Proud Growers of California Almonds Since 1990

Cooking With Almonds

Almonds can be used successfully in combination with most vegetables, fruits, and meats, but especially shine with fish, chicken, and rice dishes. Of course, almonds are a natural in desserts.

The size and weight of almonds varies from year to year, but on average it takes about 23 almonds to equal an ounce. Two cups of whole almonds is roughly equal to one pound.

If you are using almonds in breads or muffins, you'll find that toasting the almonds first not only brings out the wonderful flavor, but it will also keep them from sinking in the batter.

Almonds are oval nuts with a mellow, sweet flavor, sold whole or cut into slivers or slices, and are available blanched (skinless).

Almond extract, a flavoring, is made by dissolving the essential oil of almonds in an alcohol base. Use products labeled "pure" or "natural" almond extract.

Almond paste is a pliable paste made from blanched ground almonds, sugar, and glycerine or other liquid. Almond extract is often used to intensify the flavor. It is used in pastries as a flavoring agent and for decorative work. It is less sweet than marzipan.

Almond paste is available in most supermarkets in 6 to 8 ounce cans and packages. Once opened, it should be wrapped tightly and refrigerated. Bitter almond paste is used to flavor Amaretto cookies.

Blanched almonds have been plunged into boiling water briefly to remove skins. They are commonly used in baked items like cakes and cookies.

Almond butter is made and used like peanut butter, it is simply raw or roasted almonds ground to a creamy consistency. It can also be used in baked goods.

Almond flour is flour made from ground almonds. It's highly perishable so you may prefer to make your own as you need it by grinding blanched almonds in a food processor or spice grinder. You'll probably need to do it in small batches to get it fine and consistent. Be sure the almonds are completely dry before grinding.

Almond milk is made from almonds that have been soaked, crushed, and strained of the pulp. It can be substituted for cow's milk for those avoiding dairy and soy products. It's easy to make your own.

Almond oil is the oil extracted from crushed whole raw almonds. Food-grade almond oil is expensive and often difficult to find.

To blanch almonds: Immerse whole almonds in a saucepan of boiling water and boil 2 minutes, then drain. When the nuts are cool enough to handle, squeeze each one between your fingers to slip it from its skin.

To toast almonds: Spread on a baking sheet and place in a preheated 325F (165C) oven. Toast, shaking the sheet occasionally, until the nuts just begin to change color and are fragrant, 5-7 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature.

To chop almonds: Spread on a work surface and, using a chef's knife, chop with a rocking motion. Or, chop the nuts in food processor fitted with the metal blade; do not overprocess or the nuts will turn into a paste.

To grind almonds: Use a countertop nut mill, the best tool for grinding nuts evenly. Or, grind the nuts with a mortar and pestle. You can also use a food processor fitted with the metal blade; do not overprocess or the nuts will turn into a paste.

To make almond milk: Almond milk is a tasy ingredient used in recipes and also as a drink by itself or with a little honey and vanilla. You can make almond milk at home with this easy recipe. Place 1 cup freshly roasted almonds in a glass jar. Cover with 4 cups water. Tightly close the jar.

  • Refrigerate for 1 day or no more than 2 days.
  • Pour into blender and blend until smooth.
  • Strain liquid from pulp through cheesecloth, applying pressure to squeeze out all liquid. Retain the almond paste pulp for other uses (almond paste pulp can be used to top cereal, vegetables, or rice).
  • Refrigerate and enjoy.