes quite fine. Mind, I’m just a beginner fermenter and I am only getting the hang of things. However, definitely something that I will continue to explore and keep you posted.

Till next time, I salute you and keep ploughing through these weird times.

Xoxo Mary