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Blanching occurs when foods are heated briefly and then frozen. The process can be used to preserve aspects such as color and taste. Blanched almonds are usually made by boiling a pot of water filled about half-way. The nuts are added and often removed after about 30 seconds. They are then usually put in ice water to quickly halt the cooking process.
The almonds can be placed in a bowl of cold water or the faucet can be run over them in a colander. When enough cooling has taken place for them to be safely handled, blanched almonds are skinned. The thumb and forefinger are typically used to remove the skin. One must be careful not to grip the nut too firm; it is usually slippery compared to unblanched almonds and can slide away.
Blanched foods often include tomatoes; the skins can be thoroughly removed after the process. Vegetables like green beans and asparagus often retain their color after being cooked for a short time. With blanching, food generally does not cook completely, and can retain a crisp quality despite being exposed to hot water. Blanched almonds can be slivered, sliced, or served with the skin. They can also be toasted, after the skin is removed and the nuts dried.
A typical recipe for blanched almonds calls for the use of a medium-sized pan, wood spoon or spatula, a strainer, and paper towels. The pan is usually filled halfway with water, which is boiled before the almonds are added. Nuts with the skin intact are cooked for usually a half-a-minute, and then cold water can be used to cool them down. Paper towels are generally used to cool the almonds, which are then skinned, patted dry with a towel, and sealed in a plastic bag. The blanched almonds can then be refrigerated or frozen.
As an alternative, blanched almonds can be made by adding the nuts to a bowl, boiling a pan of water, and pouring the water over them. The nuts generally sit for a minute and the mixture drained using a strainer. Once they are rinsed with cold water and dried on a towel, almonds can be skinned and further dried before they are stored. Toasted almonds are often made with olive oil, for example, in a frying pan on a stove. This method often takes about 10 minutes, and the nuts can be eaten as an afternoon snack.
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