Tuesday, 8 November 2011

fresh almonds... & green almond pickles!

green almond pickles.

You know what it's like. You're minding your own business, getting your groceries... and suddenly, out of the corner of the eye, you spy something. Something attractive. Something different. Something interesting. Something you'd never tried before. Something you'd like to try. Something that has so much potential... and you know, you just know that you could have something special together, if you'd only muster up the courage to give it a go.

fresh almonds, aka green almonds.

Ah, yes... I'm talking about fresh almonds, also known as spring almonds, or green almonds: the young, fleshy fruit of the almond tree that can be eaten whole.

Fresh almonds mature fast, so keep that in mind if you buy them. If you'd like to eat the entire fruit, do that while they're young - the outer skin turns hard and bitter as they ripen. Of course, all is not lost - you can then eat the nut inside. (Though technically, the part of almond we usually eat is not a nut, but the seed of the almond fruit!)

Anyway, I brought these little beauties home and immediately sliced them in half to investigate. Then I tasted them. The outer skin is tart, the astringent quality reminiscent of an under-ripe fruit, with hints of guava. The translucent inner kernel resembles a mild and refreshing jelly, with an almost lychee-like texture, and a subtle hint of sweetness.

cross-section of a fresh green almond cut into halves.

After sampling my fresh green almonds, I thought they would make fantastic pickles - similar to the ones my mum makes with green mangoes, which I love. And so it was that I made green almond pickles with my fresh almonds... and they turned out just as I hoped - sweet, tangy, with a hint of spice and salt.

We had some really good times, my pickled almonds and I. I'm glad I initiated* our sassy little romance... and I'm sure we'll meet again for round two.

*The almonds insisted they were actually the ones who initiated by looking at me, then looking away, then looking at me again, and that I totally fell for it hook, line and sinker.

300g green almonds (approximately 30 almonds, or 2/3lb)
2 medium-sized hot red chillies
1 cup water
1 cup raw sugar
1/2 cup Chinese white rice vinegar
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Wash fresh almonds. Slice each almond vertically into halves. For a neater appearance, trim their twiggy ends. If you like, you may also take out the kernels and eat them - the best part for pickling is the outer shell.
Slice chillies horizontally into thin rings.
Transfer the fresh almonds and fresh chillies into sterilised jars. (I sterilise my jars by washing them thoroughly and then letting them sit in boiling water for a couple of minutes.)
In a saucepan, stir water, sugar, vinegar, salt and nutmeg over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil, then remove from heat and pour over fresh almonds and chillies. Set aside for 10 minutes to cool slightly.
Seal the jars and place in the fridge for a minimum of one week to allow the flavours to fully develop. Give the jars a good shake once or twice a day for the first three days.
After that, the pickles should keep for at least a month in the fridge, probably longer.

*Note: For those in Melbourne who may be interested, I found my fresh green almonds at Cato Fruits & Vegetables. No. 10-12, Cato Street, Prahran, Victoria 3181. Otherwise, other specialty or ethnic food stores might stock them from time to time. I hear they have short, sporadic seasons though, so it's a matter of luck and timing.)

pickled green almonds.

51 comments:

  1. That is so interesting! I've never see green almonds before. Are they furry like a peach?

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  2. Foodycat, yes they are a bit furry! I believe they come from the same family as peaches, too.

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  3. Omg Leaf you are hysterical. I love your writing!!! Your words are so easy to read, light-hearted and always put a smile on my face.

    I'm glad you embarked on this romantic relationship with this nut. It's like, you've been searching high and low for "the one", only to realise that what you've been looking for was right right in front of you all along. I hope you write a screenplay, called "The Nut & I". I'd pay to see that ;D

    ANYHOO, lovin your Chinese pickled recipes! Mum hasn't made them in yearsss for some reason so I'm glad I can go by yours now. Because after today's immensely hot weather, pickles veg/nuts is just what I need as a cooling snack! Nice one, Leafy! =D

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  4. Thank you Winston as always for your awesome comments! I'm always flirting with new ingredients and developing romantic relationships with them... I'm quite the tart. ;) Looking forward to you making pickles too and posting about them in time for summer!

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  5. Oh my! What a fabulous time you must be having with your new squeeze! I have never seen these in my life before but I will be sure to keep my eyes peeled next time I am at the shops. Who knows, maybe I will have a little green almond romance of my own :)

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  6. that looks familiar because my inlaws have a tree in their backyard and we love eating almonds raw like this

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  7. Oh I hope you get to try some fresh almonds, Anna! It seems that they can occasionally be found at Asian fruit & veg grocers... that's where I got mine. Even so, I think they can be quite rare to come by, so snap some up if you see any!

    Thanks for visiting, iva! How lucky you get to eat the raw almonds so often. :)

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  8. I have never seen fresh almond before. I think they need not initiate looking at me because if I see them, I cannot take my eyes off them. Like the song says, they are too good to be true! Oh, your jar of pickled almonds are pretty babies too! LOL!

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  9. What an interesting pickle and we also enjoy so many types of pickles at home though these with almonds is something new to me.

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  10. such an interesting pickle! didn't know you can to something like that!

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  11. Thanks Quay Po for dedicating a love song to my almonds, both fresh and pickled. ;) They're really quite intriguing, aren't they?

    Thanks Nava - and Michelle! When I ate them fresh I thought their taste and texture were suited for pickling... so here we are! :D

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  12. Fresh almonds are new to me! I have seen them only on TV (mainly cooking shows) but not in grocery stores here.

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  13. I've never really seen green almonds before!!:) This is something new and interesting to me, and you've got me wondering how they are like :p

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  14. I love fresh almonds but can never seem to find any here. I enjoy them when I go back to France.

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  15. Ooo how exciting! I love discovering new things. I've never seen these around before so I'm glad you've opened my eyes to it!

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  16. Hopefully you see fresh almonds in the flesh one day, tigerfish!

    Christy, perhaps you'll come across them by chance one day, just as I did. I tried to describe them as best as I could, but of course it's always nice to actually be able to taste it for yourself. :p

    They seem quite scarce around here, too, Sylvie. Perhaps due to a combination of timing, availibility and market demand?

    Thanks Apple! Actually I'm going to update the post with where I found my green almonds, just in case it might be helpful for those in Melbourne... though I'm not sure if they still have it!

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  17. I've never seen fresh green almond before and it's been pickled! What an interesting food and I'd love to taste this. The cross-section of a fresh green almond is so beautiful with the slight green color.

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  18. Eeee! They're so cute - they look like they're covered in felt. That's so cool :D

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  19. Oh wow!! Now to head to Prahran to find them... sooo cute too!

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  20. I like the cross-section too, Nami. Especially the gel-like centre. :D

    Yep, Agnes - they're fuzzy little ones!

    Hope they've still got them, msihua! Good luck. :)

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  21. Oh my gosh, I'm so in awe! Amazing! And I want!! :) (exclamation mark.)

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  22. I have never had one of these sadly ... I wonder if I can get them in my neck of the woods???

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  23. Hopefully you will come across them one day, too, Hannah and Trix! I was also initially introduced to fresh green almonds during an internet browsing session and wished I could try them. Sometimes it pops up when you least expect it. ;)

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  24. Such a gorgeous picture. I have't had a go at pickles yet, but who knows!

    BTW I am adding you to my blogroll, which I've been meaning to do for weeks.

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  25. I've never seen fresh green almond before. Neither I heard of making pickles with either. thanks for the post. Just learned something great.

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  26. what a delicious idea! I love that!

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  27. I've seen these almonds before, but was confused as to how they taste or what to do with them. This sounds really yummy!

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  28. Thanks Lau! Pickles are really easy, give it a try! Thanks for the blogroll too. :)

    Thanks for coming by beyondkimchee! :)

    Thanks Vittle me this! :)

    That's what I wondered, Cathy... but then I thought, I'll just buy them, and deal with the conundrum later... :D

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  29. Gorgeous- have been hunting for some good pickles to have with sticky roasted pork- I think these might be perfect- thank you!

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  30. How interesting that in my recent years of memorizing trees and shrubs, I have never bothered to find out where almonds fit into the picture. The Prunus family, crazy!

    It's wild that the seeds are edible, as compared to cherries, or peaches, or plums, or anything else in the family. So cool:)

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  31. Hi leaf... really interesting, I thinks I used to see that during my hunting, sadly I don't know how to cook it, lol... thanks for sharing :)

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  32. That's an idea, tori - I have these just as a snack by itself - but it could make an interesting side. :D

    It really is pretty cool, Emma! I do love edible seeds - it's like the fruit is doing double duty!

    Thanks Rita, well next time you see them you'll know what to do. ;)

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  33. Amazing! You sound like me- I buy things that "smile at me" at the market- even if I have no idea what to do with them, I'll figure something out!
    Very brave and inventive to come up with the pickling idea. I wish I lived close enough to come try some!!
    Cheers
    Nicole

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  34. Wow! You always come across all these interesting ingredients I would have never otherwise come across. Green almonds huh? How curious! They look absolutely BEAUTIFUL pickled! :)

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  35. I've never even seen these before! My grocery store has a really extensive produce section, so I'll have to check the next time I'm there :)

    - Maggie

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  36. I am absolutely love green almonds!! I only discovered them last year since living in Israel. Pickling them is such a great idea! I am bookmarking this to make when it's green almond season here.

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  37. Thanks Nicole, it's funny how at particular times we are drawn to certain ingredients, isn't it?

    Thanks Ashley! I like to shop in diverse locations - markets, supermarkets, ethnic grocery stores, providores... sooner or later it yields something interesting. :D

    Thanks Maggie! Seeing as we live on opposite sides of the world, check in springtime where you are as that's when they're in season.

    Thanks Katherine, looking forward to your posts when it's green almond season. :D

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  38. I've used green almonds before but not in such an interesting way...this pickle sounds delicious!

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  39. Thanks for stopping by my blog recently, Leaf. I'm also a complete sucker for anything obscure, new and different. What a fun way to use fresh almonds! So creative!

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  40. I must say, this is brilliant! I grew up on fresh almonds, as we eat them in Lebanon as a snack dipped in salt. Here in the US, I buy them occasionally at the middle eastern store. Never saw them as a pickle! This is a terrific idea!

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  41. Love pickled papaya - a very popular dish back home. BUt, never seen pickled almonds! I'm interested to see how that would taste like.

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  42. I haven't seen green almonds in my groceries for a while! Time to hunt!

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  43. Thanks meanderingmango! I'm really enjoying it as a snack.

    Thanks Elizabeth, for stopping by mine. :)

    Thanks tasteofbeirut! I did a Google search after I got them and I considered eating them with salt. But when I actually tasted them I thought I might like them even more pickled so that's what I did. :D

    Hey Adrian - it's not too different to other salty-sweet-sour pickles made from underripe fruits, I'd say. Very easy to eat.

    Happy hunting, Anh! :)

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  44. Huh, such an interesting recipe :)
    We have an almond tree in the garden, I could actually try that one, although I have no clue about what a pickled almond should taste like.
    That's what I love about your blog. The discovery. Super awesome.
    Take care! xxx

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  45. What an interestign recipe! I have never tried fresh almonds before and I owuld personally never think about pickling them. But it looks fantastic.

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  46. Never seen green almonds before, they looks so pretty and the recipe sounds great!

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  47. Thanks Marie-Anne! If you do ever try it, I'd love to know what you think. :)

    Thanks Sips and Spoonfuls. As fresh green almonds have the taste of tart, under-ripe fruit, it makes them very suited for pickling. :D

    Thanks K! :)

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  48. What a gorgeous recipe! Having just finished some preserving classes, I'm particularly taken. I've never eaten a green almond before.

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  49. What a great idea! I have seen fresh almonds a few months ago, but did not buy, because I had no clue how to use it.

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  50. Thanks the good soup! Keep an eye out for them during springtime. :)

    Thanks chriesi, now you have at least one clue on how you might use it. :D

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  51. These look wonderful! Like nothing that I've ever seen before. Many thanks for the intriguing new idea. I only hope that I can find fresh green almonds somewhere.

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