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Jan 21, 2011 07:22 AM

Raw Almonds - Some Ideas?

I have a bag of raw almonds from TJ's. What's the best way to toast them up? And what are your ideas for some spice/herb blends? I've got some I roasted for a few minutes on a baking sheet in the oven and sprinkled with smoked paprika and salt. They're yummy, but I can't help but think I might be going about this in the wrong way.

Any ideas? Or should I just eat them raw?

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  1. I toast nuts on the stove without oil. Watch them, they are done when brown and fragrant.

    1. FWIW, if they are from TJ's, they are not raw... they are pasteurized.

      However, it is best to toast them at low temperature.

      1. I assume all raw almonds are pasteurized to keep them from going rancid. This is my version of
        Glazed Nuts
        1/2 c each
        Almonds, Pecans, Peanuts, Cashews, Walnuts and Pepitas (but you could do all almonds)
        Heat nuts on a silpat-lined half-sheet pan in a 350 oven until you can smell them. Doesn't take long. If you don't trust that you'll smell them, set a timer. If you want them really toasty, leave for 2 more minutes after you smell them-but definitely set a timer. Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, melt 1-2 Tbsp of unsalted butter with 2 Tbsp light brown sugar (or equivalent amount of sweetener of your choice) in the microwave. You could do this in a large pan if you are microwave-averse. Stir until the brown sugar is dissolved/gooey. I admit I probably use more butter, and I don't measure anything so just use ingredient amounts to your taste. Finely chop 1/2 tsp of rosemary and add it to the bowl. Pour in the toasted nuts and stir to coat. Sprinkle on salt and cayenne as desired. I leave out salt if any of the nuts are already salted. Taste the nuts and add more of anything you wish. Stick them back in the oven if you wish, but set the timer for sure. I have made nuts with chili powder instead of cayenne for a different flavor, but if you do, you won't be able to taste the rosemary as well, and we LOVE the rosemary touch. I have done this in a large non-stick skillet, too. Either way works.

        18 Replies
        1. re: sancan

          Actually, it has nothing to do with them "going rancid."

          1. re: salvatoregianpaolo

            Well, then...why do companies spend the money to pasteurize? Really, I'm curious.

            1. re: sancan

              Companies spend the money because the Federal Government forces them to. There have been cases of salmonella from almonds in the past, and due to the "nanny-state" we live in, the government took it upon themselves to make sure you can't purchase raw almonds anymore... even if you want to. Similar to raw milk, although at least with milk there are ways around the regulations. The best you can do is grow your own, or make sure your almonds are "steam pasteurized." Not the best, but at least it doesn't involve chemicals. A lot of almonds are pasteurized using propylene oxide.

              OK, I'll get off my soapbox now.

              1. re: salvatoregianpaolo

                My thanks. As usual, worth knowing about. I don't suppose you know the method(s) used on the almonds sold at Costco / Sams / BJs? Anybody?

                1. re: sancan

                  I have no idea about pasteurization but would say that Costco's raw almonds are at least as good as TJ's, and cost less. Supposedly, in order to derive the most health benefits from almonds, they must be consumed raw but I couldn't say if pasteurized qualifies. I am not keen on the mild flavor of raw so my daily handful of almonds is 8 raw and 4 TJ's tamari almonds - 2 raw and 1 tamari per mouthful. (I'm not that obsessive in other aspects of life, really I'm not ;-p )

                  1. re: greygarious

                    I'm smiling now. I understand about being obsessive about a little thing like that. This was disapointing information about the pasteurization, so it's nice to get a smile about your perfect mouthful of almond flavor!

                    1. re: sancan

                      We could rename this the "obsessive-compulsive/manic" thread.

                      In all seriousness, the almonds should list how they were pasteurized on the bag. I'm a bit crazy when it comes to food, and I really go out of my way to avoid anything processed. That's why almonds upset me a bit.

                      I do consume a lot of them, however, mostly in my homemade almond-flax-coconut butter. Also, I make some almond flour for certain baking creations.

                      1. re: salvatoregianpaolo

                        < In all seriousness, the almonds should list how they were pasteurized on the bag >

                        I looked at the Costco bag. It says "almonds", not "raw almonds". There is nothing about pasteurizing or any other proccessing. Almonds are the only contents listed.

                        1. re: greygarious

                          Does it list the source? All almonds in America come from California (Central Valley... I've been there several times) but if it lists the distributor you might be able to contact them to see if they steam pasteurize or use chemicals. Of course, this is only if you care about things like that. Obviously it isn't important to everyone.

                        2. re: salvatoregianpaolo

                          To salvatoregianpaolo: I'm a bit of anti processed food nut myself (no pun intended) ... and I'm intrigued by your homemade almond-flax-coconut butter. How do you make it and what do you use it for?

                          1. re: CocoTO

                            Always makes me smile when I hear someone else getting off the processed food... have you read the news today? Just saw an article about a lawsuit against Taco Bell for saying they use "beef" when their "meat product" only has 35% actual beef in it!!


                            Anyway, back on topic: Natural nut-butters (i.e. almond, peanut, etc.) are readily available, but they still contain unnecessary additional oil. I make my own in the food processor. Peanuts are easy because they break down quickly... about 5 minutes. Pecans are the same. Almonds, however, are tougher and taken about 20 minutes. Basically what you are doing is grinding them until they release their natural oils and become smooth. I grind the almonds for about 15 min, then add some flaxseed and some raw coconut to the mix. They break down rapidly, and add some great flavor! Other options are cocoa nibs, pecans (added at the last minute they give some crunch), or even honey.

                            I also make my own "Not-tella" the same way. I love Nutella, but again, too much junk in there. So I make my own with simply hazlenuts, dark chocolate, and cocoa. No additional oil or stabilizers, needed. If you like it sweeter, you can add some sugar as well.

                            I've realized everything that can be bought can be made at home... and BETTER. Not just in the "healthy" sense, but also for taste. When you make things yourself they are fresher and YOU dictate the flavors. Touch of salt here, dash of pepper there... you get the idea.

                            1. re: salvatoregianpaolo

                              Many thanks! Sounds great ... I actually was just recently looking at making my own nutella. The recipe I found calls for sugar and canola oil (I was planning to sub coconut oil), but I think I'll try it without first. Do you leave the skins on?

                              1. re: CocoTO

                                I lightly toast the hazelnuts (170degF/45-60min) and then rub the skins off. You'll know when they are toasted enough when you can smell them. Obviously you can use a higher temp/shorter duration, as well. Most recipes for any nut-butters always want you to add oil, but personally I've never found that necessary. Remember, nuts have tons of oil to give up once they are ground. You'll see them actually do it. If you want to, however, coconut would probably be a great addition (or the obvious hazelnut oil).

                                Sugar to taste, and the same with chocolate. I use dark chocolate and unsweetened cocoa powder, then add some confectioner's sugar. Milk chocolate is probably more common, and I've also seen people add dry-millk powder and occasionally some vanilla. Hope it works out!!

                              2. re: salvatoregianpaolo

                                Would you share the recipe for the Not-tella, please?

                                1. re: SouthToTheLeft

                                  here's the link to the one I am going to make, keeping in mind notes above from salvatoregianpaolo

                            2. re: salvatoregianpaolo

                              The other labeling thing that should be legislated is the ingredients in liquor beverages. I know, new topic. But do you know what's in the margarita mix??????

                      2. re: salvatoregianpaolo

                        Sorry, I know this post is really old, but I can't help but wonder upon reading this: why are almonds regulated per a federal law, while raw milk seems to be regulated by the state? I mean, I don't know much about this, I just know that here in PA I am free to buy raw milk (and do, yum) but that that's not the case across the border in NY. If the USDA (or whoever does this) requires almonds be pasteurized, why not milk? I'm sure it's not because they think raw milk is OK. :)

                2. I toast them over a low heat in a frying pan and then add some soy sauce and tabasco close to the end of the cooking time. Let them cool and dry out - my workmates go, er...nuts for these. In summer the coating doesn't dry so well thanks to lovely muggy London, but they stay dry enough in a ziplock bag for a couple of days in Winter. If you like more spice with less liquid, try using chlli flakes instead.

                  I started messing around with flavouring raw (or pasturised or whatever they are) almonds after getting hooked on those smokey flavoured almonds. Very bad.

                  1 Reply
                  1. If you really want a challenge, try making macarons. I've used the recipe from David Liebovitz's (sp?) blog, which turned out really nice.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: dave_c

                      I sautee them in olive oil and then sprinkle sea salt and cumin on them while still hot.

                      1. re: dave_c

                        Ha, ha... I just made some for my wife's friend's bachelorette party. Did them with a white chocolate/pumpkin ganache filling. It was my 7th go at making them, and I was ecstatic with the result. I use a recipe from Pierre Herme using the Italian Meringue method. A touch more complicated, but definitely more stable. I think Liebovitz uses the same (he might even use PH's recipe, as well!)