- When to harvest almonds?
- How to keep almonds?
- How to enjoy the benefits of almonds?
The almond blossoms offer a magnificent spectacle and especially particularly pleasant since at this period - February - the vegetation is still asleep. With this bloom of white and pink flowers, beware of spring frosts, to harvest almonds in late summer!
- See the almond tree (Prunus dulcis amygdalus)
When to harvest almonds?
To obtain almonds, it will not only be necessary that the cold not be invited in the spring but moreover that the fruiter is not planted alone because it needs a tree of a pollinator variety within 15 meters.
If all the conditions are met, the almond tree will give drupes to dry pulp, velvety light green skin called shell containing the shell in which is the kernel commonly called almond.
Fresh or green almonds are harvested by hand from late June - early July but it depends on the climate (between 10 and 25 days before the total maturity): they are eaten without delay, are milky and sweet to the taste.
Dry almonds buckle from late August - early September as soon as the shell begins to open.
If you collect them with their envelope, it will be necessary to leave them there to preserve only the kernel in its very hard woody hull.
How to keep almonds?
Once cleared of their envelope, the almonds in their shells keep one year without any problem in the open air, on a shelf or in a basket so that the air circulates, in addition to the occasional brewing which you will be able to make, by the way. An airy room rather cool will be preferable to a closed and warm space.
Beware of mice and other rodents who may be interested if you store almond baskets in a place that these little animals frequent!
Stored and broken down regularly, you can consume almonds according to your needs by breaking the shell with a nutcracker to extract the almond.
How to enjoy the benefits of almonds?
The properties of almonds
Highly caloric (400kcal / 100g), the kernel is rich in fat (50%), protein (25%) and fiber (12%). It offers a supply of vitamin E (antioxidant), B2, B9, B3, B1, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, zinc, manganese, copper, iron; it contains very little carbohydrate but provides phytosterols, which would have a beneficial action against cholesterol. Almonds contain a fatty oil rich in oleic acid (monounsaturated fatty acid) and linoleic (polyunsaturated fatty acid).
The bitter almond contains a cyanogenic glycoside, the amygdaloside, which makes it toxic and usable only at low doses to perfume. Sweet almond is the one that is commonly consumed and used.
The use of almonds
The sweet almond is interesting in the treatment of gastric ulcers, including diabetics since it contains only 20% of carbohydrates.
Sweet almond oil is used as a laxative in infants, but is mainly used for its softening and moisturizing properties in dermatology and cosmetology.
Athletes appreciate almonds for the vegetable proteins and essential amino acids they bring.
As for cooking, the sweet almond is used firstly to prepare the syrup of orgeat, refreshing and calming.
Today, the "almond milk" that is obtained from pureed almonds and water has only milk color, it has no nutritional relationship with the milk of origin animal. This vegetable drink is mainly used by vegans who want to replace soy milk for cooking and by people who say they are lactose intolerant.
In cooking, the kernel is used in different forms - whole, hulled (without the thin brown skin), tapered (cut into very thin slices in the direction of the length) - and in different ways - nature, grilled, salted.
The almond is one of the 13 desserts of the Provencal Christmas! It is also made of sugared almonds, nougat, croquets, tiles while almond paste is inserted into the disguised fruits. And in pastry, the almond serves as a base for frangipane, among many other uses and gourmet recipes.
Recipe for orgeat syrup
Unlike its name, orgeat syrup is not made with barley although... originally, this emulsive drink was made with barley until almonds replace barley, keeping the name!
To make a delicious orgeat syrup with no artificial flavors, you need:
- 170g sweet almonds
- 50 g of bitter almonds
- 40 ml + 500 ml of water
- 250 g + 800 g of sugar
- 4 tablespoons orange blossom water
In a mortar, stack the two kinds of almonds together by adding 40 ml of water and 250 g of sugar, until a thin paste is obtained.
Add 500 ml of water to dissolve the dough, then express everything to make the milk out. Add 800 g sugar and melt in a bain-marie. Perfume with the orange blossom and taste to adjust.