Though individually “skinning” almonds sounds like an arduous task, blanching them is quite easy and only takes a moment, literally. Many recipes both savory and sweet call for blanched almonds: frangipane, almond flour, almond butter, the list is virtually endless. As with many small acts of independence, there are monetary benefits to it. Blanching your own almonds is significantly cheaper than buying them pre-blanched, not to mention the feelings of self-reliance and confidence in one’s own powers which it instills in both your capable hands.
The process of blanching is a classic culinary technique in which food is briefly immersed into boiling water or fat. After cooking for only a moment the food is then plunged into an ice water bath to halt the cooking. This is referred to as “shocking”. This method is often applied to vegetables as it heightens their color but is also commonly used to remove the skins of tomatoes or almonds.
“The word of the LORD came to me saying, “What do you see, Jeremiah?” And I said, “I see a rod of an almond tree.”
– Jeremiah 1:11
Emerson’s Blanched Almonds
Raw Almonds, as many or as few as desired
Bring a small pot of water to a rolling boil.
Pour your almonds in, allowing them to boil for exactly one minute. Boiling them any longer will leave the almonds soft.
Pour your almonds into a colander immediately and rinse with cold water to cool them and stop the cooking process.
Transfer your almonds to a clean kitchen towel or a paper towel and blot the nuts dry. You’ll notice that the almonds have taken on a shriveled appearance.
Using your fingers, pinch the almonds by one end, they should come out of their skins easily. In fact, they have a habit of shooting out of their skins at an amazing rate, picking up enough speed to sail across the room and lodge themselves into the remotest corners of your home. Squeezing them from one hand into the other helps prevent this.
Once all the skins have been removed, spread them out on a pan and allow them to dry completely.
The natural oils found in almonds shortens their shelf-life and makes rancidity a valid concern. In order to preserve your almonds for as long as possible, store them in an airtight container in a dark, cool place. If space allows, refrigerate them, this lengthens their shelf life to three months and freezing allows you to safely keep them for an entire year.
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