If you are out In the backcountry and keeping your pack weight light, it’s impossible to bring a perishable food like milk along for the journey. So, what’s the next best thing? Bring a form of powdered milk that can be re-hydrated and still give you that taste of home.
Below we’ll be discussing everything you need to know about powdered almond milk – how to make your own, where you can buy it and some yummy recipe ideas!
Putting together a backpacking trip, one thing that can be easily overlooked is the finer details of food preparation and planning. Especially when it comes to breakfast! The saying, “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” has never been truer until you’re days-in on the trail and desperate for energy and extra flavor.
Powdered almond milk is a nutritional and tasty addition to your oatmeal, coffee, and cereal.
Make Your Own:
Making Almond Milk Powder takes some time, but I recommend doing so if you are looking for the most flavor and nutrients. Powdered Almond Milk is also hard to find in the U.S. or can be expensive to buy in large quantities. To make your own Almond Milk Powder, you will have to procure a lot of almonds, and have access to a food dehydrator.
Dehydrating Almond Milk – If you want to dehydrate Almond Milk, it is best to create your own Almond Milk. This is because Commercial Almond Milk is made with a very small percentage of almonds to save money, so you’ll end up with dried Almond Milk that has almost zero nutritional value or flavor from the nuts.
How to Make Almond Milk:
- Soak almonds for anywhere between 12-24 hours. They will be soft and plump. Drain the water used to soak the nuts.
- Blend the almonds with a small proportion of water at first, then slowly add water until you’ve reached the consistency you want. For the best results, use a lot of nuts and not a lot of water. Remember, you’re making the milk for powder, so the milk doesn’t have to be super viscous or tasty.
- Use a mesh nut milk bag to strain the almond bits. The liquid left is your Almond Milk!
How to Dehydrate the Liquid Almond Milk Into Powder:
- Line a dehydrator tray with non-stick paper or dehydrator sheet and pour only enough milk on each tray to line the bottom. If your dehydrator doesn’t have trays with sides, you can make a “bowl” out of a dehydrator sheet with some paperclips.
- Turn the dehydrator to 135 degrees F for 16-18 hours until completely dry.
- The product you’ll get is similar to a baked brittle. Break up and grind the brittle until you get a fine powder. You can use a clean coffee grinder or a manual grinder.
Is Almond Milk Powder Healthy?
Almond Milk is a healthy alternative to Cow’s Milk. Whether you are Vegan or Lactose Intolerant/Sensitive, or just enjoy the taste of Almond Milk, it is a tasty option to consider. Enriched Almond Milk is very high in calcium, vitamins E and D, and very low in sugars and calories compared to cow’s milk.
The nutty flavor is another big motivator for Almond Milk trail consumers, as it brings a little bit more taste to meals like backpacking cereal and oatmeal.
Enriched Vs. Not Enriched:
Since Almond Milk does not contain as much calcium as Cow’s Milk, some producers enrich it with Calcium and Vitamin D. If you make your own Almond Milk, there will not be any Vitamin D in the product. If you are on the trail, however, you are probably getting enough Vitamin D from sunlight.
Sweetened Vs. Unsweetened:
It has become common for brands to make sweetened almond milk, which has more sugars and calories. It is harder to make your own Powdered Almond Milk with sweetened liquid Almond Milk because it is made from more water and sweetener than nuts.
In the case of making your own pre-packaged oatmeal or cereal mixes, you can also add sugar, cinnamon, or cocoa powder to sweeten the mix. At least then, you know what sweeteners you are consuming, versus the processed gums and artificial sweeteners that might be in sweetened almond milks.
Buying Powdered Almond Milk:
There are a bunch of powdered milks out there in the world. It is important to read the labels when buying Powdered Almond Milk. There are Powdered Almond Milk Mixes which are made for making Asian Bubble-Teas. This stuff tastes very odd when by itself or in anything other than bubble tea. These mixes also usually contain powder from Cow’s Milk and are not Dairy Free.
If you are looking for pure Almond Milk Powder, it is imperative to look at the ingredient list of the milk powder you might purchase; a lot of Almond Milk Powder products on the market have additives, gums, and other processed binding agents in the mix.
- There is a U.S. based company called JOI that has recently made strides as one of the best powdered milk producers because of their short ingredient list: Blanched California Almonds. This nutbase is Dairy Free, Vegan, Gluten Free, Non GMO, Kosher, and made in the U.S.A. There are 7g of protein per 2 tbsp of Almond Milk Powder, making this a pretty great addition to backcountry meals.
- BioFinest is another American brand that makes an Organic Almond Powder. BioFinest uses freeze drying to get its fine powder. There are no additives or sweeteners in this powder.
Using Almond Flour:
This is best if you are just wanting Almond Milk Powder for food purposes like cereal and oatmeal. You can find Almond Flour at almost any grocery store. For the best results, I suggest using a superfine-ground Almond Flour. You will not end up with a super creamy milk consistency, and there will likely be some small particles floating.
If you’re only using the powder for oatmeal and cereal, you’ll hardly notice the floating bits and although it’s not the creamy goodness of fresh Almond Milk, it is still better than water!
I personally love using Almond Flour for trail oatmeal because it adds just enough flavor to make a difference and is easy to acquire.
Not Almond Milk, but Another Alternative:
REI sells a powdered milk creamer made by Laird Superfood. Laird’s creamers are Dairy Free, but are made with Coconut milk powder, organic extra virgin Coconut oil, and Aquamin. Aquamin is calcium from marine algae and is packed with healthy minerals. Laird’s powdered milk creamers have zero refined sugars or artificial flavors.
If you are interested in using a powdered milk substance for your coffee as well as your meals while backpacking, this might be a great option for you. Laird Superfood has one Dairy Free creamer with organic cacao powder added. The cacao powder adds an extra energy boost and supports cognitive performance.
Chocolate Banana Oatmeal:
- Mix Oatmeal, Chocolate Milk Powder, Brown Sugar, Dehydrated Bananas, Dehydrated Blueberries, Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (I prefer the mini-chips), and Chopped Walnuts in a large bowl.
- Use Ziplock bags to make serving size portions of your oatmeal. Pour about 1 cup of your mix into a bag.
- Add 1/4-1/2 cup Powdered Almond Milk or Almond Flour in each bag.
To prepare this meal in the back-country, simply heat up water, and add it to the oatmeal mix in a camp bowl. Add enough water to get the consistency you like and let the mix sit until oatmeal is soft.
This recipe is also great with Shaved Coconut, Honey, White Chocolate Chips, or even Chopped Almonds to add to the Almond Milk. If you have a Food Dehydrator, you can easily dehydrate other fruits to add to this (or any) recipe. If regular Chocolate Milk Powder makes the mix too sweet for you, experiment with Dark Chocolate Hot Chocolate Powder or Dark Chocolate Chip Morsels instead of the sweet ones.
Strawberry Almond Oatmeal:
- Mix Dehydrated Strawberries, Dehydrated Blueberries, Oatmeal, Brown Sugar, White Chocolate Chips, Chopped Almonds, Vanilla Powder, Chopped Walnuts in a large bowl.
- Divide up into Ziplock bags, 1 cup per bag.
- Add 1/4-1/2 cup Powdered Almond Milk or Almond Flour to each bag.
To prepare this meal in the backcountry, simply heat up water, and add it to the oatmeal mix in a camp bowl. Add enough water to get the consistency you like and let the mix sit until oatmeal is soft.
This Oatmeal Recipe is also great with Dried Bananas or other Berries such as Raspberries, Blackberries, etc. This is a sweet tasting oatmeal breakfast but packed with all the fruit sugar and protein from nuts and oats that are perfect for the trail.
There are many ways to use Powdered Almond Milk on the trail, and I highly recommend experimenting with it in your trail recipes. If you’re looking for a tasty alternative to your current Powdered Coffee Creamers or want to add some extra flavor and nutrients to your breakfasts, Powdered Almond Milk is a great prospect.
If you are interested in dehydrating food for the trail, something like the Nesco Snackmaster is a great product to start with and will easily earn it’s worth within the first few times you use it for backpacking meal preparations. Either for meals, or snacks, dehydrating food is a great way to preserve all the nutrients and shed weight. The dehydrating possibilities are endless. I personally love making my own dehydrated fruit mixes or drying vegetables and chicken stock to use in trail soups.
Daniell is a certified outdoor climbing guide with professional experience climbing throughout Colorado’s Western Slope region. She is based out of Fort Collins, CO and enjoys trail running, desert climbing and overnight canoe trips.