Almonds are often mistaken to be nuts. But they are actually the seed of the almond tree. The seed, also known as Prunus dulcis is native to India, North Africa, and the Middle East.
The almond fruit has a hard-green shell that cracks when it is mature for harvest. Once harvested, the fruit is dried and dehulled to bring out the almond seeds.
The almonds that we are familiar with is the pit of the almond fruit. This seed is packed with nutrients needed by the new plant to grow when it is eventually planted.
Nowadays, almond seeds are found in the United States, Spain, Greece, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Lebanon, Turkey, Syria, Israel, Morocco, and Jordan.
Some of the almond seeds are sweet while some might be bitter. The sweet and bitter varieties of this seed are available for purchase and can be used to prepare a range of dishes.
While the sweet almond seeds are eaten, the bitter varieties are used to make oil for adding flavor to food.
Almonds can be eaten raw or toasted. The toasted almond seeds are usually preferred by a greater number of people. This is because it is crunchier and has a rich brown color that is quite appealing.
Other forms that almond seeds can be bought are in the chopped, sliced, and slivered form. It can also be sold as almond oil, flour, milk, and paste.
What Is Almond Butter?
This is a paste formed when almond seeds are ground. It can be made smooth or crunchy, emulsified, or non-emulsified. The non-emulsified form of almond butter can separate into butter and oil layers.
Almond butter can be made from raw or roasted seeds. Almond butter is best stored in a refrigerator to prevent oil separation, rancidity, and mold growth.
How to Make Almond Butter with A Food Processor?
Making almond butter required just 2 essential ingredients, almonds, and patience. Other ingredients like vanilla, maple syrup, and salt are optional. It might look like those almond seeds will not be creamy but they actually can.
Almond butter can be made from raw and roasted almonds depending on how you want the flavor to be like.
Although roasted almonds can be bought in a store, it is also a good idea to roast the almonds yourself. It won’t take more than 15 minutes and you decide how the roasted almonds turn out.
The nutritional value of raw almonds is similar to that of the roasted almonds. The vitamin content of the roasted almonds, however, is a bit lower than the raw ones.
The rich flavor of the roasted almonds is also worth the loss of the vitamins due to the heat. Also, the heating up of the almonds can also help in getting rid of the microorganisms that might be found on the surfaces of the seeds thereby extending the shelf life.
- 3 cups of almonds
- ¼ teaspoon of salt
- ½ teaspoon of vanilla
- 2 tablespoons of honey or maple syrup
- ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon
- Roast almonds in an oven for 5 minutes at 350 oF. Stir and roast for 5 more minutes.
- Allow the almonds to cool for about 10 minutes. Do not allow them to get cold.
- Pour the almond seeds into the food processor and work on it. You should pause often to scrape the sides of the bowl.
- When the almond turns from floury clumps into a creamy and smooth paste, add other optional ingredients according to your taste.
- When the optional ingredients are mixed well with the butter, allow the butter to cool.
- Transfer into a jar and store in a refrigerator and use within 14 days.
How to Make Almond Butter Without A Food Processor
Almond butter can be made without a food processor using these two methods:
Method 1: Using Mortar and Pestle
- 1 cup of almond nuts, raw or slightly roasted
- 2 teaspoons of coconut or olive oil
- Salt to taste
- Sugar to taste
- Pound the seeds when they are still warm, using a mortar and a pestle.
- When the seeds get sandy, add the oil little by little and continue pounding. Do not add too much oil.
- Add the salt and sugar and keep pounding until a creamy and dense mixture is formed.
- Store in a jar and refrigerate. Use within 14 days.
Method 2: Using A Blender or Coffee Grinder
- 2 cups of blanched almonds
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon of salt
- 3 tablespoons of maple syrup or honey
- Preheat the oven to 250 o F.
- Mix the blanched almonds and the oil, salt, and syrup together.
- Place them in a baking sheet and roast in the oven for about 110 minutes, stirring halfway.
- When the almonds are brown in the middle when snapped, remove from the oven and allow to cool.
- After cooling for 15 minutes, put the seeds into a blender or a coffee grinder.
- Blend for 8 minutes on high speed while scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally. Blend until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
- Pour into a jar and store in a cool, dry place for up to 4 weeks.
Benefits of Almonds
Almonds are dried fruits that are small but are packed with nutrients. They contain vital minerals, vitamins, and healthy fats.
Some of the great health benefits of the almond seeds are:
Lower the Blood Cholesterol Levels
Although almonds contain fat, it is the unsaturated type of fat. The unsaturated fat contained in almonds does not allow the body to store the low-density lipoproteins (LDL) known to transport bad cholesterol round the body.
Almonds do not contain cholesterol, rather it helps to boost the level of high-density lipoproteins in the blood.
Research has shown that the consumption of about 45g of almond daily could prevent heart diseases.
Lower the Risk of Cancer
Studies have also shown that foods high in fiber can help to reduce the risk of colon cancer. Almonds contain fiber and therefore helps with the movement of food through the intestines.
This prevents the buildup of harmful substances that could lead to colon cancer.
Research has also shown that nuts like almonds, walnut, and peanuts have protective effects on the risk of developing breast cancer.
Increase the Level of Vitamin E in The Body
Studies also show that the consumption of almonds can increase the level of vitamin E in the red blood cells and blood plasma.
Vitamin E is known to act as an antioxidant. It eliminates the free radicals that cause damages and inflammation to the organs of the body.
This antioxidative properties of vitamin E also prevent the processes that enable cholesterol to be deposited in the blood vessels.
Studies have shown that the intake of Vitamin E can greatly reduce the incidence of heart diseases.
Balance the pH of the Body
There are many components that contribute to the overall health and well-being of the body. Alkalinity is one of them.
Almonds contain a lot of alkali substances and are believed to boost the immune system. Therefore, almonds play a vital role in helping the body to fight illnesses and infections.
Balance the Blood Sugar
When a carbohydrate food is taken, the body reacts to the increase of sugar in the blood by the secretion of insulin.
Insulin is a hormone that helps to transport sugar into the mitochondria of the cell where they are metabolized and turned into energy.
A sudden spike in the level of blood sugar could lead to an increase of insulin secretion which leads to hyperinsulinism.
This condition is usually experienced by diabetic patients when they eat a large meal or a meal with a high quantity of sugar in it.
Taking of almonds can help in reducing the rate of the reaction of the body to the sudden rise in the level of blood sugar.
It regulates the rate of absorption and metabolism of glucose, preventing a sudden increase in the secretion of insulin.
Helps in Weight Loss
The daily consumption of almonds has been known to assist in weight loss. Almonds taken in the form of almond milk has a low calorific value and contains monounsaturated fats.
Almond seeds are also high in fiber and eating a small quantity can give a feeling of fullness and prevents overfeeding.
Also, the fiber contained in almonds helps in proper bowel movements thereby help in weight loss and the elimination of harmful substances from the intestines.
Protects Heart Health
Almonds are rich in proteins, monounsaturated fats, magnesium, and potassium which can help in protecting the heart.
Almonds also contain folic acid which helps to reduce the blood level of homocysteine. This compound is known to support the deposit of fatty plaques in the blood vessels.
The buildup of fat on the blood vessels makes them narrower and thus increasing the blood pressure as they pass through them.
Total blockage of the blood vessels by these fatty deposits could lead to little or no supply of blood to the brain leading to stroke.
The antioxidative property of vitamin E is known to eliminate free radicals that damage the organs of the body.
Some flavonoids found in almonds also work with vitamin E to prevent damages to the arterial walls due to high blood pressure.
This is achieved through the relaxation of the arterial muscles and the increase in its elasticity.
The magnesium contained in almonds plays a vital role in the prevention of heart attacks.
Improves Brain Function
Almonds contain a lot of nutrients that can help in brain health and development. Therefore almonds are considered an essential food for children and teens.
Research shows that the consumption of almond especially almond oil can improve the function of the brain and nerves.
There are two important nutrients found in almonds that have been known to boost brain activity, increase cognitive abilities, improve memory, and learning.
These nutrients are L-carnitine and riboflavin. They are also known for creating new neural pathways and reduce the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease.
Almonds contain fiber which helps in proper bowel movements. This, in turn, helps to prevent indigestion and bloating.
It is advised that plenty of water should be taken while eating fiber-rich foods. This is to speed up the digestion process and to also properly regulate the bowel movements.
Some Almond Butter Recipes
Apart from using almond butter as a spread for bread or licking it just for fun, there are several ways you can use your almond butter.
Almond Butter Cake
- 100g of almond flour
- 70g of gluten-free flour
- 200g of almond butter
- ½ teaspoon of baking powder
- ½ teaspoon of baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon of nutmeg powder
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- 1 egg
- 100g of coconut oil
- 180g of honey
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 300 o F.
- Line a baking pan with parchment paper
- Mix the almond flour, gluten-free flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg powder, and salt in a big bowl.
- In another bowl, mix the egg, coconut oil, honey, almond butter, and vanilla extract together.
- Mix the dry and wet ingredients together until they form a smooth mixture.
- Pour the batter into the baking pan and bake for 35 minutes.
- Allow to cool and enjoy.
Oatmeal Almond Butter Chocolate Chips Cookies
- 1cup of rolled oats (gluten-free)
- 2 cups of almond butter
- 1 cup of chocolate chips
- 2 teaspoons of baking soda
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup of sugar
- 4 teaspoons of vanilla extract
- 4 eggs
- Preheat the oven to 300 o F.
- Mix all the dry ingredients (oats, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon) in a bowl.
- Using a blender or a food processor, blend the almond butter, eggs, sugar, and vanilla until they form a smooth mixture.
- Reduce the speed of the blender or food processor and add the dry ingredients slowly.
- Keep blending until all the ingredients are well mixed then pour in the chocolate chips.
- Mix and scoop with a tablespoon unto baking sheets.
- Bake for 12 minutes and remove it from the oven.
- Allow to cool, then enjoy.
Overnight Oats with Almond Butter and Honey
- 1 cup of water
- ½ cup full-cream milk
- ¼ cup oatmeal
- ¼ cup almond butter
- Salt to taste
- 1 tablespoon honey or to taste.
- Mix the water, salt, milk, and oatmeal in a measuring jug.
- Place in a slow cooker and add chilly water halfway in the cooker.
- Switch the cooker to low and cook overnight or for 6 hours.
- When you are ready to eat, mix the oats with the honey and almond butter.
Roasted Cauliflower with Almond Butter
- ½ cup almond butter
- 1 head cauliflower
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin oil
- Coarse salt to taste
- Lime juice
- Parsley leaves
- Mix the salt oil and almond butter in a bowl. If the mixture is too dry, add few drops of lime juice.
- Cut the cauliflower head into florets, pour into the mixture, and stir.
- Heat up the oven to 115 o F for few minutes.
- Spread the coated cauliflower florets in a baking sheet and roast in an oven for 4 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and flip the florets over and put them back into the oven
- Roast for 5 more minutes and remove from the oven.
- Sprinkle some salt, lime juice, and parsley on the roasted cauliflower and serve hot.
Almond Butter Cupcakes
- ½ cup almond butter
- 1 ¾ flour
- ¾ cup of sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup of milk
- ½ cup oil
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven for 350 o F.
- Place cupcake tins on a baking sheet.
- Mix the flour, baking soda, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a big bowl.
- Add the almond butter, oil, milk, vinegar, and vanilla extract into the bowl and mix until a batter is formed.
- Pour the batter into the cupcake tins lined with baking paper and put it in the oven.
- Bake for 20 minutes and check with a toothpick.
- When the cupcake is ready, remove and allow to cool.
Sweet Potato Almond Butter Muffins (VEGAN)
- Flax egg made from 1 tablespoon of flaxseed meal and 2 ½ tablespoons of water
- ½ cup of almond butter
- ¾ cup pureed sweet potato
- ½ cup rolled oat flour
- 1 cup confectionery flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- Heat up the oven to 350 o F.
- Place muffin baking tin with paper.
- Prepare the flax egg and add the sugar, oil, potato puree, and vanilla extract. Mix thoroughly then add the almond milk.
- Stir the mixture and add the dry ingredients (confectionery flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt) slowly.
- Add the oat flour and stir till the batter is smooth.
- Scoop the batter into the muffin tins and drop the almond butter onto each tin and bake for 20 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool before removing the baking paper.
- Store in a freezer and eat up before a week.