Thursday, July 5, 2012

Mystery Produce of the Week: Fresh Almonds

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Like raccoons to shiny objects (oooh, shinnnyyyyy), I can't resist a good mystery produce. So when I started grabbing these fuzzy green fruit by the fistful with elbows up and ready to defend my right to the new found mystery produce, an elderly lady came up to me and asked a very simple question, but one that I hadn't considered: "what are you going to do with those?" After muttering something along the lines of "shinnnnyyyyy" and "I dunno," I took these fresh almonds home without knowing much more than that.

My most helpful and knowledgeable friend (google) told me that these can be consumed as-is with some salt if they are very young and have yet formed a hard inner shell. I ate one and found out that, no, mine are not very young and indeed have the inner shell, rendering the fruit almost inedible as-is.

You can clearly see the inner shell that's around the almond.
So to make these edible, my friend told me that I need to crack these open and remove the seed, which are the almonds that we typically buy at grocery stores and remove their waxy skin so to make the almonds edible. It was a labor intensive process and my knife needs to be sharpened after cracking all these hard fruit.

Upper left are almonds after waxy skin has been peeled off. The yellow/brown ones have not been peeled.
After peeling all the almonds, I simply dry toasted them in a non-stick pan until slightly browned and drizzled them with some extra virgin olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper. The result was delicious but very hard to describe. The fresh almonds tasted nothing like the store bought variety. They almost have the consistency of coconut meat -- not chewy or crunchy at all, but smooth and fleshy. They are really not like anything that I've tasted before, so it's hard to describe them exactly. But to me, they taste slightly sweet and a little milky but green and bright. (Did I just describe something as green milk?) Try them if you find them in your local market. But you might have to fight me off first.

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