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Did you know that approximately 110 almonds fit into one cup? (Okay, it would be kind of weird if you knew that, but I counted for you—you’re welcome.) Considering it takes over a gallon of water to produce a single almond, there's a small amount of guilt involved when we toss out the pulp leftover from homemade nut milk, too.
Psst: If you have not jumped on the make-your-own-alt-milk bandwagon yet, the process is a piece of (vegan) cake. To make a quart, simply blend 1 cup of raw almonds (soaked for 8 to 10 hours) with 3 1/2 to 4 cups of filtered water, a pinch of salt, and a teaspoon or 2 of honey or maple syrup (if desired). Strain the mixture through a nut milk bag (and the award for Most Awkward Name for a Kitchen Tool goes to…) and enjoy in place of dairy milk.
Homemade almond milk has garnered a cult following for its clean, almondy taste, and lack of preservatives or stabilizers, which can give it a viscous texture. The downside to making your own vegan milk is the leftover pulp. Most cooks simply don’t know what to do with the stuff and end up throwing it away. Here’s why you shouldn’t: Although most of the fat is extracted from the pulp while blending, much of the protein, fiber, and minerals remain behind. Considering the ample natural resources required to grow almonds and the fact that they cost at least eight dollars per pound, throwing away these precious leftovers is a very silly thing to do.
There is one item I turn to again and again with leftover almond pulp: granola. It’s an easy, versatile and delicious way to use up this nutritious ingredient. After making the milk, I usually store the pulp in an airtight container in the fridge until I’m ready for another batch of granola; if I plan to store it for longer than 5 days, I freeze it instead. Here’s how to make almond pulp granola (without a recipe):
1. Dehydrate the Pulp
Spread 1 cup of almond pulp (what’s leftover from a quart of milk) in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake in a 350º F preheated oven until dry and slightly crisp, 15 to 20 minutes.
2. Choose Your Own Adventure
While the pulp bakes, raid your cupboards for dried fruit, nuts, seeds and spices to decide on your flavor combination. A few options I love are pistachio, cardamom and chopped dried apricots; sesame seeds, ginger and dried cherries; and my favorite (photographed here): coconut, dark chocolate, and sea salt.
3. The Mix-in(s)
In a large bowl, stir together 1/4 cup liquid sweetener of your choice (maple syrup, honey or agave), 3 tablespoons oil (I prefer virgin coconut oil), 1/4 teaspoon salt, a bit of vanilla extract, and any dried spices you’ve decided on. Next, add the dehydrated pulp, about 1 1/2 cups rolled oats, and a couple of tablespoons of chia seeds, if you have them, for a nutrient boost. Using a rubber spatula, stir the ingredients together to coat evenly.
4. Bake it
Increase the oven temperature to 375° F. Place the granola back on the parchment-lined baking sheet and bake until golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Add any raw nuts or coconut flakes in the last few minutes of baking to toast them up. Then remove the granola from the oven and cool completely.
5. Final Touches
After the granola has cooled, sprinkle in any dried fruit, chocolate, and/or coarse sea salt. Transfer to an airtight container and store in a cool dry place for up to 2 weeks. This makes about 4 cups.
How do you like to save and use scraps? Let us know in the comments!