Green Almonds

26
14

bowl of green almonds

Every Friday, I hit Boston’s Haymarket with one of my dearest friends, the CEO of SeeMyDrink.com.

Haymarket is loud, dirty, and absolutely wonderful. It’s Boston’s biggest outdoor market, and you’re almost always guaranteed to find something interesting. (Click here to take a peek at more pictures of the market.)

Boston's Haymarket


We buy a little cheese at Harry’s Cheese Shop. We get some provisions for the weekend. We keep our eyes out for the cheap, the ripe, the delicious, and the unusual.

I stopped in my tracks when I saw a giant box of green almonds.

“WHAT are those?” I asked, pointing at what looked like a heap of round sage leaves.

“Almonds,” replied the guy at the back of the stall.

“Really?? They’re, like, furry.”

“No, they’re good. Watch.”

The almond guy grabbed one out of the box, slit the end with a nail, squeezed out the nut, and popped it into his mouth.

“Delicious!” he said. “You try some?”

He didn’t have to ask me twice. He bagged up a pound for me, I gave him two bucks, and my friend and I meandered off toward the cheese shop.

green almond close up

What is a green almond?

Popular in the Middle East and the Mediterranean, green almonds are just what they sound like: Immature almonds.

two green almonds on the stem

Almonds shrivel and harden after they’re harvested. So, if left to their own devices, these little guys would shed their green sweaters as they age and shrivel to resemble the brown, holey-shelled beasties that we know as almonds.

green almonds in dish

Green almonds have a really short season—sharing that Endangered Spring Vegetable Status with ramps, fiddlehead ferns, and pea greens—from April to about mid-June. You might find them labeled “fresh almonds.”

fresh almonds in a dish

They have a fuzzy green hull that protects the baby nut.

one green almond

To get into one, slice through the hull with a paring knife until you hit the meat of the nut. Cut around the hull in a circle, like you would to get inside an avocado.

slicing into a green almond

Split it open.

green almond halved

inside a green almond

shelled green almond

The nut itself is kind of squishy, like a grape or lychee.

fresh almond

They taste, well, green. Kind of grassy. A little tangy. They were good, but I’m not sure I’d buy them again.

inside green almond

green almond meat cut in half

What can you do with green almonds?

You mean, aside from chew on them thoughtfully in the kitchen and think that they’re kinda good, but kinda strange?

Snack on them fresh out of the shell. Or make like David Lebovitz, and use them to top ice cream, or tuck a few into jars of homemade jam.

Have you had them?

How did you serve them? (And what did you think?)

SHARE
Previous articleCranberry Oat Bars
Next articleOld-Time Chocolate Molasses Chews
Jessie Cross is a cookbook author and creator of The Hungry Mouse, a monster online food blog w/500+ recipes. When she's not shopping for cheese or baking pies, Jessie serves as an Associate Creative Director at PARTNERS+simons, a boutique ad agency in Boston. She lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and two small, fluffy wolves.

26 COMMENTS

  1. My mom used to date a Lebanese guy who would sprinkle a little salt on them and eat them with the fuzzy shell on the outside (i.e. bite right through them); I would imagine that eating the nut part is so much better because it lacks the grittiness of the fuzzy shell, but to be honest, eating the entire thing the way it is, as a replacement to pretzels while watching the game wasn’t half bad.

    • I am Lebanese. Trust me when I say – the outside is just as good as the inside, if not better.

      A green almond goes from having an edible softer shell with a squishy unripened almond to a hard green shell with a fully hardened fresh almond. Both are great.

      We wait anxiously for the green almond season each year. Then when the arabic store finally gets them, we buy a bunch. Only wash what you’re going to eat at one time. While they’re wet, I like to put salt all over them. (You can also just dip them into a little plate of salt on the side if you don’t want to sprinkle salt on all of them). The green almond’s hull has a bit of tartness to it (not too much, but just enough). With salt it’s wonderful.

      Then when the almonds get ripe, the outside hull is too hard to eat. It will tear apart your stomach if you try. That’s when we buy them, & break them open, take the hardened fresh almond from inside, take the brown peel off of it, & eat the white colored almond. It’s soooo good.

      Keep in mind: Once you wash the Green almond, it has to be eaten within a day or 2. If you don’t, they turn brown. Only wash what you’re going to eat. Keep the unwashed ones in a bag with a paper towel in it to keep soaking up any moisture so they won’t go bad.

      Try them – they are wonderful.

  2. I have never laid my eyes on green almonds before – they are so pretty! Now I’m going to keep an eye open for them at the farmer’s market. Two bucks for a pound? Wow!

  3. I got to try them when one of my co-workers brought them into work. My co-worker informed me that you eat the whole thing and not just the inside. I found the taste to be something like a very crunchy raw green bean with a real nice tangy flavor when you bite into the soft middle of it. I’d eat them again for sure!

  4. “My mom used to date a Lebanese guy who would sprinkle a little salt on them and eat them with the fuzzy shell on the outside ”

    Yum! One of my favorite things to eat as a kid!I could never wait to put them in the fridge to cool down, they taste so much better cool.

  5. You eat the whole thing, not just the jelly-like nut inside. In fact, 99% of the taste is in the hull. You can dip them in a little salt, too.

    Actually, I think they taste a little like guava (the hard green type from Asia, not the strawberryish type from the Caribbean and Latin America) and believe they would be delicious dipped in sichuan peppercorn salt. I’m going to try this when I get home, since I have a couple pounds in a bowl on the counter.

  6. I found some at a Middle Eastern market in Brooklyn that the vendor let me try. I ate the whole thing shell and all and felt similarly ambivalent. I might try them jam though as DL suggested. They were too pretty not to give another chance.

  7. There’s an almond tree busting out with green almonds in our backyard — maybe 500 almonds on the tree. My 2 year and 4-month year old son loved cracking open bitter almonds summer and fall. The green almonds are very sour and bitter, but he loves them, fuzzy shell and all. I live on a moshav in Israel. My landlord is of Southern Indian descent, and his family cuts them up with hot peppers, lemon and salt (and vinegar).

  8. My Palestinian mother-in-law cut a cross into the stem end of green almonds and cooked them with tiny pearl onions. They made a great side dish, seasoned with salt and pepper.

  9. I’m Jordanian and I eat green almonds,shell and all, with salt. It’s an aquired taste–I thought they were just wrong at first and now I love them.

  10. hello, i am lebanese, every year i wait for the green almond season to come, after i wash them very well i eat the whole almond with salt, it’s so tasty and healthy,full of omega 6, omega 9, dietary fiber, proteins, plus a lot more. Analysis has unveiled which ingesting almonds are perfect for decreasing cholestrerol amounts. Furthermore they no consist of carbohydrates, they might flavor oily and fattening. Almonds appeared to be proven to boost skin appearance, boost power, and in addition ease bowel movements. As well as becoming a helpful source of proteins, they are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids as well as soluble fiber. Theyre in addition an exceptional supply of e vitamin and mineral deposits for example magnesium, calcium mineral, and phosphorus.

  11. I discovered an almond tree in my yard (Northern California) and for a couple of years I didn’t get around to harvesting them. This year I decided I would, but I think I picked them too soon and now I can’t open them. Help! They’re beautiful and green, some I picked up off the ground, but they are so hard I can’t even pry them open. I tried tasting the green outside, like someone at this site talked about, but it tasted awful so I suspect it is also because I picked them too soon (they came off the tree easily….). So, if I let them set for a while will they ripen and split open? I’m so excited to have them, now I need to figure out how to handle them. Thanks.

  12. I have an Almond tree on my property and every year around September/October, the green almonds burst out of their flowers in a relatively short time. Unlike what is said in this article, we eat the green shell part as well including the soft nut in the middle. My family like to take a small bite then dip it in some salt as to mask the sourness of the shell but I prefer it as is.

    It’s a great plant that takes little up-keep once at a certain size, the tree will basically take car of itself. 🙂

  13. What do they taste like? cuz I saw my friend chewing it at school and she said it said yum. But I am not sure which one.. SOUR or SWEET or SPICY?

  14. […] 2. Green Almonds: These are popular in the mediterranean. They are immature almonds that have not fully ripened, so they are covered with a fuzzy light green skin on the outside. You have to carefully slice the skin with a paring knife to extract the nut, similar to how you would open an avocado. They are softer than a typical almond and have a more earthy flavor. For more information about green almonds, click here. […]

  15. This is amazing. About 10 years ago, I planted two almond trees at our house in San José, CA. I’ve never harvested a single almond because the squirrels would always clean them out first. A few years ago, I even bought one of those stupid ultrasonic squirrel scarers. At least I was smart enough to buy one that had a money back guarantee if it did not work. Now, almost 60 years old, I learn there is an easier way (and why the squirrels eat them)!

  16. Ha! I sound like everyobe else! Just saw them for the first time in my life at our local Persian Market. Go figure since they appear between April and June. I questioned an Iranian woman next to me as she picked though about a half pound to take home. She said to soak them in salted water for about 10 hours then down they go. She did not mention removing the shell. I guess in about 10 hours, I’ll try them both ways!

LEAVE A REPLY