Place almonds in a small saucepan with water to cover. Heat to boiling over high heat. Remove from heat. Let stand 2 minutes. Drain and rinse.
If using whole almonds, pinch the skins off and discard. Process almonds, 1 cup water, and salt, if desired, in a blender until smooth, about 2 minutes in a high-speed blender.
Add 2 cups water and blend briefly. Strain through a nut milk bag, pillowcase, linen towel, or coffee filter into a bowl, and squeeze the moisture out.
Pour into a quart jar or pitcher. Add 1 cup of water. Cover and refrigerate up to 7 days. Shake before using. Makes about 4 cups.
Variations:Adjust the amount of water as desired. It can make up to 2 quarts of milk.Add ice as part of the water for colder milk.Soak almonds for 6-10 hours for easier blending.Vanilla Almond Milk: Add ½ teaspoon vanilla extract. If desired, blend in 1-2 pitted dates or 1-2 tablespoons sweetener, to taste.Cashew Milk: Substitute raw cashews for the almonds. It does not need to be strained.Condensed Cashew Milk: Reduce water to 2½ cups. Use to replace evaporated milk in recipes. It does not need to be strained.Cashew Cream: Reduce water to 1 cup. It does not need to be strained. Use in potato soup, corn chowder, tomato soup, etc. as a cream substitute.Cashew Sour Cream: Reduce water to ½ cup. Add 2-4 tablespoons lemon juice. Increase salt to ¼ teaspoon, to taste. It will thicken as it cools. Thin with water to desired consistency.Cashew-Almond Milk: Substitute ½ cup raw cashews and ½ cup raw almonds. Strain to remove pulp.Cashew-Almond-Coconut Milk: Substitute 1/3 cup raw cashews, 1/3 cup raw almonds, and ¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut. Strain to remove pulp.Cashew-Hemp Milk: ¾ cup raw cashews and ¼ cup hemp seeds. It does not need to be strained.Coconut-Almond Milk: Substitute 2/3 cup almonds and 1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut. Strain to remove pulp.Coconut Milk: Substitute 1½ cups unsweetened shredded coconut. Strain to remove pulp.Almond-or-Cashew-Rice Milk: Substitute ½ cup raw almonds or cashews and 2/3 cup hot cooked brown rice. Strain if desired.Rice Milk: Substitute 1 cup hot cooked brown rice for the almonds.