Almond selectionYou'll find almonds shelled with skins and blanched with no skins. If you find them in the shell, shake it. If it rattles a lot, chances are it's aging and shrinking. Purchase whole almonds and chop or slice them before each use for the freshest flavor. Aged almonds will turn rancid. To check for rancidity, slice the almond in half and look for a solid white texture throughout. If it is yellowish or has a honeycomb texture, it is way past its prime and should be discarded. The skin of the almond is edible, but sometimes bitter. Taste first, if it's not too bitter, don't bother removing it as it will add flavor to the recipe.
Almond storageAccording to the Almond Board of California, packaged natural almonds can be stored in unopened packages in a cool, dark place up to two years. Unopened roasted almonds can be stored under the same conditions up to one year. Both will last even longer if refrigerated. Almond paste can be stored in the refrigerator up to two years. A hot pantry will hasten rancidity. Once packaged almonds are opened, be sure to store in an airtight container or sealed baggie with air squeezed out in a cool, dry, dark place (ideally in the refrigerator) and use within three months. Avoid exposing nuts to humidity for maximum shelf-life.
More About Almonds:
What are Jordan almonds?
What are bitter almonds?
Almond Lore and Legends
Almond Selection and Storage
Almond Forms and Health Issues
Photo © 2006 Peggy Trowbridge, licensed to About.com, Inc.
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