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How to Cook with Almonds

When I was little, I used to sit by my dad while watching TV and he’d always be crunching away on handfuls of raw almonds. I’d asked for one or two every once in a while out of curiosity, and remember never liking the things. Their bland taste just did me wrong. It would literally take me one full minute to gnaw on a single almond before getting it down. 

But these days it’s a whole other story. I eat almonds on a daily basis and have for years. I love their texture, earthy flavor, health benefits and how versatile they are. Almonds are not only delicious, but they’re also a great food for dieters as they’re a good source of protein which can help squelch hunger.

What are almonds? Almonds are the seed of the almond tree, which is native to the Middle East and South Asia. The seed or “nut” portion of the almond is what we actually consume, while the outer hull is removed before packaging.

Health benefits: Besides being a great source of protein, almonds are also an excellent source of healthy monounsaturated fats, which have been linked to lowered risk of heart disease. Almonds are also high in magnesium, which promotes blood flow; Vitamin E, which helps protect our skin from harmful free radicals; and Vitamin B, which helps support our body’s cellular metabolism.

Nutritional statistics: One ounce or 23 single almonds contains approximately 162 calories, 14 grams of fat, 6 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of dietary fiber, and 6 grams of fiber.

Cooking methods: While almonds are tasty all on their own as a raw snack, they can also be roasted, soaked, blanched, slivered and ground for a variety of cooking methods. They make a great flour alternative for gluten-free dieters as almond meal, which can be used in a variety of baking dishes like cakes, cookies and muffins. And despite what some may think, they can also be ground into homemade nut butter either raw or roasted right in your own home. Check out the recipe for roasted flaxseed almond butter below, as well as several other delicious recipes featuring almonds to fully explore all this nut is worth.

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Recipes:

Cider Poached Pears with Yogurt and Toasted Almonds

Almond Pilaf

Banana Almond Smoothie

Roasted Flaxseed Almond Butter

Lemon Birthday Cake

15 Ways to Power Up with Almonds

June 10th, 2012

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