Thursday, April 16, 2015

Cost effective alternative to purchasing slivered almonds

Almonds are packed with vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber. A 16-oz. bag of raw almonds can be purchased for a reasonable price; however, slivered almonds often sell for more than twice as much.

I am determined to find an easy way to sliver almonds myself! So far, the following process is the easiest method I have found. If anyone knows of an easier way, please share with the rest of us.

Blanch the almonds

I heard that blanched almonds slice easier than raw ones because they do not crack, so I decided to give it a try. I found a few different ways to blanch almonds online, and I chose the following method: 

Pour enough water in a saucepan to cover the amount of almonds you want to blanch. Heat to boiling. Add the almonds (I used about 2 to 3 handfuls). Boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, strain in colander, and run under (or submerge in) cold water to stop the process.

Peel the almonds

Initially, I did not think peeling the almonds would be necessary, since the skins do not bother me. After they are blanched, however, the skins become loose, so it was obvious they would get in the way of the slicing process. This was very easy to do, and it only took me 5 minutes to peel the almonds in the photo. Only one hand is needed to remove the skin, so I was able to peel two at a time--when I did not have the camera in my other hand!

Grasp the almond between your fingers and gently push it out of the skin. The almonds tend to be slippery, so I suggest peeling them right over the colander, so they do not shoot across the counter.

Slice the almonds

I set my almonds in the colander in the sunlight to let them dry a bit since the wet/damp almonds felt slippery. The almonds were not slippery after I let them partially dry, and I suggest not letting them dry completely, as they became more difficult to cut near the end of my process when they were completely dry.

I was not sure which type of knife would cut the almonds best, so I tried a few different ones. I did not find much difference with the type of knife used, although it was a bit easier to place my finger atop the longer knife when slicing down.

Some of the almonds had split in half during the blanching process. This was great, because I found the easiest way to slice the almonds was to set the half pieces on the cutting board, and then cut them in half.

The whole almonds could be split in half by inserting the knife in the top of the almond, and then gently cutting down to split it apart. Then again, cut the halves in half.

When the knife did not slide inside of the almond or split it easily in half, I found that the next best way to slice them was to cut the edge off at an angle (about ⅓ of the almond), then set the flat edge down, and cut that remaining piece in two.

It took me about 20 to 25 minutes to slice the amount of almonds shown here, and I took several photos during the process. Was it worth my time? For me, I would say yes. Since I currently have more time than money on my hands, I would do this again. I usually only use ½ cup or less of slivered almonds at a time, so these slivers will not be used all at once.

Toast the almonds

If you would like to toast the slivered pieces, I provided a few different ways to do that in my book on page 22. I used the microwave method for the minimal amount of time to toast these.