I hate clickbait headlines, but they sure are fun to write! I’m fairly certain your head will remain intact after reading this article, but hopefully the subject matter will intrigue, educate, and delight you, because it did me. I found something at the store last week that I never seen before, and since I’m a curious sonofabitch, I bought some.
Do you know what these are?
I had no idea, and when I read the sign, I immediately grabbed a produce bag and selected some to bring home.
They’re GREEN ALMONDS! Basically, they’re young, immature almonds. (And by immature, I mean they’re loud, prone to interrupting, and lack table manners.)
Since I had no idea what to do with them, or if I’d like them, I only counted out fifteen for my purchase.
I did some research, and here’s what you didn’t know about almonds (or maybe you do, and you’ve been keeping a secret from the rest of us, in which case, shame on you): They’re not nuts at all. Botanically, they’re in the stone fruit family, which means they’re related to peaches and apricots and nectarines. These little guys even have a velvety, fuzzy skin, like some peaches.
Inside these pods are an almond, but these are harvested before the almond is ripe – and even before it’s fully hardened. If you’re lucky and have good timing (and happen to live in California, with a vast majority of all almonds are grown), you can sometimes find these around this time of year when they’re so young that the entire pod is edible, fuzzy skin and all, and the almond inside is gelatinous, with the consistency of a grape.
These guys, though, aren’t that young. The outer hull has hardened beyond the point of edibility, but the almond inside hasn’t quite finished cooking, so to speak.
I used a paring knife and split one open.
Here’s the baby almond inside!
Here’s a whole bunch of baby almonds!
I bet, if I looked, I could find recipes that would give me ideas about what to do with them, but to be honest, I only had 15, so I just ate them as a snack. They’re milky and bland, with just a hint of almond flavor. They’re firm to the touch, but not nearly as hard as a fully mature almond. The texture was more like a water chestnut or jicama.
From what I’ve read, it may already be too late in the season to find green almonds that are so young they’re still gelatinous, but I’ll keep my eye out. In the meantime, I loved learning more about where almonds come from, and how they grow (because I had no idea whatsoever).
Oh, and these guys have pretty much the same nutritional profile as their fully-developed siblings. You end up eating much less of them when you have to do a little work to get them out!
Keep it up, David!