Caution: Do not eat nuts if you have inflamed intestines and intestinal symptoms. Follow the SCD beginning diet until intestines are healed. Blanched almonds are less fibrous and irritating to a sensitive gut. Do not use pre-salted nuts as starch (which is not SCD legal) is typically added to make the salt stick.
Almonds and almond flour/meal have a wonderful, delicate taste when used in breads, cookies, cakes, fillings, candies and trail mixes . . . or just eaten alone. Almonds are sold whole, sliced, slivered, or ground into flour/meal with skins on or off and are a great low carb alternative to grain flours.
You can use unsalted “whole raw” almonds with the skins still on, or “blanched almonds”, which have had skins removed and are white. Blanched almonds have less fiber and a slightly higher carb count. For sensitive intestines, blanched almonds are recommended for making flour/meal. For those with no intestinal symptoms, either will be fine.
You can make your own almond flour/meal in a miniature food processor (an Oscar is great), or in a large, high quality food processor (such as one made by Cuisinart), or in a coffee grinder, a little-at-a-time. Fill the bowl of the machine to no more than half full and pulse the machine on and off until you have a fine consistency. You may have to fish out a few stubborn nuts from each batch. If you are using a heavy duty, high quality processor, you can let the machine run for a long time without ending up with almond butter or the machine overheating. Smaller machines may cut off when overheated on tough jobs.
Don’t expect a fine, powdery flour. The end result will be closer to a “meal” than a siftable flour. The terms, flour and meal, are often used interchangeably. Home ground nut flour works satisfactorily in recipes, and is definitely both cheaper and fresher, but the texture will be somewhat coarser unless you have a commercial grinder. Nut flour can be substituted for grain flour in any recipe; but less liquid will be needed in the recipe. Almond flour/meal should be kept refrigerated.
Toasting the almonds first before using in a recipe will give a delicious intense nutty flavor.
To make nut butter, spread nuts of your choice on a cookie sheet. You may want to lightly butter and salt the cookie sheet. Toast at 350 for 5-10 minutes until lightly browned. Turn/stir them and toast another 5-10 minutes. Watch carefully as they can burn easily. When they begin to smell toasted, they are almost done. Cool before using. They are best stored in the freezer in airtight plastic bags or containers.
For a delicious caramel-like candied snack, toast a mixture of unsalted nuts/raisins/seeds on a lightly buttered, salted and honeyed cookie sheet at 325 for about half an hour, stirring several times. While warm, push together in mounds or drop by spoonfuls on wax paper and let cool.
To blanch whole almonds, place in boiling water for about 1 minute. Drain and place in ice water to stop further cooking of the almonds. Peel/rub the skin off with your fingers. Bake them in a 350 degree F (180 degree C) oven for about 5-10 minutes, or until almonds are dry, but have no color. They are best stored in the freezer in airtight plastic bags or containers.