Today I played with almonds. I decided to challenge myself and try blanching, halving, slivering and slicing them. Not bad, huh? The photo above shows the order of difficulty which also increases the risk of cutting yourself. No, I didn't get hurt :o)
The first and easiest step was to blanch the almonds. I boiled some water in a pan, removed from heat and added 1 cup whole almonds. I counted 1 minute and removed the almonds from the hot water with a slotted spoon into a bowl with water at room temperature. Left it there for another minute and strained. After that, I started pinching the almonds and their skin came out very easily. I had forgotten to turn off the stopwatch I used to count the first minute, and it ended up helping me find out that it only took me 8 minutes to peel them all, boiling and cooling included!
Left them to dry over a clean tea towel.
Next step was to halve the almonds. Not as easy as blanching, but a small paring knife helped doing the task.
The halved almonds were then slivered using a small sharp knife. Each half was cut into three slivers. Some of them broke, but overall I had slivers.
Last, and most difficult was to thinly slice the blanched almonds. I used a tiny, but very sharp slicer, and of course, sliced only half of each almond unless I wanted some finger slices as well. It would be handy to do that when you need only a little bit for garnishing or something like that, and you don't want to drive to the grocery store just to get some sliced almonds, but I wouldn't recommend slicing almonds at home. They are definitely worth the extra cost. The result was nice, though.
I also sliced a few unblanched almonds. They were more fragile than the blanched ones.
I haven't finished playing with almonds yet. Next time I will try making homemade almond flour, almond paste and almond butter. Stay tuned!