Some people may call us crazy, but we’re the ones who will happily drive across town just to find one special ingredient to try and share with friends and family. You do that too, don’t you? That’s what I recently did to find these green fuzzy pods called green almonds. Believe or not, until a few days ago I had never heard of green almonds. My Lebanese-American friend currently living in California texted me a photo of one of her favorite snacks and said, “you must try this seasonal delicacy, soon!” You see, green almonds are only in season for a tiny whisper of time, at the beginning of spring, before their fuzzy shells harden and start looking more like the almonds most of us already know. In the U.S., unless you live in an almond-growing region like California, it’s unlikely that you’ll come across green almonds at your local market, but check around. You might be able to find them at specialty markets that ship them in, as I did. I found mine at a Mediterranean market.
Try to buy them fresh. Although they’ll keep refrigerated for a few days, they’re best eaten right away because their tartness eventually turns bitter. Their outer hull should be light green, with no brown spots. Amazingly you can eat the entire green almond—fuzzy hull as well as the soft pale seed that’s filled with an interesting gelatinous substance. They’re flavor? I was surprised to find they’re crisp and tart, similar to a green mango. They can be eaten as is, or tossed in olive oil and sea salt—my preferred way to eat them. I’ve also heard they make a nice addition to spring salads.
So how do they compare nutritionally to more familiar looking almonds? Apparently fresh green almonds provide the same nutritional benefits as dry roasted almonds. These include protein, dietary fiber, vitamin E, calcium, iron and a trace of vitamin C.
To my dear friend Pascale, thank you for introducing me to these little fuzzy green delicacies! And to you, my friends, who may not have had the opportunity to try them yet, be on the look-out for these seasonal gems! Don’t wait too long because they’ll only be around another week or two!
Have you tried green almonds before? How do you like to eat them?