If you have access to almonds fresh off of the tree, consider yourself lucky. Fresh almonds still in their soft hulls are at their peak for nutrition and flavour. Remove the hull as soon as possible after harvest. The hull inhibits the drying process, and the longer it is left on, the more the nut's nutritional quality degrades. Once you have removed the hulls from your almonds, keep the shells on until you are ready to eat them -- even long after they have dried. Almonds with their shells on keep much longer than shelled almonds.
- Skill level:
Turn the almond on its side and look for the portion of the seam that is partially split.
Stick your fingernail in the split portion of the seam (or even straight through the seam if it is not split).
Pull the hull away from the shell by pulling back with your fingernail. The hull should come right off.
Add the hulls to your compost pile. They make very rich soil. Or, feed them to any ruminant animals on your farm. Goats, sheep and cows love to snack on almond hulls.
Tips and warnings
- Almond crops are ready to eat when 95 per cent of the hulls have split open.
- In-shell almonds have a shelf life of 8 months at room temperature, and 1 year or more if refrigerated or frozen.
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- Purdue University; Almond - With Shell; Rosie Lerner; 2000
- University of California; Composition and Feeding Value of Almond Hulls and Hull-Shell Meal; M. Velasco; 1965
- University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources; Harvesting and Storing Your Home Orchard's Nut Crop; Ed Perry, et al.; 1998