Pickled Green Almonds
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Fresh green almonds are a special spring treat that's only available for a short time. Make the most out of the bounty with this quick & easy fridge pickle recipe. Pickled green almonds make a great accompaniment to roasted chicken, potatoes, tapas/mezze, hummus, and plenty of other dishes.
If you're here, there's a pretty good chance that you're in one of two camps: either you're a huge fan of green almonds, and you're looking for something to do with them, or you've just discovered them and have no idea what to do with them. Either way, you're in the right place!
Green almonds are simply almonds picked when young and immature. The outer shell of the almond is still soft at this stage, and can be eaten along with the more familiar inner kernel. The kernel itself is different at this stage too - it's soft and somewhat translucent, with a clear jelly-like interior. At this stage, the typical almond flavour is very subtle and much less pronounced. Instead, green almonds have a sour, slightly nutty, somewhat herbaceous flavour. They're most commonly eaten as-is, usually with sea salt for dipping. That being said, they cook and pickle very nicely too, which is excellent given how short their season is. Pickled green almonds will keep nicely in the fridge, allowing you to enjoy them longer and to make the most out of big harvests. If you'd like to learn more about green almonds I've got a detailed guide to them right here. There's also more information about finding them in the Recipe Notes section below.
Green almonds are particularly popular in parts of the Middle East (notably Iran and Turkey), but are enjoyed anywhere that almonds are grown. Unsurprisingly, they tend to be paired with a lot of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavours, though their mild and pleasant flavour could work with all kinds of cuisines from around the world. These simple pickled almonds have an amplified acidic bite thanks to the added vinegar, as well as a nice balance of spice notes and vegetal/green flavours. They're tasty, complex, and a nice way to shake up your pickle game a little bit. They're fantastic with roasted chicken, and a little of the brine splashed over the finished meat makes for a nice touch. They're also great anywhere you'd normally serve pickles - charcuterie boards, mezze, tapas, etc. You can also chop them up and mix them with olive oil or good mayonnaise and use them to dress vegetables or meats. They can also be added to stews and simmered dishes where they mix a lovely vegetable component, but do make sure to take into account the added sourness and acidity that they'll introduce to any meal.
Have you got serving ideas of your own for these lovely and unique pickles? I'd love to hear from you! Feel free to leave a comment, or to reach out on social media. You can find Diversivore on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, and I'm always happy to talk food with readers.
Because there's no hot-water bath canning involved here (it's a quick pickle recipe), there's not much difficulty involved. The biggest factor to consider is when and where to get green almonds - so let's cover that first.
I've actually written a detailed guide to green almonds already, with loads of information about finding, choosing, and using them. There's also nutritional information, health and science related tidbits, and more, so I do encourage you to check it out.
If you've already read the guide you probably know everything you need to know, but I'll give a quick overview on finding and using green almonds for those who have skipped ahead.
Green almonds are highly seasonal, as they can only be picked early in the almond season, and they have a fairly short shelf-life. In the Northern Hemisphere they tend to start showing up in mid-April, and continue to show up until May or June. Generally speaking, the earlier and fresher the almonds are the better. If you're buying them late in the season be sure to try a couple to see if they're fresh and tender, as they can become bitter and woody if allowed to sit out for too long. Try to avoid any almonds with brown spots on the surface, or with any particularly obvious signs of damage. There is some variation in size between and within crops; small almonds are often younger and more tender, but this isn't a hard-and-fast rule.
Your best bet for finding green almonds is generally going to be at markets catering to Iranian/Persian communities. Well-stocked Middle Eastern grocers and specialty green grocers are a good bet too, especially in larger cities. If you live in an area with a lot of almond trees (e.g. California) you might want to see if any local orchards sell green almonds direct to consumers.
Spices & Vinegar
The spice blend used to pickle these almonds uses coriander and green cardamom to lean into the flavours typical of Iranian and Middle Eastern cuisine. Rosemary also adds a nice, distinctive piney/herbal character that I personally think works quite well with the vinegar and almonds. That being said, there's nothing to stop you from experimenting with spice blends of your own. You could try other herbs, or a different spice blend. Cinnamon wouldn't be out of place either, though I would avoid overdoing it, or you risk overwhelming the relatively subtle flavour of the almonds.
I specify white wine vinegar here for its flavour and comparatively mild flavour. Champagne vinegar would be nice too, if you're feelin' fancy. I personally don't like making many pickles with pure white vinegar, as I find it particularly harsh and biting - but if you like pickles made with white vinegar, go right ahead. Red wine vinegar would give a very different character to the almonds, but it would probably be quite nice if you were planning to use them with roasted lamb or beef. Let me know if you try it!
Pickling Time & Storage
Piercing the almond ends with a skewer allows the vinegar to do its job faster, so these pickles are ready to eat pretty quickly. That being said, I think that they're better after spending a week or so in the fridge, soaking up flavours from the spices.
The finished pickled green almonds keep very well in the fridge. Officially, you can let these sit for at least a couple of months. Unofficially, I left a jar in the fridge for over 6 months and found them perfectly tasty.
Do note that this is a refrigerator pickle recipe, and not a hot water bath canned recipe. This recipe has not been tested for home canning, and I do not recommend that you try it out.
Serving with Chicken
I want to leave you one last little note on the serving suggestion shown in the photos on this recipe. A simple roasted chicken (homemade or picked up ready-to-eat from the store) makes a great accompaniment to these pickles, and it makes for a lovely instant meal. I recommend carving up the chicken and scattering it with almonds and a splash of the flavourful brine. A drizzle of honey wouldn't be out of place either.
Note: Nutritional Information is given for a single serving (1/20th portion of the total recipe). Actual sodium values are lower than shown (see nutritional summary)
Note: The nutritional data does not accurately reflect the vitamin and nutrient content of these pickles, as I only have limited data for green (young) almonds. It is safe to assume that they are fairly high in dietary fiber, calcium, iron, and vitamin E, as these are all found in fairly high levels in mature almonds.
The sodium content looks pretty high, but that's assuming that you're consuming a portion of the brine along with the pickles. If you use the brine to dress a roasted chicken (as shown in the pictures) then it's good to have this information, but if you're just eating the pickles on their own the salt content will be considerably lower.
Taking into account the note about salt above, there's not much bad to say about these! The vitamin content seems somewhat low at first glance, but this is at least somewhat related to available data (see above).
No pantry pages have been written yet for any of the ingredients in this recipe. Like to see one? Let me know in the comments below or by email.
Pickled Green Almonds
- 1 lb green almonds
- 1.5 L water
- 1/4 cup salt kosher or coarse, pure salt
- 1 cup white wine vinegar
- 1 tsp fresh rosemary
- 8-10 black peppercorns
- 1/2 tsp coriander seed
- 4 pods green cardamom crushed
- Clean the almonds, removing the stems and discarding any bad or damaged fruits. Use a small needle or skewer to pierce the almonds in two places (I do the stem end and tip to keep the holes inconspicuous). Set the clean, pierced almonds aside in a large nonreactive bowl.
- In a small pot, combine 1.25 L (5 cups) water with the salt. Bring to a boil and ensure that the salt is entirely dissolved.
- Pour the hot brine over the almonds. Set aside for 24 hours.
- In a small pot, combine the remaining 250 ml (1 cup) of water with the vinegar and spices. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat and set aside, up to overnight (the longer it sits, the more the spices will flavour the vinegar).
- Drain the almonds, rinse with them with cold water, and pack them into clean, scalded jars.
- Pour the vinegar mixture through a strainer to remove the spices, then bring the liquid to a boil.
- Pour the hot pickling liquid over the almonds. Cover the jars and set them aside to cool. When they're cool enough to comfortably touch, refrigerate them.
More Pickles & Preserves Coming Soon!
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