Almonds, the light brown jewel-shaped nuts that actually aren't nuts at all, they are seeds! The almond tree itself is a member of the prunus family. This category of stone fruit encompasses trees and shrubs that produce edible fruit like cherries, plums, peaches, and nectarines.
Almonds are native to the Middle East, and can be found spread along the shores of the Mediterranean into northern Africa and southern Europe. More recently, almonds were transported to other parts of the world, including California, which is now the only state in the USA where they are grown. Almonds make a wonderful addition to any salad or eaten by the handful as a healthy snack.
Almonds that are still in their shells have the longest shelf life.
Select almonds that are uniform in color and that do not appear limp or shriveled. Smell the almonds, they should smell sweet and nutty.
Pack almonds in an airtight container, which is important for keeping the nuts from becoming rancid but also for preventing the almonds from absorbing outside odors.
When stored properly, almonds can keep up to 2 years.
To roast almonds at home, do so gently—in a 160-170°F (about 75°C) oven for 15-20 minutes—to preserve the healthy oils.
Add some almond butter to a breakfast shake to boost its taste and protein content.
Bitter almonds, which come from a different tree than regular sweet almonds, contain a small amount of the poisonous compound cyanide, eating over 30 of these almonds could kill a person.
Traditionally, sweet almonds are edible, while bitter almonds are used to make almond oil, a common oil that is used to add flavor to food.
When baking with almond flour, keep in mind that the finer the grind, the better the result.
Because of the lack of starch and gluten, almond flour usually needs extra “binding” ingredients to lend somen volume and stability. Ingredients such as eggs, vinegar, extra baking soda/powder are the easiest way to make that happen.
Whole shelled almonds can be chopped by hand or can be placed in a food processor. If using a food processor, it is best to pulse on and off a few times, instead of running the blade constantly, as this will help ensure that you end up with chopped almonds rather than almond butter.
We don't recommend blanching almonds because blanching nuts removes their skin and they are no longer considered a whole food.
Almonds are a great source of vitamin E, manganese, biotin, and copper.
Almonds are also a good source of magnesium, vitamin B2, and phosphorus. Although one-quarter cup of almonds contains about 11 grams of fat, the fat found in almonds is heart-healthy monounsaturated fat.
Almonds are a source of many nutrients which help in the development and health of the human brain. They have been connected to a higher intellectual level and they have long been considered an essential food item for growing children.
Almonds are known to help with weight loss and satiety.
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