Almond is the fruit of the almond tree, very common in Asia and in the Mediterranean basin. The almond is a drupe, with an oval shape, consisting of a green husk, a woody shell and one or two white seeds, covered by a light brown film. It is highly rich in fat.
Widespread throughout Italy but more typical of the southern regions, almonds have a vast gastronomic use both at home (in sweet and savory recipes) and in the food industy (from amaretti to sugared almonds). When purchasing this product, it is important to keep in mind that they it goes rancid easily (due to the fatty acids they contain), almonds last a month if kept in a cool place, but if they are peeled they reach only a maximum of ten days. However, they can be stored in the freezer for about three months.
If you have to blend them, do it in short pulses, mixing them between one and the other, otherwise they tend to knead, escaping the blades. If the recipe is sweet, just blend them with sugar.
Almonds ripen in May and can be eaten fresh during this period. However, they are generally eaten dry and, in this form, they are used both for savory and sweet preparations. There are also salted almond, praline, powder and fillets on the market.
There are two varieties, which can be classified into bitter almonds and sweet almonds, depending on the presence of amygdalin in the seeds. This substance, which determines the typical taste of bitter almonds, is however toxic, consequently these seeds must be consumed in modest quantities. Bitter almonds are used in industrial confectionery to give an aromatic touch to some specialties (especially amaretti ).
Sweet almonds are sold in shell or peeled; the shelled ones can be whole, in strips, grains or even in flour and milk (based on water and almonds). They are very caloric (575 cal. Per hectogram) due to the high percentage of "good" (unsaturated) fats, which fight cholesterol, nevertheless they are not dietetic