Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Almonds Snacks - Versatile and Low Carb

It's Almond Season in Kern County! You can always tell because the air is filled with dust from the "shaking of the almond trees". They use these machines that grab hold of the trunk of the almond tree and shake it vigorously to knock the almonds to the ground. Here's a video of the process. It's really amazing to watch.

We are surrounded by Almond Orchards and I think they are so beautiful. I'll have to take pictures someday when they first bloom in the spring. These next two pictures were taken by a friend of mine that is a truck driver and he was waiting in the fields for his truck to be loaded and thought he would shoot these two pictures and I thought they were really good and he let me share them with you! Thanks Ruben!

I love this one, almost like the trees are swaying and dancing! Almond tree ballerinas!

Here's a picture of the almonds being loaded into trailers where they will be taken to a packing shed for processing. You can see that the whole process creates a ton of dust and with the drought that we are having the dirt is so fine and powdery and there is nothing to wet it down with so people really suffer with allergies during this time. Luckily not me!

So my co-worker gave me a bag of raw almonds that she got from a friend of her husband. I decided to try to make some type of snack with them. Almonds are one of the worlds healthiest foods and naturally low-carb so I eat a lot of them. Usually the roasted brand you can buy in the store, but I've never worked with raw almonds!

First I made a chocolate snack. I used the almonds raw. I melted in the microwave 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter with 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream for just about 30 seconds then I stirred it and microwaved it another 10 to 15 seconds. I then added 1/4 cup of granulated Splenda and 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder and stirred and stirred until it was incorporated and glossy.

I had thought I would put the almonds in the chocolate and then spoon it into little paper cups but I got lazy and just pour the whole thing into a small cake pan lined with wax paper and placed it into the fridge to harden. Then I pulled it out after about a half hour and broke it into pieces. It's not very pretty, but it sure is good! I guess I would call this LOW CARB CHOCOLATE ALMOND BARK!

While the Low Carb Chocolate Almond Bark was hardening in the refrigerator I made a savory almond. The recipe I modeled my almonds after asked for Thyme, but I didn't have Thyme or time to go buy Thyme, hahaha, crack myself up.

So I looked to see what I had. I had Basil, Oregano and Italian Seasoning Mix. I figured Italian Seasoning would be great because it should have basil and oregano in it anyway and probably some thyme. Not sure what all is in there but I gave it a shot.

I read that it would be a good idea to blanch the almonds. I'd never blanched almonds but it seemed easy enough. Put raw almonds in a bowl then covered them with boiling water, covered the bowl and let sit for 1 minute, drain hot water and rinse with cold water, drain and place in a kitchen towel to finish draining and then peel each almond with your fingers.

Yeah well...that didn't work for me. As I tried to peel them they would fall apart, so I just left them with the skin on.

I then placed 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a hot pan and dropped in the almonds and sauteed them for about 10 minutes. They smelled wonderful!!! I took them off the heat and stirred in 2 tablespoons of the Italian Seasoning, sprinkled in some Kosher salt and ground some fresh black pepper on them and stirred and stirred until they were completed covered. Poured them out on a foil lined cookie sheet to cool. I stole a couple and they are yummy! I can't wait to eat them tomorrow! I thought these were much prettier though!

Now I'm going to package these up in containers and take them to the office so that Angelica and I can have healthy, yummy low-carbs snacks to nibble on when the mood strikes us. Oh...and I need to name this one, so I'm going to call it SAVORY ITALIAN ROASTED ALMONDS!



  1. Oh my goodness, I can just imagine how wonderful your kitchen smelled with those almonds being sauteed! Your friend took great photos - so interesting to see where our almonds come from!

    1. Wrote a great comment and it went away! Something close to I can now imagine how chestnuts roasting on an open fire smell. I maybe just roast nuts every night just for the terrific smell.

      Almonds do require a lot of work, that may be why they are a tad expensive, and this is just to harvest them, imagine how much more work it must be to process them!

  2. I didn't know about the shaking of almond trees. Now, I've learnt something from the video in your post. I liked it, including the dust...

    I admire your creativity in the low- carb diet. I love almonds, as well as peanuts, pistachio, and all this stuff, both raw and roasted . They're indeed considered healthy food. I don't eat much of it, though, as it might add quite a lot to body weight.

    The pictures in your post are great!

    1. I thought the shaking almond video was very interesting, not to mention how pretty they look falling down. You can see where the machines are from far away because of the thick cloud of dust. It's never bothered me but my sister works for a cemetery right in the middle of almond groves and she always has allergy issues!

      Almonds and most nuts are high in fat, but a good fat and as long as you cut out all the bad fats and glutens you can eat quite a few more nuts without the weight gain. They make a great snack and just a handful fill you up.

  3. Wow! Very interesting on shaking the almond tree. I would have never guess that is how they are harvested.

    Your bark and italian roasted almond looked really yummy...and not one ingredient to give an Irishman indigestion.

    1. I thought it was very interesting too! I've lived in Kern County for years, since 1976 and have been through many harvests but I had never actually seen the almonds get shaken. It's a pretty common term here, everyone is sniffling and sneezing from mid-August to October and you always hear "must be shaking the almonds", now I know what that actually means. Farming, the whole thing, is amazing to me! Now I'm curious how they process them in the packing sheds.

      You know, sometimes I really crave Lays Potato Chips or Cheetos and just a handful of almonds will actually crush that craving, and chocolate in any form works when you have a sweet tooth. Thanks for stopping by!


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