Blanched, slivered and sliced almonds (At home)

We normally buy whole almonds, but use the sliced and slivered variety so seldom that I never keep them on hand.  I was making our favorite oriental chicken salad and instead of just crumbling almonds in the food processor like I sometimes do or making a run into town for a little baggie of slivered or sliced almonds I decided I would just do it myself.  If you were curious about the process, this is what you do.

Before you can slice or sliver, you need to blanch.  This is the process of removing the skins. Bring water to a rapid boil, and pour your almonds in.  Let them boil for one minute.  Then quickly drain the almonds and place them in ice cold water to stop the cooking process.  By now the skins will be wrinkled and pull away from the almond easily.

When the almonds are cool – it should only take a few minutes in ice water – begin skinning them.  You can rub them vigorously in your hands and some will pop loose, but the most effective way to do this is to gather your kids and after having them wash their hands, have them squeeze the almond out of its skin.  Have them aim the almonds, pointy end first, into a clean kitchen towel.  Squeeze the almond out of the skin from the rear. Some almonds will come shooting out fast!  You could also rub the almonds between two towels and the skins will rub off nicely.

Once your almonds are naked, let them out to dry if necessary.  Too wet, and you may find yourself having trouble with the knife slipping.  Before trying to sliver or slice, you may want to nuke them in the microwave for about 30 seconds to warm them up.  Warm almonds slice easier than cold ones do.  And if you are curious, I tried slicing almonds in my food processor, but the slicing blades I have are not nearly thin enough for sliced almonds.  You will have to slice each almond one by one as thin as you can get them with a thin, sharp knife.  Or sliver them, however you prefer.


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