Almond forms and products Almond butter: made and used like peanut butter, it is simply raw or roasted almonds ground to a creamy consistency. It can also be used in baked goods.
Almond extract: made from the oil of the bitter almond, which is a cousin of the sweet almond. The oil is diluted with alcohol (and sometimes water) and used as a very potent flavoring.
Almond flour: flour made from ground almonds. It's highly perishable so you may prefer to make your own as you need it by grinding blanched almonds in a food processor or spice grinder. You'll probably need to do it in small batches to get it fine and consistent. Be sure the almonds are completely dry before grinding.
Almond milk: made from almonds that have been soaked, crushed, and strained of the pulp. It can be substituted for cow's milk for those avoiding dairy and soy products. It's easy to make your own almond milk.
Almond oil: oil extracted from crushed whole raw almonds. Food-grade almond oil is expensive and often difficult to find.
Almond paste: made of blanched almonds, sugar and glycerin (or another liquid). It is less sweet and a bit coarser in texture than marzipan, which contains more sugar and oftimes egg whites. (Note: almond paste and marzipan cannot be successfully interchanged in recipes, despite their like base.)
Almonds and your healthHigh in monounsaturated fatty acids and cholesterol-free, almonds can help reduce cholesterol, thus reducing the risk of heart disease. They are also high in Vitamin E, a potent antioxidant which helps prevent the accumulation of plaque in the arteries. One ounce of almonds contains about 10 percent of the recommended daily allowance of calcium, a great non-dairy source for vegetarians. Almonds are often recommended as a building food for those who are underweight. Almond oil has homeopathic and cosmetic applications.
Special Note: Since almonds are rich in arginine, they should be avoided by those who have a tendency toward cold sores or herpes infections. Arginine tends to activate the virus.
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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