Many recipes call for blanched almonds, which are almonds with their dark skins removed, because the outer coating of the nut may either mar the appearance of the final dish or come off during the cooking process. Although you can find blanched almonds in most supermarkets, removing the thin membrane on almonds you already have is a lot easier than you may think, and will you save money.
Steps to Blanch Almonds
In just a few simple steps, using just almonds and water, you will have blanched almonds in no time. First, place the almonds in a bowl. Then pour boiling water into the bowl to barely cover the almonds. Let the almonds sit for 1 minute and no longer. Make sure not to let the almonds sit in hot water too long or else they'll lose their crispness.
Drain the water from the bowl using a colander and rinse the almonds under cold water; drain again. Pat the almonds dry with a soft cloth or paper towel. To slip the skins off the almonds, take one nut at a time and pinch one end allowing the skin to loosen. The nut will basically pop out of its skin, so be sure to have your other hand there to catch it; otherwise, you will have almonds flying across the room! Let the blanched almonds dry completely before using in a recipe.
Storing Blanched Almonds
Natural oils in the almonds can become rancid so it is important you store the blanched almonds properly. Blanched almonds that are kept in a tightly sealed container in a dark, cool, dry place will last about a month. Alternatively, you can refrigerate them for up to 3 months or freeze them for up to 1 year. Whole almonds have a longer shelf life than pieces or slivers.
Slivered Blanched Almonds
Blanched almonds can be cut into slivers, which add an attractive texture to yogurt, ice cream, and other treats. After the nuts are blanched, warm them up slightly to make slivering easier—a short 10 seconds in the microwave will do the trick. Then, using your sharpest knife, slice the almonds vertically and carefully, one at a time.
Recipes Using Blanched Almonds
Try adding your blanched almonds to cooked green beans, yogurt with fruit or honey, chicken salad, or a broccoli and feta salad. Or use them to make Spanish fried almonds, a typical tapa that is perfect for snacking. They can be pan-fried or microwaved and eaten either hot or cold. Another Spanish recipe that calls for blanched almonds is Romesco sauce, which combines roasted red peppers, tomatoes, bread, and vinegar with the nuts creating a sauce perfect alongside seafood.
Of course, blanched almonds often take a place on dessert ingredient lists, such as with Polish almond crescent cookies and easy butter cookies with almonds.