Small, sweet and scrumptious, almonds are super easy to grab on the go, and they’re packed chock-full of nutrients like riboflavin, magnesium and potassium that keep energy levels up and hearts healthy. But contrary to popular belief, almonds aren’t actually nuts. They’re technically seeds of stone fruits that originate with a soft green shell and play cousin to juicy favourites like cherries, peaches, plums and apricots. From April to June, look out for for unripe almonds — known as green almonds — whose distinct but subtle fruity flavour makes taste buds pop and soups and salads shine.
Almonds in their early stages can be plucked straight off of the tree, and if left on the branch, their green coating will harden into the tough brown shell that protects mature almonds. Because green almonds get firmer in texture as the season goes on, early ones have an almost grape-like feel, and later ones are much harder. They can be eaten whole or cut in half to scoop out the gelatinous white and creamy almond growing inside.
With a jelly-like soft inside and a fuzzy exterior, green almonds are only in season for a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it eight-week period. Pick up green almonds for home from a local farmer’s market and soak them in brine or milk to soften them for snacking. Sprinkle them with a bit of salt and sugar and share with friends or bring along to the park or school. They can also be thrown into soups or salads — they go great with spring lettuces or spinach — or tossed in pasta with lemon juice and parsley.
Halibut dish on Maude’s almond menu in May 2015. Can you spot the ‘green’ almonds?
Intrigued? For more inspiration on how to use green almonds this spring, check out Curtis’s All About Almonds Pinterest board!