It will not have escaped your attention that nuts in general are good for you for many reasons but I must admit I do have a particular favorite; almonds!
Often referred to as the ‘king of nuts’, almonds have been enjoyed all around the world for centuries. In fact Ancient Romans would shower newlyweds as a symbol of fertility, Persian rug makers would often weave almond images into rugs as symbols of beauty and hope and King Tut was buried with almonds to supposedly nourish him on his journey into the afterlife.
A 1-ounce serving (approximately 23 whole almonds) is an excellent source of antioxidant vitamin E, provides 6 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber and gives us a solid dose of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. They keep you energized, curb hunger pangs and are so easy to transport; you can literally take them anywhere.
This quick and healthy snack is not the only way we can get this little gem added into our diet, chopped or slivered, they add great texture and crunch to salads, rice pilafs, stir-fries, vegetarian dishes, smoothies and cereals. If you finely grind almonds you can use them to coat fish, chicken as a healthy alternative to breadcrumbs or adding a little brown sugar and butter can increase the nutrients in a baked crumb crust. You can use them to make a pesto and adding lemon zest and fresh parsley with a little olive oil is a wonderful garnish to grilled salmon.
There are also many almond versions of our staples such as almond butter, almond milk, almond flour and almond oil, all great healthy alternatives. Almond butter is a wonderful alternative to peanut butter. Almond milk can be switched for dairy milk on cereals or in desserts. Almond flour is obviously higher in protein than white flour is lower in carbs and gluten free.
To keep your almonds fresh store them in a tightly closed container as they can absorb odors. They will keep for long periods of time (up to a year) as long as they are away from direct sunlight and in a cool dry spot. Roasted almonds should be stored in a similar way, however they should be eaten within a few weeks, but hey I think we can all manage that!