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THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on,
the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Snacks

FOOD FUN: Mac & Cheese Potato Skins

Many people enjoy crunchy potato skins filled with with cheddar cheese, bacon, sour cream and green onions.

But at Tony Roma’s, they switch out the cheddar and sour cream for macaroni and cheese. You can make the mac and cheese from scratch, or use leftover mac and cheese.



  • Small baking potatoes
  • Melted butter
  • Mac and cheese
  • Garnishes: crisp diced bacon, minced chives or
    thinly-sliced green onion
  • Salt and pepper
  • Beer!


    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/mac and cheese potato skins tonyromasFB 230sq

    Mac & cheese potato skins. Photo courtesy Tony Roma’s.

    1. PLACE the rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400°F.

    2. PIERCE each potato several times with a fork or the tip of a sharp knife and place on the oven rack. Bake until the skins are crisp and easily pierced with a knife or cake tester, about 50 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool about 10 minutes.

    3. SET the oven to broil. Slice each potato in half lengthwise. Scoop out the flesh, leaving about 1/4 inch of flesh around the skins. Reserve the scooped flesh for another use (e.g. mashed potatoes).

    4. BRUSH the insides of the potatoes with melted butter; season with salt and pepper. Flip the skins and repeat.

    5. SPACE the potato halves skin-side up on a baking sheet. Broil until the butter foams and the skins start to crisp, 2 to 3 minutes, watching so they don’t burn. Flip the skins over and broil until the top edges begin to brown, 2 to 3 minutes.

    6. REMOVE from the oven and fill each skin with mac and cheese and bacon. Place under the broiler and broil until the cheese bubbles, about 2 minutes. Remove from the broiler and top each skin with chives or green onion. Serve immediately.



    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Made In Nature Coconut Chips

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/madeinnature coconut chips bag 230

    Madagascar Vanilla Coconut Chips. Photo
    courtesy Made In Nature.


    The new Made In Nature Organic Toasted Coconut Chips are a big hit with THE NIBBLE team. We love them for snacking and garnishing.

    Crunchy, health-tasting and versatile, we enjoyed the original plain toasted coconut chips. But the flavored versions are even better, and each is a winner:

  • Ginger Masala Chai
  • Italian Espresso
  • Maple Madagascar Vanilla
  • Mexican Spiced Cacao
  • Vietnamese Cinnamon Swirl
    A bit of maple syrup is used as a sweetener. All ingredients are organic and non-GMO* with natural flavors. The coconut chips follow the Made In Nature mission: healthy snacks and global flavors.

    The manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) is $3.99 for a 3-ounce bag. The line is certified kosher by OU.


    *Certified USDA Organic and Non-GMO Project Verified.



    Beyond delicious snacking and incorporation into your trail mix, toasted coconut chips fit into every meal of the day as a garnish:

  • Breakfast: cereal, cottage cheese, yogurt
  • Lunch: Asian chicken salad, green salad, PB&J sandwiches, soup
  • Dinner: general plate garnish, international dishes, rice and other grains
  • Dessert: cake/cupcakes/pies, fruit salad, ice cream
    You can match the flavors of the coconut chips to the flavors of your dishes; for example, Italian Espresso Coconut Chips on coffee ice cream, Mexican Spiced Cacao on anything chocolate, or Ginger Masala Chai with an Asian stir-fry and rice.

    Or mix and match the flavors. We just added Vietnamese Cinnamon Swirl on top of a baked apple. We promise, you’ll have fun being creative with these flavored coconut chips.



    You can toast your own coconut chips. Photo courtesy

    If you want to make your own coconut chips, here’s a recipe from Jodye of It takes a while to get specialty flavors perfect, though; so you might want to start with Made From Nature.

    Made In Nature is available nationwide at retailers such as Costco, REI, Safeway, Sprouts, Wegman’s and Whole Foods Market; at select natural food stores; and online.



    FOOD HOLIDAY: S’mores Cone, S’mores Dip & More Creative Recipes

    For National S’mores Day, August 10th, Reynolds Kitchens has developed two grill approaches that use aluminum foil instead of the original twig over a fire. You can also make them indoors on the stove top.

    The recipes evolve S’mores graham cracker sandwiches into two fun variations: s’mores cones and skillet s’mores.

    Use your favorite chocolate, milk or dark. We use Guittard or Valrhona wafers or chop up Lindt bars; but you can use chocolate chips or chocolate chunks.

    Below, we have links to the history of S’mores and graham crackers, and many more creative S’mores recipes, from S’mores ice cream cake and cupcakes to cinnamon S’mores with a cappuccino cocktail.



  • Chocolate
  • Marshmallows (large or mini)
  • Graham crackers, broken into pieces


    S’mores cone. Photo courtesy Reynolds Kitchen.

  • Cones (use the smaller sugar cones instead of the larger waffle cones)
  • Aluminum foil


    1. STUFF the chocolate, marshmallows and graham cracker pieces into the cones, alternating to distribute the flavors.

    2. WRAP in foil and heat the packet over a campfire or grill for 3-5 minutes.

    3. REMOVE the packet carefully and allow it a few minutes to cool before unwrapping and eating.



    S’mores dip. Photo courtesy Reynolds Kitchen.




  • Chocolate chunks (you can break up chocolate bars)
  • Marshmallows
  • Graham crackers
  • Aluminum foil

    1. PLACE the chocolate chunks in a skillet. Top with the marshmallows and place over the campfire or grill until melted.

    2. REMOVE from the heat, ideally with a skillet handle pot holder.

    3. DIP the graham crackers into the skillet s’mores.. Warn people to avoid touching the skillet!



  • S’mores History
  • Graham Cracker History
  • Cinnamon S’mores with a Cappuccino Cocktail
  • Creative S’mores Recipes
  • Gourmet Marshmallow S’mores
  • Ice Cream S’mores
  • S’mores Ice Cream Cake, Ice Cream Pie and Cupcakes
  • S’mores in a Cup
  • S’mores with Other Types Of Cookies


    TIP OF THE DAY: Ways To Use Fresh Summer Tomatoes

    Sometimes, the government bodies that approve food holidays are way out of whack. Fresh Tomato Day is April 6th. National Tomato Day is June 1st. October is National Tomato Month.

    In California and Florida, the two states that grow the most tomatoes, you can probably get a fresh tomato in April and most certainly in June. But people in the majority of the U.S. will have to make do with cherry tomatoes or less flavorful locals or imports until the peak summer tomatoes arrive.

    Everyone knows that the most lush, juicy, locally-grown and freshly-picked tomatoes are available nationwide in August. So why promote tomatoes when the best ones are out of season?*

    Thus, for the first time, THE NIBBLE is declaring its own food holiday. For us, August is National Tomato Month!

    Whatever the time of day, there’s something delicious to be made with fresh tomatoes—even cocktails.

    There are lots of recipes that do well with canned tomatoes. Don’t waste pricey fresh tomatoes on them. Instead, go for uncooked or lightly cooked recipes, where the fresh tomato taste sings.

    Our summertime favorite is a simple combination of heirloom tomatoes, goat cheese, fresh basil, olive oil and balsamic vinegar (a Caprese salad with chèvre instead of mozzarella).



    Tomato crostini, with both red and yellow tomatoes. The recipe is below. Photo courtesy Gaea Olive Oil.

    But this Saturday, we’re going whole hog (whole tomato?) with tomatoes in every dish of every meal. We put together this recipe list, and will decide exactly what to make on the big day. We know that a tomato tart will be on the list.


  • Diced and marinated fresh tomato with plain yogurt and/or cottage cheese (add fresh dill or basil)
  • Frittata
  • Omelet with diced fresh tomato, herbs and green onions
  • Poached eggs on toast with sliced tomatoes, or on a thick slice of tomato instead of toast
  • Shakshouka, spicy poached and baked eggs (shakshouka recipe)

  • BLT, with a luscious T
  • Grilled cheese with a big slice of tomato and fresh basil (try grilled mozzarella, tomato and basil—a grilled Caprese; if you don’t like basil, try arugula)
  • Pasta salad with diced fresh tomatoes
  • Pizza (top the sauce and mozzarella with sliced tomato) or flatbread topping
  • Sliced egg and tomato sandwich
  • Sliced on a burger (try one slice above the burger and one below)
  • With assorted cheeses and baguette slices
  • Sandwich or salad with fried eggplant and tomato slices and provolone or other favorite cheese
  • Tomato sandwich: sliced tomatoes, arugula or watercress, sprouts, sweet onion and any other veggies you like with flavored mayonnaise or compound butter, on good bread (we also toss on some capers and fresh-cracked black pepper

  • Caprese salad or stack (stack the ingredients into a small tower)
  • Gazpacho or hot tomato soup
  • Multicolor heirloom tomato salad with vinaigrette (we pair wedges cut from larger tomatoes with halved cherry tomatoes for a nice visual)
  • Tomato, watermelon and feta salad with with basil mint
  • Tomato, watermelon and peach salad with crumbled cheese (basil or mint also welcome)

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/grilled tomatoes peaches wmmb 230

    Fresh tomatoes and peaches, grilled with cheese. Photo courtesy Eat Wisconsin Cheese.


    & MORE

  • Broiled or roasted tomatoes with blue cheese, chèvre or feta
  • Tomato basil garlic butter (compound butter) for bread spread and cooking (it’s very freezable)
  • Fresh raw corn and tomato salad with herbs
  • Fried green tomatoes: they’re what to do with tomatoes that fail to ripen before the first frost
  • Marinated tomatoes and fresh herbs, as a side or as a first course in an avocado half
  • Panzanella, summer bread and tomato salad (panzanella recipe)
  • Salsa—see how much better it tastes with great tomatoes
  • Tomato crostini or bruschetta (recipe below)
  • Tomato juice, seasoned for drinking or spiced for Bloody Marys
  • Tomato-stuffed endive leaves
  • Tomato tart/tartlet or galette with tomato and cheese; tomato, onion, eggplant and other summer vegetables like zucchini; or Greek style with feta and black olives

  • Diced tomato garnish on mac and cheese, rice or grains
  • Fresh (uncooked) tomato sauce for pasta (you can also cook fresh tomatoes into a sauce)
  • Pasta with diced heirloom tomatoes, goat cheese and fresh herbs
  • Dessert: strong cheeses with fresh tomatoes and crusty bread
  • Dessert: tomato ice cream or sorbet (tomato ice cream recipes)

    Bruschetta and crostini are popular hors d’oeuvres that are easy to make. They also can be served as a first course or a light meal, with salad and/or soup.

    The difference between them is the size of the slice, plus grilling versus toasting. Bruschetta is made from a loaf of bread that’s three or four inches in diameter; the bread is then grilled. Crostini are cut from a loaf about two inches in diameter and toasted rather than grilled.

    Can you toast a larger slice and grill a smaller one? Go for it!


  • Baguette
  • Optional: fresh goat cheese
  • Heirloom tomatoes, yellow and red
  • Fresh basil
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and fresh-ground pepper

    1. CUT the tomatoes into triangular pieces (see photo at top of page) and place in a bowl. Chiffonade the basil leaves and add to the tomatoes. Season lightly with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, plus salt to taste.

    2. SPREAD the goat cheese on plain or lightly toasted baguette slices. If not using cheese, brush the slices lightly with olive oil. Top with the dressed tomatoes and basil. Finish with a grind of fresh pepper.
    *The answer: This happens with quite a few fresh foods. Companies and trade associations are eager to get publicity for their products and don’t want to wait for an appropriate month. The government officials who approve the holiday, from local to federal, just rubber-stamp the petition. Sometimes, producers especially want publicity in the off season when their products don’t sell well. That’s why June is National Turkey Month and February 6th is National Frozen Yogurt Day. These two are no big deal because you can get a good turkey or frozen yogurt anytime. But apricots are a summer fruit, so why is January 9th National Apricot Day? Why is February Berry Fresh Month—and so on, and so on? When we began THE NIBBLE in 2004, the concept was to match our content not just to American holidays (Christmas, St. Patrick’s Day, etc.) but to the hundreds of officially sanctioned daily/monthly food holidays. We also chose to promote food seasonally. But on an out-of-season holiday like National Apricot Day, all we can promote are apricot jam and apricot nectar!



    RECIPE: Whole Grain Mustard Potato Chips


    Bring some to a cook-out. Photo courtesy Maille.


    Some people like to dip their fries in mustard. Why not potato chips?

    This recipe is from gourmet mustard producer Maille, which used its Maille Old Style Whole Grain Mustard.

    We love them with a cold beer, with a sandwich or with grilled meats. If you want to bring something to a cook-out, make lots!

    Prep time is 3 minutes, cook time is 4 minutes. There are other nifty recipes on the website.


    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 6 tablespoons Maille Old Style Whole Grain mustard
    (or substitute)
  • 1 bag (8 to 10 ounces) kettle-style potato chips

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F.

    2. SPOON the mustard into a flat-bottomed bowl. Add the potato chips and QUICKLY but gently toss with clean hands. The chips should NOT be saturated with mustard; you just want a very small touch on each chip.

    3. SPREAD the chips in a single layer on a non-stick baking sheet (silicone baking mat preferred).

    4. BAKE, stirring once, for about 4 minutes; then remove from the oven and broil on low for 2 minutes to crisp. Watch carefully to avoid burning!

    5. COOL and serve within 24 hours.



    PRODUCT: Hummus Snack, No Refrigeration Required

    It’s not easy to find healthy snacks to eat on the go, much less those that are gluten free. Wild Garden Hummus, which sells shelf-stable (no refrigeration required ) hummus in jars, has a welcome new line called Snack Bo To Go!.

    It’s a tube of hummus packaged with a packet of gluten-free crackers. Neatly boxed, it’s a tasty alternative for anyone who wants to keep a better-for-you snack in a car, locker, desk drawer, gym bag, etc.

    In fact, if you’ve bought a hummus snack pack on an airline, it was probably Wild Garden.

    A small cardboard box includes your hummus flavor of choice in a 1.76-ounce single-serve Tetra-Pak (67 calories; with the crackers the snack is around 200 calories). Squeezing out the hummus is easy and mess-free. Flavors include:

  • Back Olive Hummus
  • Fire Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
  • Jalapeño Hummus
  • Roasted Garlic Hummus
  • Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus
  • Traditional Hummus


    Small, easy-to-pack boxes with nutritious, delicious snacking inside. Photo courtesy Wild Garden.



    It’s easy to squeeze hummus from these Tetra Paks. Photo courtesy Wild Garden.


    The different flavors of hummus are variously paired with a half-ounce of delicious, gluten-free crackers or chips:

  • CrunchMaster Multiseed Crackers, an everyday favorite at THE NIBBLE (127 calories)
  • The Daily Crave Vegetable Chips (147 calories)
  • Wild Garden Quinoa Chips (122 calories)
    We tried all of the varieties, and pronounce them delicious.
    The MSRP is $2.29 per box (serving). sells it for $2.50.

    If you want to buy the hummus packages only, you can get a box of 24 packets or 100 packets on
    Visit for more information.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Artisan Chips For Cinco De Mayo


    A line of chips made from the best-available ingredients. Photo courtesy Cabo Chips.


    If you’re having tortilla chips on Cinco de Mayo, celebrate with a better chip. We received a sample of Cabo Chips, and the toughest part has been restraining ourselves so there are still chips left on May 5th.

    Cabo Chips were born during a beach vacation to Cabo San Lucas in Baja, Mexico. Created by a college student who set out to make “the best,” these are artisan chips. The company actually grinds whole corn kernels, makes tortillas, and cuts and batch-fries them into the chips.

    The seasonings are top drawer, too: fresh lime juice, sea salt, powdered mango (not “mango flavor”), organic cinnamon and sugar. You’ll taste the difference: fresh and natural.

    There are currently four flavors:

  • Original, with delicious corn flavor.
  • Blue Corn, ditto, with a hint of lime.
  • Churro, with a light touch of organic cinnamon and sugar, for a sweeter chip that can be paired with ice cream for a riff on buñuelo.
  • Mango Lime, tangy, fun and, we believe, the only mango chip out there.
  • Ancient Grain launches in June, a complex blend of teff, chia and amaranth with sea salt and lime.

    The line is certified kosher by KSA, gluten-free, non-GMO, vegan and whole grain.

    If you can’t find Cabo Chips locally, you can buy them online at, in 1.5-ounce snack packs and 5.5-ounce bags.


    Long ago, we bought our first bag of blue corn chips because we were attracted to the color, and then the naturally sweeter flavor. Much later, we learned that blue corn was better for you than white or yellow corn.

    Blue corn-based foods were originally developed by the Hopi natives of Arizona and New Mexico, who bred the blue corn. Blue corn is actually regular yellow corn that has a high level of anthocyanins, powerful antioxidants that give the corn (and blackberries, blueberries, etc.) its blue hue.

  • Blue corn contains 20% more protein and has a lower glycemic index than white corn.
  • It is a more complete protein source than white or yellow corn.
  • The anthocyanins metabolize toxins, inhibit DNA damage, reduce inflammation, metabolize carcinogens and more.


    Surprisingly, tortilla chips are not a traditional Mexican food. They were first popularized and mass produced in southwestern Los Angeles in the late 1940s by Rebecca Webb Carranza, who, with her husband, owned a Mexican deli and tortilla factory.

    Misshapen tortillas were rejected from the tortilla manufacturing machine, so Ms. Carranza turned them into snack chips. She cut them into triangles, fried them and sold them in snack-size bags.

    Needless to say, they sold well and became a popular appetizer in California’s Mexican and Tex-Mex restaurants. They expanded across the U.S. in a big way in the late 1970s, with the growth of Mexican and Tex-Mex restaurants. They replaced corn chips like Fritos as America’s favorite corn chip* snack.

    And yes, they made their way to Mexico.

    *The main difference between the two types of chip is that a tortilla chip is cut from a whole tortilla. A corn chip is corn meal that is processed into a particular shape.



    Why is blue corn better for you? See the explanation above. Photo courtesy Cabo Chips.


    Some are obvious, some are new:

  • With dips: guacamole, salsa, queso and others.
  • With soups, as a garnish or on the side instead of crackers.
  • As a base for canapés, topped with cheese, meats, spreads, etc.
  • Crushed or pulsed into a gluten-free crust or coating for chicken and fish or pork†.
  • Crumbled into omelets, used instead of tortilla strips with migas, or served as
    an egg dish side with salsa.
  • As a casserole topping.
  • As a meatloaf filler or in stuffing.
  • As a salad garnish.
  • Nachos and nacho dogs: hot dogs topped with shredded cheese, salsa and crumbled nachos.
  • With ice cream, especially sweeter flavors; or plain chips with a drizzle of honey.
    Have we left out your favorite uses? Let us know!
    †A great use for the broken pieces! Shake ‘n Bake was created to use Kraft’s supply of cereal crumbs.

    ‡Pulse in a food processor into a flour.



    RECIPE: Homemade Soft Pretzels


    Bake a batch for National Pretzel Day. Photo courtesy Williams-Sonoma.


    April 26th is National Pretzel Day. Bake a batch of delicious soft pretzels and serve with grainy mustard and beer.

    This recipe is courtesy Williams-Sonoma. See more photos of the process.

    Find more delicious recipes at

    Ingredients For 12 Large Pretzels

  • 1 cup warm water (110°F)
  • 1 package (2-1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more if needed
  • 3-1/4 cups (16 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup (2-1/2 ounces) baking soda
  • Coarse salt for sprinkling
  • Grainy mustard for serving (you can substitute Dijon)

    1. STIR together in the bowl of a stand mixer the warm water, yeast and sugar. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.

    2. ADD the olive oil, flour and salt. Attach the dough hook and knead the dough on medium-low speed until smooth, about 10 minutes. Form the dough into a ball, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled, about 1 hour.


    3. PREHEAT the oven to 450°F with the rack placed in the middle. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and brush the parchment with oil. Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface, then cut it into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a long rope about 18 inches long. Position each rope positioned horizontally.

    4. BRING the 2 ends of the rope up and toward the center as if forming an oval. Cross one end over the other, and press each end into the bottom of the oval to create a pretzel shape. Place the pretzels on the prepared pan.

    5. FILL a large, wide saucepan with 7 cups of water. Stir in the baking soda, and bring to a boil. Gently drop 2 or 3 pretzels at a time into the boiling water (be careful not to overcrowd them). Boil for just under 1 minute, turning once with a large slotted spoon or spatula. Return the boiled pretzels to the baking sheet, spacing them evenly, top side up.

    6. SPRINKLE the pretzels with coarse salt. Bake until beautifully browned, about 10 minutes, rotating the pans about halfway through. Serve warm with big spoonfuls of grainy mustard.



    BYOB and dig in! Photo courtesy Williams-Sonoma.


    The origins of mustard are lost to history, but it is a Northern Hemisphere plant, the seeds of which have been found in Stone Age settlements.

  • Egyptians tossed the seeds onto their food, and sent King Tut to the great beyond with a good supply in his tomb.
  • The Sumerians ground it into a paste and mixed it with verjus, the juice of unriped grapes.
  • Wealthy Greeks and Romans ground mustard seeds and mixed them with wine at the table.
    Cultivated for thousands of years, mustard was the primary spice known to Europeans before the advent of the Asian spice trade. Westerners had mustard long before pepper, which originated in India. Once trade routes were established, ancient people from India to Egypt to Rome chewed mustard seeds with their meat for seasoning.

    Our word mustard comes from the Middle English mustarde, meaning condiment; which in turn comes from the Old French mostarde. Mosto derives from the Latin mustum, the word for grape must, or young, unfermented wine, which was the liquid mixed with ground mustard seed by French monks who made the condiment. The monks’ word for mustard was mustum ardens, meaning burning wine.

    By the 1400s, mustard-making had spread through Europe; each region made its own style.

    One of the earliest versions was grainy mustard, a more casual name for what is known as old-style or old-fashioned mustard, and moutarde à l’ancienne in French.

    Grainy mustard is prepared from a base of mixed mustard seeds, verjus or white wine, spices and herbs. The ingredients are ground coarsely in order to leave the seeds whole.

    Grainy mustard has a dark color and a slightly milder flavor than other mustards. It has a slightly sweet taste, making it a good accompaniment for rustic foods like sausages or country-style pates and cornichons. It can be mixed with melted garlic butter and fresh thyme to create a sauce to drizzle over fish, and many other creative preparations.

    Here’s more on the history of mustard and the different types of mustard.

    *Today, white wine and verjus are used to make some mustard varieties; vinegars are used to make most others.



    PRODUCT: Good Natured Vegetable Crisps


    A new way to eat your veggies! Photo courtesy Herr Foods.


    Americans love salty snacks, as evidenced by the never-ending stream of new chips on the market.

    From Herr’s, an estimable regional potato chip producer, comes a tasty new line in their Good Natured Selects series of baked crisps: gluten-free veggie chips called Vegetable Crisps, in Original and Ranch.

    In addition to flavor and crunch, they contain a half serving of your DV of vegetables in every ounce serving, which includes 35% of your DV of vitamins A and C.

    Real bell peppers, carrots and spinach in each chip deliver vitamins, with a flavor profile and texture that will please the most invelterate junk food lover (and those who’d like something better, too).

    Similar to other crunchy snacks, they’re 110 calories per one-ounce serving.


    Made from the finest all-natural ingredients, the chips contain no artificial ingredients or preservatives, no satuarated fat or trans fat. They’re certified kosher, OU(D).

    For the veg-averse, eating veggies will never taste better.



    PRODUCT: Green Almonds

    After limited pickings during the winter months, spring has begun to yield food treasures. But you may have to be a good treasure hunter to find things that are new (to you) and special.

    One tip is to ask when you see something unfamiliar, like the fuzzy green “beans” in the photo. They’re actually green (unripe) almonds.

    For a window of three to four weeks, reports Hannah Kaminsky, green almonds may be hiding in plain sight at your local farmers market. You may need a sharp eye: Less known products are often placed behind the more popular fare. Writes Hannah of these immature nuts:

    “One would never mistake them for the raw or roasted almonds they can become, which is part of the appeal. Catch familiar nuts on the unripe side and you’ll be treated to a whole new snacking sensation.

    “The fuzzy exteriors belie a firm, crunchy texture, wholly edible and entirely delicious from the outside shell to the kernel. Their short window of availability is dictated by the maturation of the almond, as it grows and transforms into the crunchy nut we all know and love.



    Unripe green almonds, fuzzy on the outside, remind us that almonds are botanically related to peaches. The soft green shell will harden into the tough brown shell of the mature almond. Photo by Hannah Kaminsky | Bittersweet Blog.

    “Before that happens, the immature almond has a pleasantly bitter taste, with an overriding flavor 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.

    “You can also add them to salads, whole or chopped; use them for garnishes on chilled soups (make Spanish chilled almond soup with them!); combine them with spring peas; or otherwise toss them into any raw or cooked food.

    “But they’re best when allowed to shine solo. At most, cure them in a lightly sweet and sour brine, and you’ll have the stuff of pickle plate dreams.”

    Their soft-yet-firm texture can be like a grape, depending on how unripe they are when picked. But there’s a sense of the nut it’s going to become.

    Almond lovers: Head to your farmers market, or find a friend with an almond tree!



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