Green Almonds

{I wrote this last year at the end of Green Almond season. I decided to save and post it at the beginning of green almond season this year, so that everyone could know what green almonds are, how you can eat them, and to be on the lookout for them. They’re delicious! Actually, I think I’ll start going over to the international market to look for them soon.}

I was at the international food market near my house awhile ago, and they had some lovely green almonds. Green almonds are only available for about 8 weeks in the early spring, from about April to mid June. Although I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with them, I knew I had to get them.

fuzzy green almonds, just slightly underripe

The green ovals with their light white fluff caught my eye

cracked open almond

I've cracked open a green almond to get to the nut inside. You can see that the husk is already starting to harden and shrivel.

Green almonds are almonds with their husks or shells still on, and are soft, jelly-like, and skinless inside with a soft fuzzy shell (edible) outside. After they’re harvested, the almond shell shrivels and hardens, they shed their green fuzzy coatings, and start to look like the brown-shelled nuts that I regularly see in grocery stores. It’s at this point that they are no longer sold as green almonds.

almonds

These raw almonds make a great snack as they are; they don't need to be roasted.

In Iran, green almonds (with their shell and all) are dipped in salt and eaten as snacks. It’s said that the green almond has a sour, tangy, “green” flavor, and that the salt helps to cut down on the sour flavor. Once they start to harden, they lose that sour flavor and they start to develop sweetness.

almond shells

The shells of the green almonds

By the time I purchased these green almonds, they had already started to harden. Which means that the husk has already begun to develop its hard fibrous shell. Eating that shell would be really hard on your tummy, not to mention not being tasty. So, I cracked them open (using a simple nutcracker) and ate the raw almond inside. They’re delish! And, they don’t need to be salted or roasted once they start to age.

almond

the raw almond: simple, beautiful, tasty

I really wanted to try cooking something with them, so I decided to do a simple almond syrup.  Use this in coffee, over ice cream, in a glass of milk, or in a cocktail. This syrup could be made with regular shelled almonds for a more straightforward flavor. The green almonds have a bit of a sour “green” flavor, which is imparted into the syrup. Delicious, but different.

green almonds with fuzzy hulls or shells

I wish you could feel the soft fuzzy coating on these green almonds; it's like they carry their own little pillows around with them.

Almond Syrup

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
½ cup shelled almonds, coarsely chopped
1/8 teaspoon almond extract, optional

Place sugar, water, and almonds in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, let the sugar dissolve, and boil for one minute. Take off of the heat, and let steep for 20 minutes. Add almond extract, of using. Strain out the solids (the almonds are delicious at this point, like a sugared fresh nibble!). The syrup will keep in the fridge for a few weeks.

coffee with homemade almond syrup

Almond syrup in my morning coffee? yes, please!

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