Food for Thought
The window on green almonds opens and closes almost simultaneously and is happening now. For the first few weeks of spring, you can find these fuzzy, first-harvest gems at farmers' markets or in specialty stores. Some good sleuthing can land you a batch online, so check around.
Eaten whole—soft, green hull and all—these treats taste like the sweet aroma of fresh–mowed lawn and have an astringent, tonic-like bite. SpecialtyProduce.com describes the unfolding essence as if it were a fine wine: "It offers a complex flavor with mild floral and grass-like notes and an overall sweet–tart flavor that is compared to that of green apples, pea pods and uncured olives."
The flesh surrounding the nut at this stage has a jelly-like consistency, with a soft, skinless fruit as the prize. Left on the tree, the green skin dries, hardens and splits to reveal the mature, hard nut most of us recognize.
Ideas for Enjoying Green Almonds
- Keep it natural and eat them "naked," maybe with a light sprinkle of sea salt.
- Slice thin and add to salad.
- Make salsa or pickle.
- Sauté or poach in olive oil.
- Top desserts.
- Explore friendly food pairings like arugula, watercress and lemon, lobster, white fish, rabbit, lamb, rhubarb, asparagus, artichoke, capers, nectarines and berries.
- Keep refrigerated and use within 3 weeks.