Also Known as
What is almonds, badam?
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, badam
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, don'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.
Culinary Uses of almonds, badam in Indian Cooking
Almond, even though considered to be a nut, is actually a seed of the fruit of the almond tree. They are used in Indian cooking for desserts and making the basic badam milk. Nevertheless it is known as the kind of nuts as it is extremely healthy in many respects. Almonds have a brown skin/coating and are off-white in color from the inside. They are slightly sweet in taste which makes them a delight to eat even raw.
1. Almonds are generally eaten raw, toasted or salted. They can be mixed with other dried fruits to be served as a snack. Whole or chopped almonds mixed with rolled oats and cinnamon is an ideal Healthy Granola Mix.
2. Almonds are one of the few basic nuts, including cashews and pistachios that are used in sweet and dessert making in India. Indian sweets from all around the country utilize almonds, for example Gujarati Mohanthal is garnished with almond slivers and it is also added to the ever favorite Coconut Sheera. Enhance a healthy sauté of curried vegetables with sliced almonds.
3. Finely grind the almonds and use them to make a sweet Badam Ka Halwa. This is the perfect sweet for any festival and occasion celebrated in India due to its nutty flavor.
For complete uses of Almonds (Badam) read this article.
How to store almonds, badam
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.
Health benefits of almonds, badam
1. Brain health : Almonds is the powerhouse of innumerous health benefits. Almonds are rich in B complex vitamins such as Vitamin B1, Thiamine, Vitamin B3, Niacin and Folate, Vitamin B9 which plays an important role in the brain development especially during the first 2 years of life. Additionally it is also rich in manganese which is a very important mineral for brain and nerve functioning. It is known to improve your concentration and memory
2. Balances your cholesterol levels : Almonds are extremely rich in antioxidant flavonoids that pair up with Vitamin E and scavenges free radicals that causes inflammation. Thus prevents oxidation of LDL cholesterol. Hence almonds have a strong property of lowering the LDL cholesterol. It also aids in increasing good cholesterol levels. It is also known to reduce HDL cholesterol. The balance between LDL and HDL cholesterol is very crucial to maintain healthy blood cholesterol levels.
3. Good for Heart : Almonds is an extremely rich source of MUFA which improves your overall heart health. Vitamin E, a potent antioxidant helps prevent the accumulation of plaque in the arteries. In general, walnuts, almonds, pistachios and pine nuts are a healthy snack to carry keep with you as they are rich in monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. Almonds have Phosphorus which works with B vitamins to maintain normal heart rate. Always remember to have your nuts in moderation to minimize other complications.
Look here for more information on Almonds Health Benefits.
RDA stands for Recommended Daily Allowance.
Nutritional Information for 28 grams (1 ounce) of almonds, badam.
5.82 grams of Protein
2.94 grams of Carbs
16.4 grams of Fat
3.4 grams of Fiber
7.3 mg of Vitamin E = 48.6% of RDA (about 15 mg)
0.7 mg of Manganese = 35% of RDA (about 2 to 5 mg)
104.4 mg of Magnesium (Mg) = 29.84% of RDA (about 350 mg)
137 mg of Phosphorus : 22.86% of RDA (about 600 mg for adult)
0.16 mg of Riboflavin, Vitamin B2 = 14.5% of RDA (about 1.1 mg)
64 g of Calcium = 10.7% of RDA (about 600 mg)
5.82 g of Protein = 10.58% of RDA (about 55 g)
1.23 mg of Vitamin B3, Niacin = 10.26% of RDA (about 12 mg)
1 mg of Zinc = 10% of RDA (about 10 to 12 mg)
1.42g of Iron = 6.7% of RDA (about 21 mg)
0.067 mg Vitamin B1, Thiamine = 6.7% of RDA (about 1 mg)
9.2 mcg of Folate, Vitamin B9 = 4.6% of RDA (about 200 mcg)
209 mg of Potassium = 4.4% of RDA (about 4700 mg)
Glycemic Index of almonds, badam
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