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THE TIP

How to Blanch Almonds

Have you ever wondered how to blanch almonds? Blanching almonds is an easy and effective way of removing those gritty skins, whenever they may not be wanted in a given recipe. Usually this is a matter of texture, as the skinless, white almond that the blanching process leaves behind will serve as a smoother blending agent in cold soups, smoothies, etc. Stir-fries, pilafs, and other stovetop dishes will also call for blanched almonds, as the skin may separate from the nut as the dish cooks (and later be found impossibly stuck to a pan or uncomfortably lodged between two teeth).

You can buy blanched almonds at the store, but if you already have a bag of almonds handy, it’s very easy to do it yourself (not terribly different from blanching vegetables):

1. Boil a pot of water.

2. Immerse nuts in boiling water for about one minute.

3. Transfer boiled nuts to a strainer and run under cold water, until cool.

4. Give each almond a little squeeze – the skins will slip right off!

If you are planning on using your blanched almonds immediately, you will have to toast them in the oven for a bit (at 350 degrees, for a few minutes), or else they may still be too saturated with water. Otherwise, let them dry out on their own. If you’re just snacking, always go for whole, unblanched, natural almonds. Not only do the skins carry much of that toasty almond flavor, but they also contain important flavonoids that team up with vitamin E in the almond meat to provide a super antioxidant punch!