Almond Tree Growing Facts and Holiday Recipes - Delishably - Food and Drink
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Almond Tree Growing Facts and Holiday Recipes

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Deb has degrees in chemistry, biology, and ornithology. Her primary focus is bird photography, and she researches heron behavior.

Almond in hull on tree

Almond in hull on tree

Growing Almonds

Almond trees are relatives of both the plum and the peach, growing from 15 to 30 feet tall with branches just as wide. They begin bearing nuts after only a short three years, but you won’t get full-scale production until the tree is about 12 years old. If properly cared for, your tree could well outlive you and could produce a great deal for 50 years.

Best Growing Conditions

Sweet almonds like low humidity and a warm growing season, and California does well in terms of meeting these requirements. It is easiest to plant seeds in the fall in well-drained soil. Squirrels will dig these up, so put a staked cage around the plantings until they are growing well. Plant your shorter trees 20 feet apart, and don’t prune unless you really need to do so, as this will hamper nut production.

How to Harvest Almonds

The nuts will be ready to harvest in August or September. The outer hulls will split open when ripe. When most of the hulls in the mid-portion of the tree have split, strike the tree with a heavy rubber mallet. This will avoid damaging the wood and bark. Directly after harvest, shell and dry the almonds to prevent mildew. Dry the nuts in a partially shaded area and leave until the nut is crunchy. Then store in airtight containers in a cool place until ready to use.

And Now...

Now for what you have all been waiting for, the valuable recipes. Have fun with these, especially during any holiday.

Blanched Almonds

Blanched Almonds

Blanched Almonds

This will allow you to get the brown skin off the nut.

  1. Pour boiling water over the nuts and let them stand 5-10 minutes, or until the skins wrinkle.
  2. Drain the water.
  3. Slide off the skins by squeezing the nut between your fingers. If some won’t come off, do another bath of boiling water.
  4. Allow the nuts to dry when skinned.
Roasted Almonds

Roasted Almonds

Roasted Almonds

  1. Cook almonds in a frying pan (blanched or unblanched), with 2 or 3 tablespoons hot oil.
  2. Stir until evenly browned, then drain.
  3. If you like, sprinkle them with salt.
  4. Nuts can also be baked in the oven at 350 degrees F for 5-12 minutes. Stir occasionally while they are baking.
Toasted Almonds

Toasted Almonds

Toasted Almonds

Oven option: Place nuts on a cookie sheet in a 350 degree F oven until golden brown, about 5 minutes. You could mix in a tablespoon melted butter and a teaspoon salt per pound of almonds and bake until lightly browned and crispy. Stir often.

Stovetop option: First blanch, then heat butter in a small pan over low heat. Add nuts and fry for 5 minutes, or until lightly browned. Drain on paper towels.

Almond Paste

Almond Paste

Almond Paste

Make this a week before you need it, as the paste improves with a little storage.

  1. In a mortar, chopper, or blender, grind shelled, skinned, and dried unroasted almonds. If necessary, run them through the grinder a few times to get them very fine.
  2. For every 2 cups almonds, dissolve 1 cup of sugar in 1/2 cup orange juice, and then mix well with almonds.
Macaroons

Macaroons

Macaroons

  1. Blanch 1/2 pound of almonds and pound them to paste with a mortar. Even put them through a grinder several times set on fine. You can use a blender, if you have one.
  2. Add 1/2 pound powdered sugar and 2 stiffly beaten egg whites.
  3. Work it all together, then form balls about the size of a whole nutmeg.
  4. Bake at 250 degrees F until golden.

Macaroons With Almond Paste

  1. Use 1/2 pound of almond paste, and gradually add 3/4 cup sugar with 3 beaten egg whites.
  2. Mix well, then add 1/4 cup powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons flour.
  3. Place by teaspoonful onto a paper-lined cookie sheet. Flatten shapes a bit.
  4. Bake at 250 to 300 degrees F for approximately 30 minutes.
Marzipan

Marzipan

Marzipan

  1. Mix 1 cup of almond paste, 1 cup powdered sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla or orange extract. Knead about 20 minutes, then set on a cookie rack to dry. After drying, you can shape it into any forms that you’d like, or use marzipan molds that can be purchased at kitchen specialty stores.
  2. After drying your molded shapes at least overnight, paint them with food coloring using a small paintbrush. You can even dip them like you would an Easter egg. Allow to dry. Feel free to use accessories, like cloves for apple stems, and angelica bits can be used for leaves.
  3. Leave the shapes covered with heavy syrup for 8 hours. To make syrup, cook 5 pounds of sugar with 2 ½ cups water to the soft ball stage, which is 234 to 240 degrees F. Remove syrup from heat and allow to cool. Add marzipan in a single layer. It is important throughout this step to avoid disturbing the syrup as much as possible. Then drain to candies and allow them to dry once again.

A Suggestion

I'm not sure if anyone would be interested, but there are recipes out there for almond puff pastry that are pretty easy to make . . . any takers?

© 2012 Deb Hirt

Comments

Deb Hirt (author) from Stillwater, OK on July 21, 2015:

Thanks for sharing, thumbi7. Should I soak raw almonds or another kind?

JR Krishna from India on July 21, 2015:

Interesting read. I soak almonds the previous night and we used to eat few along with breakfast

It is believed to improve intelligence

Voted up and shared

Deb Hirt (author) from Stillwater, OK on June 16, 2015:

I think I'd like to be able to get the raw almond right from the source and try them. Bet they're so much better that fresh.

Sanjay Sharma from Mandi (HP) India on June 16, 2015:

Very interesting and informative hub. We generally break the almonds to get the kernels, but the boiled water technique is very useful.

Deb Hirt (author) from Stillwater, OK on March 21, 2013:

klidstone, they are so good for you, especially the raw almonds. Can't beat that flavor, eh?

இڿڰۣ-- кιмвєяℓєу from Niagara Region, Canada on March 21, 2013:

Mmmm now I'm hungry - the roasted almonds definitely!

Deb Hirt (author) from Stillwater, OK on December 06, 2012:

Thanks for reading, Eddy. Try the marzipan, if you have time.

Deb Hirt (author) from Stillwater, OK on December 06, 2012:

Absolutely, Rebecca, I think you do need to do something, especially on the black walnut.

Eiddwen from Wales on December 06, 2012:

So interesting and very well informed. Thanks for sharing and have a great day.

Eddy.

Eiddwen from Wales on December 06, 2012:

So interesting and very well informed. Thanks for sharing and have a great day.

Eddy.

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on December 05, 2012:

I love almonds. I have almond extract that I use for strawberry pie recipes. I don't think we have almonds growing local here, but the pecans and black walnuts are raining down on my head. Literally. You have inspired me to maybe do a 'nutty' hub, lol.

Deb Hirt (author) from Stillwater, OK on November 27, 2012:

Goodness is right, Chittrangada. I'm glad that you enjoyed it.

Deb Hirt (author) from Stillwater, OK on November 27, 2012:

Maybe they will bear avocados before that time.

Deb Hirt (author) from Stillwater, OK on November 27, 2012:

Oh, my gosh, Martin, could you imagine a computer doing that? It would be worth its weight in gold!

Deb Hirt (author) from Stillwater, OK on November 27, 2012:

Hey, Melissa! MN is a little cool for the almond. Peaches are related, though.

Deb Hirt (author) from Stillwater, OK on November 27, 2012:

I aim to please, Billy. Can you obtain a variety that will grow that far north?

Deb Hirt (author) from Stillwater, OK on November 27, 2012:

Thanks, Nell! These are one of my favorite nuts! Marzipan, anyone?

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on November 27, 2012:

Very nice and interesting hub. The pictures are so nice. Thanks for reminding everyone about the goodness of almonds.

LetitiaFT from Paris via California on November 27, 2012:

To tell the whole truth, my husband is growing two avocado trees in our Paris apartment, but I don't know what will become of them when they've reached ceiling height, since they'd freeze outside!

Martin Kloess from San Francisco on November 26, 2012:

The only way this hub could get better is if almond treats dropped out of my computer. Thank you.

Melissa Propp from Minnesota on November 26, 2012:

Oh, I would so love to have an almond tree! I think I'm in the wrong climate...we have apple trees, cherry trees and plum trees---but no almonds. I don't think they would like the snow very much, though...ah well, I still enjoyed seeing the recipes because we can buy almonds in bulk and now I know how to make almond paste. Great pictures too!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on November 26, 2012:

Well, I love to eat them; maybe I should consider growing them. You are very good at giving me gardening ideas.

Nell Rose from England on November 26, 2012:

I would love to have an almond tree in my garden, and your nut ideas are great! the Toasted Almonds look especially delicious, voted up! nell

Deb Hirt (author) from Stillwater, OK on November 26, 2012:

Thanks, Letitia! Are there any trees that you can grow where you are?

LetitiaFT from Paris via California on November 26, 2012:

I dream of having an almond tree (& an avocado tree, a lemon tree, an olive tree, a pommegranite tree & all those other trees I could have had if I'd stayed in California, sigh). I'm bookmarking this and voting up.