Cooking Tip Thursdays is dedicated to making time in the kitchen quicker, easier, and just plain better…
Blanched almonds are almonds without the skins. Simple as that. So it amazes me how much more a store will charge you for already blanched almonds versus “regular” almonds. Removing the skins is so quick, easy, and fun, that it really is worthwhile to save yourself a couple bucks and buy un-blanched almonds, and then blanch them yourself.
Almonds are a great source of protein and monounsaturated fats and have been known to contribute to a reduced risk of heart disease and cholesterol. Not to mention they are loaded with the natural antioxidant vitamin E; and for those watching their glycemic index, almonds are low in carbohydrates and sugars. Best of all, when ground into a flour, almonds make an excellent alternative flour for gluten-free and regular baking.
Almond flour is most often made with blanched almonds, whereas almond meal can be made with either whole or blanched almonds. Blanched almond flour is just ground up almonds where the skin has been removed. This is typically a much finer flour and acts more like a “flour” would in baking. True almond meal is a whole almond with the skin still intact that is ground up. This creates a much coarser flour. You can grind your own almond flour by placing blanched almonds in a blender or food processor and blending until you get a fine powder. Just don’t go too far or you will have a pale looking almond butter. Use fairly small amounts, and pulse until fine.
Blanching An Almond
- Step One: Boil water in a pot on the stovetop. Enough to cover the almonds you’ll be putting in the water. That’s it.
- Step Two: Once the water boils, add your (shelled) almonds. Stay right next to the stove because you do not want to over boil the almonds. Leave the almonds in boiling water for ONE minute, no longer.
- Step Three: After one minute take the pot off the stove and gently pour into a colander/strainer.
- Step Four: Now, the cool part – pop the almonds out of their skin. While the almonds are still warm, press each almond between your thumb and forefinger and slide the skin (which will look wrinkly) off the almond from the wide end. And watch out….They will be slippery and will easily shoot out from your fingers onto the floor.
- Step Five: Lay the blanched almonds in a single layer to air out or pat dry with a paper towel. *This is an important step if you are going to grind them into a flour.