Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Thinning Peaches & Harvesting Green Almonds at UNCE Orchard

Written by Bob Morris

I was out in the UNCE Orchard in North Las Vegas and we are starting to thin peaches. These thinned fruit, about the size of a garbanzo bean, can be pickled so dont throw them away! We are also ready to start harvesting green almonds. Green almonds are harvested when the hull is large but before the nut has had a chance to set up. The nut can vary from being semi gelatinous in the inside or firm and white but the outer part of the nut should be white and soft.

All almonds start off green.

Green almonds have a jelly-like, soft inside and a soft fuzz on the outside.

Green almond paste is used as a coloring paste on pastries in parts of Europe.

Green almonds are sometimes used in herbal glycerine soap for their Vitamin E.

Green almonds are available for an 8 week period in the early growing season from April to mid June. The developing almonds are considered ‘ripe’ for harvest as green almonds.

At this stage, the almonds resemble a tiny, immature version of their cousins the peach or apricot, with a soft green fuzzy hull surrounding the nascent nut.

Within the hull, the skinless, white “almond” characteristically has a gelatinous texture, similar to a firm grape.

Due to their short life span, green almonds have always been considered a rare delicacy.

Green almonds are popular in the Mediterranean and Middle East.

Green almonds are used by chefs as a cooking ingredient, but also as a garnish.

Green almonds have a distinct but subtle flavor that is hard to pin down, but has been variously described as delicate, grassy, fruity and even “green.”

Green almonds are often soaked in brine or milk to soften them for snacking. They can also be shaved or used whole in soups or salads to add their distinct flavor and texture.

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