As Autumn approaches, nature lets us know it’s time to shift from foods that are cool and crisp to foods that are more oily in nature. In summertime, salads, melons and cooling drinks have been the order of the day to beat the heat. In Autumn, however, the environment becomes dry and dusty, often with the heat from summer lingering on.
While it’s okay to continue to enjoy the bounty of cooling summer foods and methods of preparation as we transition into Autumn, we must also add some oily foods. One of my favorite foods for this is almonds.
The almond is an incredible food that doubles as medicine. As a food, it is very balanced in carbs, protein and fat, making it an ideal source of nourishment. As medicine, it is neutral in temperature, sweet in flavor, and influences the lungs and large intestines. The oil contained in almonds lubricates the intestines. Almonds ventilate the lungs, relieve cough and asthma, transform phlegm, and alleviate constipation.
I love eating almonds straight, or as almond butter. But I think my favorite way to enjoy almonds is through fresh almond milk. You won’t believe how easy the following recipe is, taught to me by one of my favorite herb teachers, Cathy McNease. Make this, and you won’t want to buy the store-bought stuff ever again!
Makes 1 Liter/Quart
3/4 cup fresh, raw almonds, shelled. You may optionally blanch them by covering with hot water, then slipping the skins off once the water is cool. This will ensure that your almond milk will be white in color – like cow’s milk. 1 Liter/quart filtered water, divided 1 tablespoon grade B maple syrup or fresh local honey 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Large bowl or pitcher with cover Storage container or jar with cover Cheesecloth Blender
Rinse almonds. Place in large bowl or pitcher. Cover with 2 cups filtered water.
Cover and store in the refrigerator for 8-24 hours.
Place almonds and soak water in a blender (nothing fancy needed). Blend. Strain into large bowl or pitcher through cheesecloth. Squeeze out all the liquid goodness.
Put the almond meal that’s in the cheesecloth back into the blender. Add the remaining 2 cups filtered water. Blend. Strain into the same large bowl as the first batch.
Put a small amount of the almond milk back into the blender. Add either maple syrup or honey, and vanilla. Blend. Reunite with the big bowl.
Store almond milk in a clean 1-2 Liter/Quart pitcher, jar, or other container with a lid. Keep under refrigeration and consume within 5 days. Use as you would any kind of milk.
I love making smoothies with almond milk. To really open up the lungs, add ½ ripe pear, some of your favorite berries, and ¼ – ½ small-medium avocado to 1 cup of the almond milk sweetened with honey. Blend and enjoy. Feel your lungs open up immediately! This is great for asthmatics, any type of bronchitis or dry feeling in the lungs.
One last thing – use the almond meal as an ingredient in baked goods or as a facial and body scrub to add softness and luster to your skin. Keep this refrigerated also and use within 5 days.