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Slicing Whole Almonds

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mialebven Nov 21, 2007 11:03 AM

I would like to know what's the best way to slice whole almonds? Are there any tricks? Tips?

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  1. MMRuth RE: mialebven Nov 21, 2007 11:04 AM

    I've actually not tried - I buy either slivered or pre-sliced ones - I imagine it's pretty difficult to achieve at home. Hopefully others will have more helpful suggestions.

    4 Replies
    1. re: MMRuth
      chowser RE: MMRuth Nov 21, 2007 11:20 AM

      It sounds challenging. I'm wondering how they do it when you buy them cut. They get them so thin and all the same direction.

      1. re: chowser
        k
        karykat RE: chowser Nov 21, 2007 11:57 AM

        I have always bought them precut in the little bags at the grocery store. Last week at the coop, I noticed that the sliced almonds were in a big jar in the cooler. Even though the other nuts including almonds are in bins unrefrigerated. So I assume the sliced ones go stale faster. I would be afraid to try to slice them. Sounds hazardous.

        1. re: karykat
          m
          mialebven RE: karykat Nov 21, 2007 12:47 PM

          That's what I thought! And because of that, I bought whole almonds... so that I could use them longer than the sliced ones. But I didn't realize until after I bought them that I would have a hard time figuring out how to slice them! I even tried to do a search on google. Urgh!

          1. re: mialebven
            JoanN RE: mialebven Nov 21, 2007 01:14 PM

            Did you come across this from thenutfactory.com?

            "When we need a sliced almond, we fire up our Urschel CC slicer and get ready to slice up to 4,000 pounds of almonds an hour. The almond has to be heated to about 160 degrees to make it soft and pliable. Too much heat and it cooks the almond thoroughly. Too little heat and the cold nut (almond) shatters."

            Guess that's why we can't do it at home.

    2. v
      violabratsche RE: mialebven Nov 21, 2007 01:44 PM

      I've noticed that when I need to blanch the almonds, to skin them, they are completely soft, and easily sliced or chopped, but a little slippery. I don't usually chop or slice them, but I have. I mostly roast them after blanching and removing the skin. I don't usually purchase them blanched, as the skin is good, when just grabbing a handful of almonds to munch on. And they're usually cheaper by a good amount, unblanched.

      AnnieG

      1. k
        kayakkent RE: mialebven Sep 9, 2008 08:02 AM

        I needed sliced almonds and only had whole so I tried to slice them but they didn't slice well at all. So, I warmed them up in the microwave until they were quite warm to the touch (10 second intervals) and tried again, this time they sliced really well!

        1. k
          karykat RE: mialebven Sep 9, 2008 08:45 AM

          I found this on a web site called practically edible. It explains why it is hard to make sliced and slivered almonds. It sounds like kayakkent came up with the same method they use to make them commercially:

          Slivered Almonds

          Slivered almonds are almonds that have been sliced very thinly into little sticks. They differ from sliced almonds, which are almonds sliced across their diameter giving you much bigger pieces. If you can't keep the shape distinction clear in your head, think of getting a sliver in your finger and what that is shaped like.

          To make sliced or slivered almonds, commercial producers have special machines that will process about 4,000 pounds of almonds an hour. The machine heats the almonds to about 160F to make them pliable, so that they won't shatter when being cut. Slivered and sliced almonds cost more relative to whole almonds, as you have to pay because of the extra work that was done for you.

          Sliced and slivered almonds are just about impossible to make at home. The food processor won't slice them, it will chop them and then grind them. It's really not something you can do by hand, either; they will split like crazy on you and you may lose a finger in the process. If they weren't so readily available in packets at the stores, no recipes would be calling for them. The recipe writers expect you to buy them that way. The kicker, though, is when a recipe calls for slivered or sliced almonds (which are more expensive than whole almonds), and then has you pulverize them in a food processor. Use whole almonds instead as they are cheaper, or just buy ground almonds and be done with it.

          1. m
            M.A. RE: mialebven Oct 1, 2009 12:47 PM

            I cooked my almonds for 20 seconds in the microwave and they sliced beautifully!

            1 Reply
            1. re: M.A.
              velva RE: M.A. Dec 10, 2010 03:34 PM

              I know this ? was asked several years ago but I just today needed to know the same thing. None of the answers sounded good to me so I thought why not try my food processor and use the shredder wheel, so I did after heating the almonds in the oven at 350 degrees for about 3 min. I then put them through the processor and the came out pretty much O.K. not as perfet as the store ones but useable to me .

            2. l
              lcole24 RE: mialebven Feb 5, 2011 10:40 AM

              I came across this post while trying to see if I could chop raw almonds for a slivered almond granola because I didn't have enough packaged ones in the freezer. Judging by the responses it looked almost impossible but I tried it anyway and it was super easy.

              First I blanched the almonds in boiling water for 2 minutes, then rand them under cold water in a strainer, then pushed the skins off with my fingers (took 30 seconds total, very easy). Next I coarsely chopped them with a small Santoku knife like you would garlic, and that was it! Very simple and works just fine in a pinch.

              3 Replies
              1. re: lcole24
                k
                karykat RE: lcole24 Feb 5, 2011 11:26 AM

                Would you have been able to slice them into little rounds? (Like you can buy?)

                1. re: karykat
                  l
                  lcole24 RE: karykat Feb 5, 2011 01:03 PM

                  No, I wouldn't have been able to slice them thin - for any recipe calling for "sliced" I would definitely buy them that way. These were stand-ins for "slivered" which are the matchstick style almonds. They didn't get that matchstick shape, but the pieces were just fine for granola (probably baking too).

                  1. re: lcole24
                    k
                    karykat RE: lcole24 Feb 6, 2011 09:24 AM

                    And I'm sure they tasted great. A good method for processing them at home.

              2. toodie jane RE: mialebven Feb 5, 2011 11:32 AM

                I asked a local farmer's mkt almond grower if he would ever do the sliced almonds and he said the machine is too costly for him--he'd lose money on the deal.

                I can CHOP almonds, but not sliver or slice them, just not do-able at home.

                It's always easier to heat them slightly, then chop. But I would never attempt fiddling with one almond at a time to sliver, and slicing is not possible.

                ANYthing is expensive in itty bitty packages. If you have a recipe that you use often calling for either blanced whole, or sliced or slivered, ask your local bakery to order you a #10 can of Diamond. Or look for them in the #10 online. Almonds freeze well.

                1 Reply
                1. re: toodie jane
                  k
                  karykat RE: toodie jane Feb 5, 2011 11:55 AM

                  We have them in bulk at our coop. The whole ones but also the slivered ones and little sticks (can't think of the right word.) The slivered and stick ones are refrigerated. So you can get just as much as you need and it's way cheaper than buying in store packages.

                  I like the idea of freezing too.

                2. h
                  haiku. RE: mialebven Feb 6, 2011 11:10 PM

                  When I was younger (to this day, actually), my mom only ever bought whole almonds and sliced them, rather than the pre-sliced. She uses it a lot in Indian sweetmeat decoration, so they have to be sliced pretty well. I've helped her with them (and took over doing them in my teenage years), so I can tell you how she did it.

                  Put the almonds (with skins) in a large bowl and pour some warm water over them. Leave to soak overnight. the next day, you should be able to slice them. When you remove an almond from the water, the skin slithers off easily. I only know how to slice these holding up, not on a board. Holding the almond against your thumb, drag a really sharp knife across the edge. Continue with the rest of the almond.

                  To get rid of the water in the almonds, she would then lay them out in a baking sheet, and dry them out in a sort of double boiler scenario (heat a pot of water, turn off the heat and put the baking sheet on the top, or when cooking, lay the baking sheet on top of the hot pot) for a few days.

                  Perfect sliced almonds. The only really time-consuming part was the actual slicing.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: haiku.
                    k
                    karykat RE: haiku. Feb 7, 2011 08:09 AM

                    I don't think my sharpest knife is sharp enough.

                    Did the almonds lose flavor in soaking?

                    1. re: karykat
                      h
                      haiku. RE: karykat Feb 7, 2011 01:09 PM

                      I realised when leaving my mom's house that she always had ridiculously sharp knives, and now I can't use anything else. The knife also has to be small enough (if you have small hands) to be comfortable to hold for a while.

                      I've never found them to lose any flavour in the soaking; remember that you'll be drying them out again once sliced.

                  2. r
                    Rlafol RE: mialebven Nov 4, 2011 04:16 AM

                    Here are the tricks & tips:
                    1.) You will need a slicer. I used a Presto Chipshot which has a potatoe chip slicing cone.
                    2.) You will need one or two cookie sheets, depends on how many almonds you want to slice. I sliced a quart jar full of raw whole almonds which came from a health food stores' bulk food section.
                    3.) You will need almonds of course.
                    4.) You will need an oven capable of being set to 160 degrees Farenheit. Newer ovens with digital display may have that temperature available on the Warming cycle.
                    5.) You will need luke warm tap water and a large serving spoon.

                    Here is the process:
                    A.) Put the almonds into a container and fill the container with luke warm tap water that covers all the almonds. Then set them aside.
                    B.) While the almonds are soaking, turn on your oven to the Warming setting and set the temperature at 160 degrees Farenheit.
                    C.) While oven is warming up, Set up your slicer with potatoe chip blade or cone. I set my Presto Chipshot right on a cookie sheet.
                    D.) When oven is warm, drain water from almonds and pour the almonds out onto a cookie sheet. Place them in oven. Set a timer for 15 - 20 minutes. The oven will warm the almonds up and make them softer.
                    E.) When timer rings, don't take cookie sheet out of oven. Use a large serving spoon and scoop out a small quantity of almonds (about 12) off of the cookie sheet in the oven. Put them into your slicer.
                    F.) Turn on slicer and slice the almonds. My Presto Chipshop has a plunger. I put in a few almonds, put in the plunger, turn chipshot on, press plunger in and sliced almonds come out.
                    G.) Slice all of your almonds a few at a time. I found that if I put too many into the slicer at a time, they would not slice, but instead the slicer would just make crumbs.
                    H.) When all almonds have been sliced, turn off the oven which has been keeping the almonds warm. Put all your sliced almonds onto a cookie sheet and place it into the cooling oven to help dry them out. Stir ocasionally while the oven is cooling off.
                    I.) Put your now dry almond slices into a carton and keep it in your fridge. That will help to keep them from going rancid.

                    Notes: If the almonds will not slice, check your oven temp. If they don't get hot enough they will not soften. If they get too hot they will bake and turn into rocks.

                    I put my sliced almonds into a strainer and shook all the powdered bits and pieces into a cookie sheet. Then I had powdered almond bits separate from the slices for other uses.

                    Yes it did slice the almonds, they actually turned out pretty nice. I think they are actually thinner than the commercial slices. It is a much cheaper way to get sliced almonds.

                    10 Replies
                    1. re: Rlafol
                      Quine RE: Rlafol Nov 4, 2011 09:43 PM

                      Can you explain how these are cheaper? You need a special slicer. You must process, meaning your time (how much to you cost yourself out an hour?) your kitchen (cost that out) the energy (carbon print) gotta cost that out. Since you are trying to do this first time, while reading or remembering what you read, bet you mess it up, so try two or three or...buy the darned sliced ones already, it's for one frakin recipe! I cannot believe how "home cooks" spend SO much more $$$ saving a few cents. Cost in all prep must be accounted for even your own time! geesh if you won't price yourself out as a professional, at least price your time as minimum wage!

                      1. re: Quine
                        bushwickgirl RE: Quine Nov 5, 2011 01:57 AM

                        I think it's pretty clear that this is not a cost effective method of producing a product that basically costs that same as the product in whole form, to say nothing of how little fun it would be. But who knows, my idea of fun is not the same as other people's

                        I can only imagine the poster lives in an area where supermarkets are extremely limited and the almond supply is in great abundance, as is time and energy.

                        1. re: bushwickgirl
                          Quine RE: bushwickgirl Nov 5, 2011 07:38 AM

                          Possible, but then I would just smash them and use them that way. :-) Also fun.

                          1. re: bushwickgirl
                            r
                            Rlafol RE: bushwickgirl Nov 5, 2011 11:42 AM

                            It all depends on where you live and the price of sliced almonds in your area. If I suddenly had to have sliced almonds today and went to the grocery store here in my town, AND IF I insisted on buying the Blue Diamond brand, it would cost me $1.15 per ounce. Or it would cost $18.40 for a pound of sliced Blue Diamond almonds. Now I know I can get sliced almonds cheaper than $1.15 per ounce if I drive 1 hour to a larger town that has a bulk food store. But I will have to pay at least $3.51 per gallon for gas to get there and back. It is a choice that I have made. You can buy a Presto Chipshot for about $25, or a Presto Salad Shooter for $35. It is not a freakin expensive specialty machine. You can buy it on Amazon or several other online dealers. What is the point of being a member of a cooking message board if you don't want to know how to do alternative ways of making the product. Today's cook only has so much money to spend and the bank roll is getting rather thin due to political issues. I'll spend or not spend my money however I see fit. If I was a restaurant, I'm sure I would buy the bulk and have it shipped to me. But I'm not..... and today I have at least a pound of sliced almonds in my fridge. They were sliced while I was watching TV and enjoying a day at home in the kitchen. How much is my time at home in the kitchen worth? How much do you want paid to watch TV while spending some creative time in your kitchen. I'll save a few cents and enjoy it.

                            1. re: Rlafol
                              bushwickgirl RE: Rlafol Nov 5, 2011 11:57 AM

                              Do you use the Chipshot for other food prep, or is it a uni tasker? What do you do with the sliced almonds?

                              Btw, I did mention in my response post to you on the other almond thread that your technique was very interesting and may be worth it for someone, but as far as kitchen tasks and the economics of it go, slicing almonds at home is not on my list.

                              More power to you.

                              1. re: bushwickgirl
                                r
                                Rlafol RE: bushwickgirl Nov 5, 2011 12:31 PM

                                We originally bought the Chipshot to make our own potato chips, but it can be used to chop all vegetables. Sorry if I sounded grumpy... It was a long night last night.

                                I used the sliced almonds today as a topping on top of applesauce covered belgian waffles. I also sprinkled a little powdered sugar on them. It was good. Tomorrow I will probably sprinkle some on my breakfast cereal.

                                1. re: Rlafol
                                  bushwickgirl RE: Rlafol Nov 5, 2011 01:03 PM

                                  Ah, ok. I do like almonds greatly but find I don't use the sliced ones that often, more for topping things, desserts, or like you do.

                                  Your grumpiness is excused.

                                  1. re: Rlafol
                                    c
                                    cherylek RE: Rlafol May 14, 2014 01:03 PM

                                    My reason for wanting to know how to slice almonds is that I have a whole container of whole ones I had separated from some kind of trail mix (hard on my teeth) & I didn't want to just throw them away. TRY THIS: 1 pkg.cream cheese (softened) mixed with 1 dry pkg Italian dressing. Put in center of waxed paper & make a log. Roll in sliced almonds till they coat it & refrigerate. It is the easiest, & tastiest spread you'll ever make! I've had friends ask where they can buy it!

                                2. re: Rlafol
                                  k
                                  karykat RE: Rlafol Nov 5, 2011 12:16 PM

                                  Actually, I would pay to BE in my kitchen. Because I enjoy puttering around there and trying new things. (At least when I have time!)

                            2. re: Rlafol
                              w
                              WhatWorksBest RE: Rlafol Apr 7, 2014 05:45 PM

                              Works very well with slicing disc on food processor. This is not about saving money (I hope :)) but a technique when you can't get sliced almonds readily. I heated oven to 170F and put drained almonds in raised rim sheet lined with parchment for about 15 minutes. Sliced with 2mm setting on slicing disc. I think the Chipshot was an "As Seen onTV" gadget for slicing potatoes for chips. A good food processor is a better choice, but use slicing disc, not chopping blade.

                            3. Davwud RE: mialebven Nov 4, 2011 04:28 AM

                              I'm not sure if there is a trick to it but my tip would be, don't bother. Get in the car, drive to the store and buy them already sliced. Probably be about the same time investment.

                              DT

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Davwud
                                roxlet RE: Davwud Nov 4, 2011 01:31 PM

                                +1.

                              2. t
                                TamaraJewelry RE: mialebven Nov 21, 2011 05:25 PM

                                I needed slivered almonds. Had whole un-blanched ones. Put whole almonds in boiling water for +/- one minute. Strained them. Popped off the skins. Took the still warm almonds to the cutting board, with a sharp paring knife, cut each almond in thirds along the flat side. Pinched them a bit to separate front from back, and had 6 slivers from each almond. Took 5 minutes (*plus the one in the water.). Easy, quick, avoided another trip to the store. Happy.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: TamaraJewelry
                                  d
                                  divadmas RE: TamaraJewelry Nov 27, 2011 11:58 AM

                                  you are more patient than me. i tried blanching 1 minute and skins still were sticking so i blanched another minute and skins were noticibly looser. but each nut had to be individually popped between thumb and finger to get rid of skin. maybe longer blanching would loosen to point you could rub off. i can't see people standing in factory popping nuts out of skins all day.
                                  toasted them in skillet after and they chopped easier than raw nuts.

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