Almond meal is so easy to prepare. It is entirely possible that it is one of the most cost saving, gratifying and straightforward things you can do in the kitchen. In less than five minutes you can have an almond meal at a fraction of the cost of ready-made products. And all you need are almonds, flour sifter, and coffee bean grinder.
Almond meal is incredibly versatile in sweet and savory recipes and can provide your dishes with a delightful crunch and richness. We also think that almonds have one of the most incredible floral smells which open up the second you grind them. It’s preservative free, gluten-free (when made correctly) and packs a protein punch to keep that belly full longer.
However, there is one gripe with Almond Meal- and that is the price tag, as almonds are usually not the cheapest item in a grocery store. When processed into Meal or Flour the price only goes up. If you live in a small town, the Almond Meal isn’t always at your fingertips, which is why you should get into the habit of making your own.
So to make your own Almond Meal, you need an oven, an oven tray, and at least a blender or a nut/coffee grinder would be even better. In our experience, the coffee/nut grinder will give you best results, as you will end up with a fine powder that is very close in texture to shop-bought Almond Meal.
Almond Meal vs. Almond Flour
There is a significant confusion out there about almond flour and almond meal. There are bags of almond meal which is packed onto the shelves at the grocery store, and yet most recipes just call for the almond flour…so what the difference is?
Well, almond flour is technically made from finely ground blanched almonds from which the skins have been removed, yielding a beautiful, soft, bright colored powder. Alternatively, almond meal is made from almonds which are raw, with the skins still on, creating a final product which is much more grainy and dense.
While the two are used interchangeably and with great success in most recipes, there are a few subtle differences that may be worth nothing-especially if you plan to do a significant amount of baking and cooking with this mineral-rich, high protein food.
Because it is more uniformly textured and lighter, almond flour lends itself well to treats, cookies and baked goods which are best when fluffy. It also combines well with organic coconut flour to make a versatile, dynamic flavor-packed and nutrient-rich baking flour.
Almond meal is best suited for recipes which call for less than ½ cup of almond flour due to its overall heaviness. However, it can be more economical and convenient to find whole almonds, and the flavonoid-rich skins of almond which are maintained with all of their natural goodness.
Taking these considerations in stride, there are no stringent, scary rules to cling to when it comes to using almond meal or flour. Our suggestion is to get in the kitchen and do some experimenting to figure out what works best for your favorite recipes.
Whether you use almond flour or almond meal, however, it is important to use dried and soaked nuts whenever possible. Seeds and nuts naturally contain enzyme inhibitors and anti-nutrients which can cause digestive strain when consumed by humans in significant amounts.Through traditional practices of drying and soaking, these pesky toxins are neutralized efficiently and the bioavailability of nutrients is naturally enhanced.
It is also worth considering that due to the fear-driven legislation which passed in 2007, most almonds in the U.S. must be harshly pasteurized before being sold commercially to prevent salmonella contamination. Making your almond meal allows you to include only the finest unpasteurized, raw, soaked almonds so that you can enjoy all of the vitality which lives foods have to offer.
Almonds are particularly hearty nuts. They are thought to help fight cancer and also improve heart health and help manage blood sugar because of most of the fat in almonds in monosaturated. That makes it an ideal choice for helping you keep your cholesterol levels low. Almonds have also been thought to reduce weight.
A recent study showed that almonds could help decrease post-meal blood glucose levels.They also have high levels of antioxidants, which makes the almond meal a good option for a low glycemic diet plan for people with diabetes. Almonds are very rich in protein, potassium, manganese, copper, healthy monosaturated fats and vitamin E, which should be savored in their optimal state.
Almonds are a potent energy booster, as they are rich in riboflavin, which assists with energy production. It also helps in the healthy cellular function and creation of red blood cells.
For those who are comparing the other most popular alternative to almond flour is coconut oil.
Making The Almond Meal
What you will need:
- Almonds, either whole with skin or blanched
- Electric coffee bean grinder
- Flour Sifter
- Storage container
1) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Bring a large pot of water to boil on the stove and have a colander ready in the sink. When the water boils, just tip in the almonds and let them cook for about a minute. Immediately dump into the colander and spill cold water over them.
2) Let the almonds sit until they are cool enough to handle, and then squirt them out of their skins. These skins will have loosened and become wrinkly and thin, so this should be easy, not to mention fun.
3) When all the almonds have been forcibly removed from their jackets, you spread them out on a cookie sheet and roast in the oven until they are dry. That will take between ten and fifteen minutes. Observe to make sure that they don’t brown too much, although, depending on the intended recipe, a more roasted, darker taste may be desirable. If you have the time to let, the almonds sit, turn off the oven and let them sit there all night, so they dry out even more.
4) When the almonds are quite dry and toasted, blend them in the food processor or coffee/nut blender. Make sure not to overfill the food processor; it is good only to fill the bowl about half full. Grind in quick, short bursts until the meal is a fine texture. Depending on the food processor you have and how dry almonds are, that may not get to the finest flour consistency. If it begins to turn to butter or to clump together, it has been over-ground.
5) Almond meal made like this can be stored, tightly sealed in the freezer for a couple of months.
The Almond meal is a great food to use if you are allergic to gluten. It will do magic on all types of bread, crusts, pies, cakes, cookies, and muffins and for those that have celiac disease. Almond meal is not the lowest option available, regarding calories, but its nutritional values are well worth the calories.
It is a part of balanced diet and offers all the expected health benefits including improved heart health, lower blood pressure and boosted energy.