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Raw Almonds - Some Ideas?

h
Heatherb Jan 21, 2011 07:22 AM

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?

  1. m
    magiesmom Jan 21, 2011 07:29 AM

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

    1. s
      salvatoregianpaolo Jan 21, 2011 07:36 AM

      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. s
        sancan Jan 21, 2011 09:10 AM

        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
          s
          salvatoregianpaolo Jan 21, 2011 09:19 AM

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

          1. re: salvatoregianpaolo
            s
            sancan Jan 21, 2011 09:35 AM

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

            1. re: sancan
              s
              salvatoregianpaolo Jan 21, 2011 09:49 AM

              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
                s
                sancan Jan 21, 2011 09:56 AM

                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
                  greygarious Jan 21, 2011 10:18 AM

                  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
                    s
                    sancan Jan 21, 2011 10:29 AM

                    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
                      s
                      salvatoregianpaolo Jan 21, 2011 11:16 AM

                      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
                        greygarious Jan 25, 2011 07:20 AM

                        < 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
                          s
                          salvatoregianpaolo Jan 25, 2011 09:12 AM

                          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
                          c
                          CocoTO Jan 25, 2011 09:46 AM

                          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
                            s
                            salvatoregianpaolo Jan 25, 2011 10:05 AM

                            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!!

                            http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2011...

                            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
                              c
                              CocoTO Jan 25, 2011 10:34 AM

                              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
                                s
                                salvatoregianpaolo Jan 25, 2011 10:52 AM

                                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!!

                                1. re: salvatoregianpaolo
                                  c
                                  CocoTO Jan 25, 2011 11:12 AM

                                  Fabulous instructions! Thank you.

                              2. re: salvatoregianpaolo
                                s
                                SouthToTheLeft Jan 26, 2011 08:32 PM

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

                                1. re: SouthToTheLeft
                                  c
                                  CocoTO Jan 27, 2011 04:40 AM

                                  here's the link to the one I am going to make, keeping in mind notes above from salvatoregianpaolo
                                  http://www.suite101.com/content/nutel...

                            2. re: salvatoregianpaolo
                              s
                              sandylc Nov 26, 2011 06:16 PM

                              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
                        c
                        ca262626 Nov 26, 2011 02:00 PM

                        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. u
                  ultimatepotato Jan 25, 2011 07:33 AM

                  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. re: ultimatepotato
                    h
                    Heatherb Jan 25, 2011 09:34 AM

                    Oooh yummy. Thanks:)

                  2. dave_c Jan 25, 2011 10:08 AM

                    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
                      m
                      Maryld Jan 25, 2011 10:14 AM

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

                      1. re: dave_c
                        s
                        salvatoregianpaolo Jan 25, 2011 10:27 AM

                        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!)

                      2. f
                        fantasyjoker Jan 25, 2011 10:45 AM

                        I have the same problem. I have about 3 lbs of raw almonds left that I bought from Kroger. I used to make almond butter, but I got tired of fighting my blender. No processor yet! I wonder if anyone has a great recipe for cocoa covered almonds like Emerald Nuts but without the fake sugar.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: fantasyjoker
                          greygarious Jan 25, 2011 03:03 PM

                          I am unfamiliar with Emerald nuts, but you should be able to use the process recommended by the 1999 Cooks Illustrated master recipe for spiced nuts. Heat 2 cups of almonds on a parchment-lined sheet for 8 min at 350, rotating once. Meanwhile, in a deep pot on medium-high heat, stir 2T water, 1t light or dark brown sugar, and 1T unsalted butter. Dump in the nuts, stir until all are shiny and coated and the liquid is almost all gone. Dump into a large bowl containing your seasoning mixture and toss to coat. Return to parchment to cool. You can sub your booze of choice for the water. I have made a double batch in the same size pan and pot without a problem.

                          1. re: greygarious
                            f
                            fantasyjoker Jan 27, 2011 08:12 AM

                            Will these come out with a crackly shell like candied nuts?

                            1. re: fantasyjoker
                              greygarious Jan 27, 2011 08:49 AM

                              No shell. The sugar and oil are partially absorbed, but still allow the dry seasoning to adhere well to the nut. They are easy to make and customize with your favorite flavors.

                        2. chefathome Jan 25, 2011 02:16 PM

                          You can pulverize them in your food pro for almond flour which is wonderful in cakes and such. You can also toast and use in a pesto (i.e. mint) but that doesn't use lots of them at once.

                          1. n
                            noodlepoodle Jan 25, 2011 03:24 PM

                            I usually toast pecans and almonds in the microwave. Run it on full power until you smell them and then maybe a few seconds more. I sprinkle them with salt, but just got a can of smoked paprika and was thinking about sprinkling a little on the next time I do it. I even entertained the thought of dipping the almonds in melted chocolate and letting them cool and set. Sounds like a mini candy bar without the additives.

                            1. 512window Jan 25, 2011 04:01 PM

                              Why don't you make romesco sauce? It's great on fish.

                              I toast almonds in my toaster oven. Just watch them - it's really easy to wander off and come back to little black pointy marbles.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: 512window
                                h
                                Heatherb Jan 25, 2011 04:25 PM

                                LOL. I have ADD, so that's the likely outcome:)

                              2. c
                                Chowrin Jan 25, 2011 04:26 PM

                                toast em? what a waste! you can BUY toasted almonds. sugar cure 'em.

                                1. raygunclan Nov 26, 2011 07:19 PM

                                  i toss them in beaten egg whites, sugar, cinnamon and salt. toast them on low heat for 2 hours, tossing every 20 minutes. i also do this with pecans. but my hubbin loves the almonds. :)

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