Green almonds have always had cachet – to find them, you really had to know somebody who knew somebody. But nothing stays hidden for long in today’s food world and this year, for the first time I’m aware of, almond producers are making an effort to get green almonds into the marketplace. They’re still pretty tough to find, but at least they’re not hidden under the farmers market tables anymore.
Green almonds are immature nuts. They look like almonds covered in a fuzzy green wrapping. The edible part is inside that husk, a somewhat sweet, slightly gelatinous milky, jelly-like substance. They’re almost like pale grapes.
You get to the fruit by carefully slicing the almond along one edge and then popping it open. In the Middle East, they’re a popular snack, but in restaurants, because of the work involved, they’re usually used just as a garnish – scattered around a dish a few at a time.
If you want to try them, you have to hurry – they’re only harvested for a few weeks in early spring. After that, the nuts begin to harden. You can still find them at some farmers markets and at Middle Eastern markets, such as Star Kosher Meat Market in Santa Monica. They’re also available online from Stewart and Jasper Orchards.