As the cooler weather approaches, those belly warming casseroles and stews are a welcome change from summerâ€˜s lighter fare, but they can sometimes lack that coveted texture and crunchiness. Adding a few handfuls of heart-healthy almonds can boost the nutritional value of your fall recipes and deliver a lovely nutty crunch. Here’s more on almonds and ways to incorporate this good for you nut into your cool weather autumn fare.
Fast almond facts
Health benefits of almonds
Studies show that almonds are one of the healthiest nuts you can nosh.
This tasty nut:
- lends heart-healthy benefits.
- helps with weight maintenance.
- is packed with protein and good for you fats.
- has prebiotics which help with digestive health.
- is rich in antioxidants, vitamin E, and fiber.
- contains other beneficial nutrients.
- is cholesterol-free and may even help lower serum cholesterol.
A handful of almonds a day can benefit your health in many delicious ways.
Selecting the freshest almonds
Though most almonds are shelled before you purchase them, you can still find unshelled almonds, which actually have a longer shelf-life. When buying shelled almonds, opt for the freshest packed. When buying unshelled almonds, choose nuts that have dry, unsplit shells that are mold- and blemish-free.
Store shelled or unshelled almonds in a sealed container and keep the container in a dry, cool, dark place, like the pantry. Keep unshelled almonds in the shell until you are ready to use them; this will let them last longer. If preferred, you can also refrigerate or freeze almonds to keep them fresh even longer.
Preparing almonds for recipes
You can buy shelled whole almonds raw, roasted or blanched. You can even roast and blanch your own almonds.
To roast almonds: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place almonds on a baking sheet and spray with cooking oil, tossing to coat. Roast for about 10 minutes, shaking the pan after 5 minutes to flip almonds. Keep an eye on the nuts as they will quickly burn.
To blanch almonds: Simply place raw almonds in boiling water and boil until their skin begins to come off. Rinse almonds in cold water and rub off the remaining skin.