Almonds are not a true nut, but rather a seed; they are loaded with protein, fiber, vitamin E and B-6, along with essential minerals, and contain no cholesterol. Many studies have been conducted on the health benefits of this Mediterranean *fruit*, and there's evidence that the seeds were harvested as far back as 3,000-2,000 BC. Almonds are mentioned in the Bible as being a healthy *fruit* and mentioned several times within the Tome.
You'll find almonds in many forms; Almond butter, Almond milk, Almond flour, Almond Extract and the nuts whole, slivered and flaked, honey roasted or whole in the shell. Marzipan and Frangipane are both made with almond paste.
Just a one ounce serving of almonds provides one eighth of your daily protein requirements and they are very low in sodium and zero cholesterol, so they are heart healthy snack options and are on the list of healthy snacks for diabetics.
The beauty of almonds is that unless you have an allergy, they can be eaten out of hand, added to baked goods and you can even make your own Almond flour, Almond Milk, Almond Butter and Almond Extract from the whole seeds. Which, if you're attempting a more self reliant lifestyle is beneficial, especially if you're steering away from processed foods and making the attempt to cut costs from the food budget. Each method is easy to do and requires little hands on time.
DIY Almond Extract
Extracts are easy to make and cost effective, besides it allows you to make your own unique blends of herbs and other flavorings such as the Almond, Vanilla or Citrus.
There is very little hands on time for making extracts, however it does take several weeks for the extract to infuse before using or gift giving.
For the Almond extract I use a small mason jar filled about half way with slivered almonds, then pour alcohol over them to about 1/2 inch of the top of the jar. Cover with a tight fitting lid, then shake the jar to make sure the alcohol gets in and around the almonds. I use the slivered almonds so their is more surface to extract the oils, but you can use whole almonds or crushed, if you choose. The alcohol you use should be as high proof as possible for the best extract. 80% proof and up if possible. Everclear if available in your state is 100% and above, but from my research, 100% proof or above is not allowed in some states. I had no problem finding it, but you might.
What you need
4 oz. Mason Jar with ring and lid
2 oz. Slivered Almonds
Scant 4 oz. Vodka (you can use others such as Rum, Everclear etc.)
Jar funnel (optional)
Wash and sterilize the jar (s). Fill half way with the slivered almonds. Pour the alcohol over the almonds to within 1/2" of the rim of the jar. Cap, then shake to distribute the alcohol through the almonds. Set on a shelf in the pantry. Shake the jar each day and allow the extract to develop for up to 2 months before using or gift giving. Strain off the extract into small extract bottles, using cheese cloth to prevent particles of the nuts from entering the extract.
Uses: Almond extract is often added to cherries for cherry pie and other cherry baked goods. It may also be added to Apricots and any recipe that calls for Almond extract. Do not discard the liquor infused almonds, just add them to almond bread or muffins or top your favorite dessert or ice cream with them.
Note: If you have an allergy avoid almonds and the extract. If you have an allergy to nuts or seeds, avoid almonds and the extract. Those with allergies may experience nausea, vomiting, problems swallowing, stomach pain or diarrhea and if severe may experience breathing issues.
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