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Aug 20, 2007 07:13 PM

Marcona Almonds - Inedible?

I purchased some marcona almonds from Trader Joe's that are salted and have bits of rosemary. I was so excited to try a new almond for a snack. I rushed home and opened them up, popped the first couple in my mouth and proceeded to spit them out and gag. They were the most bitter thing I've ever put in my mouth. I can't even describe the level of bitterness because it is unlike anything I've ever tasted. Revolting.

So, is this usual? What's the deal with marcona almonds? Everything I've read online doesn't mention bitterness once - and this isn't rancidity - that I know. It's just bitter like the bitterest greens you've ever tried. Like broccoli rabe. But more bitter.

OK, you get it - they were bitter. My husband thought the rosemary? But I don't think so, I eat rosemary all the time - in all forms and have never encountered bitter.

Thoughts? I'm afraid to open the other bag to see if it's a fluke.

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  1. Really? These are like crack in our house! I can only buy them when we're having company otherwise we'll eat the whole bag in one sitting.

    They were off the shelves in here in AZ for a bit and just came back a couple weeks ago. I haven't bought any since they've come abck(need to invite some people over! LOL)...hope they haven't changed the recipe!

    Trader Joe's is so good about returns. Open the other bag too to see how they are and if they're both bad take them back for a refund.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ziggylu

      hahaha! They are like crack in my house too, ziggylu!

      Personally, I find TJ's oversalts their marcona almonds. If you have Whole Foods nearby - definitely try theirs. Marcona's are absolutely delicious...

    2. I eat marcona almonds with every meal -- I usually get them at Costco, $6.99/lb. When I get to the bottom of the can they sometimes turn bitter but that should never happen with new ones.

      I'd return the bag to TJ's and try the other bag you have.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Bob W

        At your behest, I ventured forth. Well, first I had my husband venture forth. He tried the already open bag and said they weren't bitter at all to him.

        Hmmm. I know i have a lower tolerance for bitter than he does, but most anyone with tastebuds would've had trouble with what i tasted.

        So, I took two more out of the original bag and first i licked it, then nibbled, and yep, no bitterness. I'm guessing from all of your reports and from my second try, unfortunately the first one's i pulled out of the bag were bad. I've eaten a dozen or so now and they have all been fine.

        Thanks everyone for your help (and encouragement!)

        1. re: krissywats

          Take the first bag back to TJs- or at least tell them this story. They will refund your money.

          1. re: krissywats

            Actually, there is a variety of almonds actually called "bitter almonds". They are usually reserved for use in perfumery and in making almond extract. In the 19th century people used to use (quite literally) one or two individual bitter almonds mixed in with a large amount of the others(sweet ones) to "amp up" or intensify the flavor of whatever they were making. Now, I'm not sure it is legal to sell "bitter" almonds to the public.
            They contain very high levels of prussic acid in them(cyanide) and can be dangerous if eaten in large amounts(more than a tablespoon or so IIRC). But trees that bear bitter almonds are usually not in the same orchards as those bearing so-called sweet almonds, and I'm not sure how any might get mixed in with the usual sweet(edible) almonds. Maybe a tree had some genetic quirk and budded out a few bitter almonds that got mixed in with the sweet ones?
            OTH, I have found that rancid almonds can be quite bitter to my taste, as are almonds that still have the brown coating on them...
            Not trying to make you paranoid about bitter tasting almonds, or anything....

        2. Agree with other posters. Try them from Whole Foods, they are delicious! And TJ's will take yours back

          2 Replies
          1. re: coney with everything

            Also, in Manhattan, you can get them at DiPalo's for $9.99 a pound - much cheaper than WF - and many other places.

            1. re: coney with everything

              Whole Foods marconas are what got me hooked on this devilish treat. They are like crack dipped in crack. (Not that I would really know what crack tastes like, of course.) But, once they hooked me, they jacked the price up to $14.99/lb. For that I can get two pounds at Costco -- they aren't slathered in oil like WF's but they are still delectable.

              And since I can incorporate them into my Zone-ish diet, so much the better. I used to eat marconas at home and TJ's crunchy blister peanuts at work but the peanuts have been displaced and now it's all marconas all the time.

            2. Maybe it's the rosemary flavor. Plain ones from Costco seem to have less almond flavor and a light crunch, to me at least.

              1. In Minnesota we get them from Lund's. They are never bitter, always wonderful. I like Lund's because they are not overly salted or drenched in oil, like some that I've had.