Sliced almonds add a nice crunchy texture, a rich nutty flavor, and added protein to your bread, pastries, meats, salad, pasta dishes, seafood, desserts, vegetable sides, and more. Almonds are also rich in fiber, magnesium, calcium, vitamin E, and other minerals. You can easily find and buy a bag of sliced almonds in your local grocery store but you may have also noticed how it is significantly more expensive than whole nuts.
If you’d like to save a few bucks or get freshly sliced almonds whenever you want some, good news! You can learn how to slice almonds yourself through the help of this article! Not only is this more practical and economical but it also allows you to achieve your preferred size and thickness of slices. Continue down below to learn more!
How to Slice Almonds
While it is not hard to find sliced almonds in stores, they can be a few bucks more expensive. Luckily, you can always slice them yourself if you have whole almonds in hand. It takes some time but it’s simple and easy enough. Who knows, you might even enjoy this little DIY activity!
Written below are the different things needed and the steps involved in slicing almonds yourself.
Things You’ll Need:
- Whole almonds
- Hot Water
- Heat-proof bowl
- Sharp chef’s knife
- Cutting board
- Baking trays and oven or pan for toasting
Step 1. Blanching the Almonds
Because raw or roasted almonds are small with rough skin and hard flesh, you will need to do something to soften the meat and make it easier to remove the skin in preparation for slicing. The most common way to do this is by blanching.
Otherwise, you will just end up with crumbs and shattered pieces if you attempt to slice them with a knife. You might even injure yourself or have nuts flying everywhere around your kitchen.
Blanching will render the nuts soft enough to be easy to slice. To blanch almonds, simply follow these steps:
- Put the whole, raw nuts in a heat-proof bowl made of glass or metal.
- Bring to a boil enough water to fully submerge the almonds.
- Then, once the water starts boiling, pour it over the nuts.
- Allow the nuts to soak for at least three minutes and then drain them using a colander.
Step 2. Peeling the Almonds
Just for the record, it is not necessary to peel blanched almonds before slicing them since the brown skin will turn soft and is also edible. However, it is generally better to do so because the skin has a slightly bitter or tannic taste that can affect the flavor of your dish.
If you make sliced or slivered almonds with the skin on, you may also end up with a lot of small, papery bits that can be messy or unappealing.
A bit of a heads up, however, peeling almonds is tedious work especially if you are working with a lot of nuts since you have to peel them one at a time. You can consider this as a bonding experience for you and your family or friends. Some may even look at it as a meditative activity. Here’s how to peel blanched almonds:
- Once the almonds are drained and cool enough to handle, you can start peeling them.
- Get one nut at a time and with clean hands, pinch it between your index finger and thumb. The skin should slice right off fairly easily. You can also rub the skins off using a gentle back and forth motion with your fingers.
- If the skin does not slide off easily, you can put the nuts back in the hot water and blanch them longer.
- Peel away any remaining pieces of the skin using your fingers.
Step 3. Slicing the Almonds
Now that your almonds are soft and peeled, you are ready to slice them into pieces or slivers. To do this, follow these steps:
- Place your cutting board on a stable, flat surface. You might want to put a damp paper towel underneath to keep it from sliding.
- Get a sharp and good quality chef’s knife and have a sharpening tool or honing steel nearby.
- Then, place your peeled blanched almonds on the cutting board with the tapering tips facing away from you.
- Put one hand on the tip of your knife to hold it in place. It should stay in contact with the chopping board at all times. Only use the wide part of the blade to cut the nuts.
- Drive the knife three to five times lengthwise using a stong, fluid, rocking motion. Do not use the blade to strike the nuts or use a sawing motion. Since the almonds are not flat, they are bound to slide off or bounce away as you do this especially if you are inexperienced in using a chef’s knife or if your knife is blunt. Keep the tip of the knife in place using the palm of your non-dominant hand and your dominant hand firm on the handle to avoid injury.
- If the nuts have dried or are not soft enough, they will break apart. If this happens, blanch them again for another minute or so. Also, sharpen the knife blade for a cleaner, smoother slicing.
Step 4. Toasting the Slivered Almonds
Almond slices are kind of sad, damp, soft, and lifeless after all of this. In order to give them a nice color and restore their crunchy texture, I recommend toasting them. This will also activate the oils in them for an enhanced, richer flavor.
Because it is easy to overcook or burn almond pieces due to their thinness, it is ideal to toast them while they are still damp. This minimizes the risk of burning them.
Here are the steps in toasting almond slivers:
- Spread the almond slivers on a large baking tray. Try to leave spaces between them and avoid overlaps.
- Pre-heat your oven to 350℉ or 175℃.
- Depending on your preference, you can flavor the nuts by dusting them with some salt, cayenne powder, paprika, pepper, or other herbs and spices that will complement the dish you will be preparing with them.
- Place the baking tray in the oven and cook it for 3 to 5 minutes, tossing the almond pieces around several times until they start to turn into a golden brown color.
- Promptly remove the tray from the oven to avoid overcooking or burning the nuts.
- Transfer the nuts to another baking tray, flat vessel, or a clean countertop. Spread them out to allow them to cool.
- Store completely cooled almond slices in an airtight container and place in a cool, dry place. You can also put them in plastic bags then store them in the freezer.
Alternatively, you can toast the almond slivers on a flat frying or cast iron pan on low to medium heat. Do this for smaller batches. Place the sliced almonds on the pan without heat and allow everything to get warm together. Toss the almond slices around to prevent burning. Continue doing this until you get your desired browned color.
Now that you know how to slice almonds as well as the right techniques to do so, you no longer have to pay extra for this convenience item. Enjoy sliced almonds as a nutritious and pretty garnish or ingredient on different dishes! You can even store these nuts in the freezer or pantry to make them last for months!
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