Almonds (Prunus dulcis), the versatile oval-shaped nuts, are the seeds of the almond tree native to Middle Eastern and Mediterranean regions. Boasting high nutritional content, including healthy fats, fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals, almonds are a popular snack and staple in many cuisines around the world. Varieties of almonds include sweet and bitter, with the sweet type being the most widely consumed.
In culinary applications, almonds can be eaten raw, dry roasted, or seasoned. They are incorporated into sweet and savory dishes including salads, granola, and baked goods. Almond products such as butter, milk, flour, and oil provide an allergen-friendly alternative for those with gluten and lactose sensitivities.
When it comes to almonds, one of the biggest mistakes people make is thinking that all almonds are created equal. They're not! Sweet almonds are delicious for snacking and cooking, while bitter almonds are used more for producing almond oil or almond extract and are not truly meant for eating in their raw form because they naturally contain toxic levels of hydrocyanic acid. Overconsumption of bitter almonds may lead to cyanide poisoning.
One way to get the most out of almonds is by soaking or sprouting them. Doing so not only makes them easier to digest, but it also releases important nutrients and enzymes that get locked up in the drying process. Toasting almonds before use in recipes can also elevate their natural flavors.
Another little known trick is how versatile almonds are in their forms. Almond flour or almond meal is excellent in baking for those avoiding gluten. Almond milk is a plant-based alternative to dairy milk. Almond butter serves as a protein-packed spread or dip. Lastly, their rich oil can be used in both cooking and natural skin care.
Can I make my own almond butter?
Why are my soaked almonds slimy?
Can you eat almonds raw?
What's the difference between sweet and bitter almonds?
What's the healthiest way to eat almonds?
Do you need to peel almonds before eating?
Can you cook with almond oil?
How do you use almond flour in baking?
What's the difference between almond flour and almond meal?
Is almond mil a good option for lactose intolerant people?
Expiration & Storage Tips
When does almonds expire?
In general, almonds have an impressive shelf life. When unopened, their typical expiration timeframe is about two years beyond the production date if stored at room temperature. However, once the packaging has been opened, try to consume the almonds within one year. If you freeze your almonds, they can last for an even more extended period - up to two years. To best determine the freshness of your almonds, observe the 'Best by' date on the package and consider the conditions where they were stored.
How do you tell if almonds is bad?
Determining if your almonds have gone bad is not too tricky! First, start by checking their appearance. If the almonds have shriveled up or developed mold, that's a surefire sign of spoilage. The second thing you may want to do is to smell the almonds. When spoiled, almonds often produce a sour or chemical-like odor. Lastly, you can taste one. A bitter or sour taste indicates that your almonds are past their prime.
Tips for storing almonds to extend shelf life
• Always store almonds in a cool, dark place away from heat and light sources.
• After opening the package, try to keep the almonds in an airtight container to maximize their shelf life.
• You can refrigerate or freeze your almonds to stretch their shelf life further. If deciding to freeze, ensure they are properly sealed in a freezer-safe bag/container to avoid freezer burn.
• When removing almonds from the freezer, allow them to defrost in the refrigerator or at room temperature before consuming.