Also Known as
Description of Almonds
Fortunately, the delicately flavored and versatile almond is available throughout the year to make a healthy and tasty addition to both sweet and savory dishes. The almond that we think of as a nut is technically the seed of the fruit of the almond tree, a medium-size tree that bears fragrant pink and white flowers. Like its cousins, the peach, cherry and apricot trees, the almond tree bears fruits with stone-like seeds (or pits) within. The seed of the almond fruit is what we refer to as the almond nut.
Almonds is known as the King of Nuts are off-white in color, covered by a thin brownish skin, and encased in a hard shell. Almonds are classified into two categories: sweet and bitter.
Sweet almonds are the type that is eaten. They are oval in shape, usually malleable in texture and wonderfully buttery in taste. They are available in the market either still in their shell or with their shell removed. Shelled almonds are available whole, sliced or slivered in either their natural form, with their skin, or blanched, with their skin removed.
Bitter almonds are used to make almond oil that is used as a flavoring agent for foods and liqueurs such as Amaretto. They are otherwise inedible as they naturally contain toxic substances such as hydrocyanic acid. These compounds are removed in the manufacturing of almond oil.
Almond flakes are slices of almonds that can be added to cakes, biscuits and any other sweet treats you make. They add a wonderful crunch when toasted and added to a salad or simply tossed into a stir-fry. Almond flakes also add a special flavour and decoration to any cookie,kheer or summer cooler drink that calls for nuts. It can be easily prepared at home by slicing the almonds using a fine sharp knife into very thin pieces (care should be taken so as to avoid cutting the fingers). Sometimes, a peeler can also be used.
Blanched and chopped almonds
Take almonds and soak them in hot water for 15 minutes. Drain and peel the skin. Chop the almonds. Use in desserts and Indian sweets.
Blanched and sliced almonds
Take almonds and soak them in hot water for 15 minutes. Drain and peel the skin. Slice the almonds. Use in desserts and Indian sweets.
Blanched peeled and powdered almonds
To blanch the almonds, put them in a pot, pour cold water, and bring it to boil. As soon as it starts boiling, switch off the flame, drain the almonds and rinse them with cold water. Once blanched, squeeze the almonds lightly so that the skin loosens and then peel them. The skins should come off easily. To make powdered almonds, place the almonds in a mixer and blend till smooth or course, as the recipe requires.
Broken Almonds are the one broken cross-wise, evenly or unevenly.
Wash the almonds, dry them with a cloth and place them on a chopping board. Chop the almonds finely or coarsely with a sharp knife and use as required in the recipe.
Chopped and roasted almonds
Wash the almonds, dry them with a cloth and place them on a chopping board. Chop the almonds finely or coarsely with a sharp knife and use as required in the recipe. To roast almonds, place them in a non-greasy non-stick pan and dry roast them on a medium flame. Toss them continuously with a wooden spoon for about 2 minutes to avoid burning. Remove them from the heat when they are either light or dark brown, whichever is preferred, and then let them cool down.
Almonds are good for snacks but very difficult and cumbersome to peel. To peel almonds easily, put them in a pot, pour water, and bring it to boil. Make sure you start with cold water. When it boils, rinse almonds with cold water. You can now easily peel almonds.
Peeled and sliced almonds
After peeling they can be sliced thickly or thinly using a sharp knife.
Peel or unpeel the almonds as preferred. Then, cut the almond in half. Slice using a sharp knife by cutting vertically across the cutting board. Slice them thinly or thickly as the recipe requirement. It can be sliced raw, roasted or blanched, as per the recipie.
To soak them, simply cover them with purified water in a glass or stainless steel container overnight for 12 hours. You can then drain and refrigerate them. This easy step can fit into even the busiest of schedules so that you can get all the healthy benefits of almonds.When soaked; almonds act as protein plus nitrogen. This protein helps your blood sugar stabilize throughout the rest of the day. Also, can be enjoyed on its own or a handy way to make almond paste or almond milk.
How to Select Almonds
Almonds that are still in their shells have the longest shelf life. If you find them in the shell, shake it. If it rattles a lot, chances are its aging and shrinking. Purchase whole almonds and chop or slice them before each use for the freshest flavor. Aged almonds will turn rancid. To check for rancidity, slice the almond in half and look for a solid white texture throughout. If it is yellowish or has a honeycomb texture, it is way past its prime and should be discarded. The skin of the almond is edible, but sometimes bitter. Taste first, if it's not too bitter, doesn't bother removing it as it will add flavor to the recipe.
Look for shells that are not split, moldy or stained. If purchasing almonds in bulk bins make sure that the store has a quick turnover of inventory and that the bulk containers are sealed well in order to ensure maximum freshness. Look for almonds that are uniform in color and not limp or shriveled. In addition, smell the almonds. They should smell sweet and nutty; if their odor is sharp or bitter, they are rancid.
12 Culinary Uses of Almonds
1. Add a punch to plain yogurt by mixing in some chopped almonds and dried fruit.
2. Enhance a healthy sauté of curried vegetables with sliced almonds.
3. Add some homemade almond butter to a breakfast shake or just have it plain to boost its taste and protein content.
4. Almonds and apple slices make a wonderfully simple, on-the-go power snack.
5. Its super easy to make Almond Milk at home which is made from 100% Almonds and ZERO sugar added.
6. Make "nut crumbs" by adding whole toasted almonds to the bowl of a food processor and pulsing on and off until the almonds are coarsely ground. Use them as a wholesome gratin topping for casseroles, or sprinkle on pasta and grain dishes.
7. Bursting with flavor, savory seasoned almonds are the perfect topping for your favorite side or main dish. In a nonstick skillet over medium-low heat, toss whole natural or slivered almonds in a small amount of vegetable oil until golden. Add your choice of dried herbs, then sprinkle over salads, vegetables and pasta.
8. Use Almonds to make a super healthy Almond Bread at home for a healthy gluten free breakfast.
9. Visual appeal is important in low-fat cooking. Make a prudent parfait look sinful by layering frozen yogurt, pureed frozen berries and toasted sliced almonds in an elegant stemmed glass.
10. Satisfy your palate while watching your waistline by steaming your favorite fresh vegetables and sprinkling them with toasted, sliced almonds. Serve with wedges of lemon or lime. You will get the entire flavor and all the benefits of a healthy, low-fat meal.
11. For a healthy snack, i love the flavoured Saffron Cardamom Almond Milk which i keep in the fridge and stays good for 2 to 3 days, so make a larger batch.
12. For a healthy desserts try Almond Berry Coconut Cake and Almond Coconut Bars.
How to Store Almonds
Since almonds have a high fat content, it is important to store them properly in order to protect them from becoming rancid. Store shelled almonds in a tightly sealed container, in a cool dry place away from exposure to sunlight. Keeping them cold will further protect them from rancidity and prolong their freshness. Refrigerated almonds will keep for several months, while if stored in the freezer, almonds can be kept for up to a year. Shelled almond pieces will become rancid more quickly than whole shelled almonds. Almonds still in the shell have the longest shelf life.
Nutritional Information of Almonds
28 grams of Almonds or a mixture of Nuts like Walnuts, Cashew, Peanut, Pistachio and Pine nuts are recommended per day.
RDA stands for Recommended Daily Allowance.
Nutritional Information for 28 grams ( 1 ounce) of Almonds.
5.82 grams of Protein
2.94 grams of Carbs
16.4 grams of Fat
7.3 mg of Vitamin E = 48.6% of RDA (about 15 mg)
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8 Health Benefits of Almonds
1. Good for Brain : B vitamins are said to be good for Brain health and Almonds have Riboflavin, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B1, Thiamine , Vitamin B3, Niacin , Folate, Vitamin B9 .
2. Balances Cholesterol Levels : Almonds are rich in Vitamin E which can fight free radical damage, which leads to cholesterol oxidation. It also slows down the hardening or thickening of arteries.
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Glycemic Index of Almonds
Almonds has a Glycemic Index of about 5 to 10 which is low. Glycemic Index are for foods you eat, ranks carbohydrate-containing foods by how quickly they digest and raise your blood sugar or glucose levels. Foods rank from 0 to 50 are low GI, 51 to 69 are medium and 70 to 100 are high. Foods that are high in GI are not suitable for weight loss and diabetics. Foods like Almonds have a low GI and hence don't spike your glucose level as they are absorbed slowly. Great for weight loss and Diabetics.
Health Information of other Nuts:
11 health Benefits of Peanuts
11 health Benefits of Walnuts
9 health Benefits of Cashew Nuts