A while back, the kids and I went over to my friend Jenny‘s house. Her son and daughter are a year younger than each of my kids, so everyone gets along famously. (Jenny and I have know each other since the second grade, but are parents have been friends since the 70s.) After doing a bunch of laps around the house, visiting chickens, riding horses, and a lot of general gallivanting, four kids looked up at us and said in unison “We’re hungry!”
Jenny went to rummaging around in the kitchen the way moms of hungry little kids often do and came out with a platter of snacks: hummus and bread, carrot sticks, dried cranberries, and a dish of the biggest almonds I had ever seen in my life. Intrigued, I grabbed a couple nuts and popped them in my mouth. What a surprise! They were super crunchy but nearly hollow. And delicious.
Jenny’s big on naturopathic medicine and healing with foods, and she’s always looking to boost meals with healthful additions. She has a tendency to sprout, ferment, or culture any food that would benefit from such actions. I like these almonds because they taste fabulous and have a delightfully crunchy texture, but Jenny explained that the soaking step also makes them more easily digested. And of course, almonds are super healthy no matter which way you eat them.
Now that Henry’s big into beekeeping, I’ve heard and thought a lot about the almond industry. It’s a pretty big deal down in California. I bought a mess of ‘Non- Pareil’ raw almonds from Alvararado Farm at the Chico Farmers’ Market last November, and we’re still getting through them, taking them out of the freezer in small batches. I do up about a quart of these roasted almonds at a time, and then we eat them right up in a matter of days.
Soaked and Slow Roasted Almonds
I like to add a little salt to the soaking water. In the end, the almonds don’t taste particularly salty, but they do taste extra good. A couple generous shakes of coarse Kosher salt should do the trick.
These almonds are really easy to burn if you don’t watch them closely and keep the heat low. I started them in my barbecue fired up to the lowest setting, and toward the end, I turned off the second burner. Maintaining a constant low temperature is a bit easier in a real oven, but I would caution against setting it any higher than 250°. Mandi on Instagram suggested using a food dehydrator for this step and avoiding the oven altogether. I think I’d like to try that someday soon.good almonds water salt
Soak the almonds in salted water for 4-12 hours during which time they will swell up considerably. Spread them out in a single layer on a baking sheet and put them in the oven (or barbecue) set on very low heat (200-250°). Roast them for 2+ hours or until they are crunchy, stirring occasionally. Store the roasted nuts in an airtight container.