Spring Produce Spotlight: Green Almonds

Standing tall and pert in rows a dozen deep, forests of asparagus cover the tables at farmers markets as far as the eye can see. Classic harbingers of spring, their appearance signals a definitive end to winter, as though the slender green stalks had slain the seasonal demon themselves. Deep green, royal purple, ghostly white; all colors were represented on this early April day, each bundling growing more enticing, glowing more vibrantly in the rising morning sun than the last. With a heavy bag straining under the weight of this spring plunder, it would be easy to call it a day, feeling quite content with a delicious, albeit rather predictable haul. Don’t make that mistake. Delve further into the booths, interrogate the farmers if you need to, and seek out rarer treasures. For a window of about three to four weeks, green almonds may be hiding in plain sight at your local markets, amassed in humble little piles or collected in small baskets, just behind the more popular fare. Off-putting fuzzy exteriors belie a firm, crunchy texture, wholly edible and entirely delicious from the outside shell to kernel. Their short window of availability is dictated by the maturation of the almond, transforming the fresh fruit into the crunchy nut we all know and love. Leading with a pleasantly bitter taste, the overriding flavor is that of lemons and cucumbers, sometimes with a hint of tart grape in the background. Juicy yet crisp, they’re impossibly addictive when eaten with just a light pinch of salt. Sure, you could chop them up and add them to salads, use them for garnishes on chilled soups, or otherwise toss them into any raw or cooked preparation you see fit, but they’re best when allowed to shine solo. At most, go ahead and cure them in a lightly sweet and sour brine, and you’ll have the stuff of pickle plate dreams. One would never mistake them for the roasted almonds they may one day become, which is part of the appeal. You may think you know the common nuts, but catch them on the unripe side and you’ll have a whole new snacking sensation in store.

15 thoughts on “Spring Produce Spotlight: Green Almonds

  1. I’ve never seen a green almond! They sound delicious. I admit that if I saw them, without having read this post, I probably would have passed them by. Honestly, I would have thought they hadn’t ripened yet! Do you eat them whole? Or do you peel them? It sounds like you eat them whole?

    1. You can eat the whole thing! Some people do take out just the kernel, but I think that really misses the point of these delicacies. The entire fruit is edible, delicious, and packed full of fiber, too.

  2. I just got very confused by that image of asparagus under the title for this post. Hey, California is the home of vegetable inventiveness, maybe you guys DO have green almonds that look like asparagus! ;). You just reminded me! I had better head on down to that walnut tree before the possums and rats eat all of the fresh nuts! I plan on making some delicious pickled walnuts this year :)

      1. They are spicy and very tasty and the Italians have been making them for years (along with the English).

  3. I’ve never heard of green almonds, but the asparagus looked great. :-) Can’t wait until the markets are open here, but it will be quite a while yet.


  4. I would genuinely never have known those where almonds if you hadn’t have told me. I shall keep my eyes peeled for them next time I’m out at the farmers market!

  5. Green almonds….you brought back wonderful memories of my childhood!! They are delicious!

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