As any good bargain shopper knows, the 50 shades of lentils, dried prunes, stray flakes of nutritional yeast, approximately 47 different granola varieties, and endless free samples of crunchy, salty, tamari-coated, or chocolate covered nuts could spend hours searching the vast rows of bins for what you came for, or you could quickly be distracted. They are inexpensive and flexible, no matter what you choose to name them, with a subtle, crowd-pleasing flavor that effortlessly transforms their elegant shape from a crunchy solid into butter, milk, cheese, smoothies ornate toppings that will not overshadow a dish. Here is what you need to know in a nutshell to find the most refined raw almonds:
- Know Before You Go: Not every nut cuts, so before embarking on your almond venture, it is crucial to have a plan. Although you are not saddled with your choice of almonds for life, determine how you plan to use them in advance so that you get the best flavor possible in your culinary masterpieces or DIY nut-based milk and cheese; raw and unsalted works best. As a savory snack to sneak into the theatre or as a protein-rich energy boost, roasted, salted, and flavored almonds are nice to have on hand.
- Find Healthy Chemistry: To stop the GMO-based oils used for roasting and flavoring, buy organic almonds. Some types have a lot of sugar, salt, and soy, so you can better monitor the ingredients and nutritional value if you have the time to roast and season the almonds yourself. Pasteurization destroys bacteria with heat in food and is widely used in milk and juice processing, best when you choose to buy raw almonds.
- Bulk is not always necessarily better: buying in bulk has a certain appeal: you remove needless packaging and select the exact quantity you need. Unprocessed almonds last longer because the nutshell and brown hull, both contributing to rancidity, shield the nut’s flesh from the air, water, and light. The downside is that bulk nuts can be much pricier than their packaged counterparts, considering their minimalist appearance. This translates into a much steeper price at checkout, especially if you also buy almonds in bulk.
- Keep Your Almonds Close(d): The more processed almonds are, the shorter their shelf life will be. To maximize their life span, keep them in the refrigerator. If you are set on raw almonds, but the method left you exhausted from just reading it, you can always buy them in the shell, which somewhat protects the nut during the short pasteurization process.
Remember to enjoy your almonds responsibly, organically sourced, safely stored, and remember, your nut love is always welcome here if you feel shame from the naysayers.