I met my friend Emily at the age of 8. We had tea parties, we picked flowers, and we may have also tortured snails and slugs in the yard. I reminisce about things sporadically but there’s one thing I had completely forgotten from way back until now: strawberry milk.
Over the years, I spent many-a-weekend accompanying Emily and her family up to her grandparents’ house in Montecito. “Gaga” and “Papa” weren’t always at the house, but there were certain things I came to expect there. The squeeze bottle in the fridge of sweet, sweet, strawberry syrup was my favorite. Even trips during college included mixing the strawberry concoction into milk.
When I wasn’t in Montecito I never really thought twice about it. But this week I had these great strawberries on their last leg and it came to me. I decided to try my hand at recreating it but perhaps with a more refined palate. This version is simple, has no added sugar, and is packed full of sweet strawberries. So here I am, years later with a strawberry milk drink in my hand thinking about those weekends at Gaga and Papa’s place.
Emily: I hope you make this for your boys and I hope they like it as much as I do.
Homemade Strawberry Almond Milk
1 1/2 cup whole almonds, soaked overnight
3 1/2-4 cups of water
8-10 strawberries, hulled and quartered*
2-3 teaspoons honey
Discard the almond soaking water and rinse the almonds until the water is clear. Place in a blender with 3 1/2 cups water and blend thoroughly.
Place a fine-mesh sieve over a bowl. Line the sieve with a piece of cheesecloth large enough to fall over the edges. Pour slowly through the cheesecloth. Push the liquid through the cloth with a wooden spoon. When all of the liquid appears to have gone through, pick up the cheese cloth in your hands and squeeze the excess liquid into the bowl. There will be plenty more.
Add the chopped berries to the milk and 2 teaspoons of honey. Blend with an immersion blender, in a blender, or simply muddle it if you like it chunky. If you like it sweeter, add more honey.
Serve chilled. This also works with blackberries but strain the milk in order to remove some of those berry seeds.