While I was at Fairway on Sunday I saw bin filled with what looked like fuzzy tree buds. What I thought were buds were actually young almonds harvested before their shells had hardened and their nuts had fully developed.
I didn't know for sure what they would tastes like or how I would prepare them, but they were $3.48 a pound so I grab a couple (58 cents worth) and brought them home. After doing a bit of research by googling and looking through Aliza Green's Starting with Ingredients, I found out that young or green almonds are eaten traditionally in the Middle East, the Mediterranean, and European countries such as Russia and Ukraine. After reading a lot of blogs on green almonds according to the comments most Americans seemed to hate their taste. It seems to be acquired.
So I decided to give it a try. The almond was crunchy like a dense sugar snap pea and had a tart, tangy yet grassy taste. I actually liked it. My friend on the other hand bit into the almond and in disgust immediately trashed it. I decided to slice a few in half and sprinkle with kosher salt. I found them to be pretty good. Green almond centers vary in consistency depending on how young they are. The younger almonds have a liquid to jelly-like consistency and as they age the centers solidify and become soft white nuts. The center has a light, sweet flavor and the green exterior is what gives it their tangy, grassy and somewhat bitter flavoring. Some chefs just use the center of the green almond as garnishes in salads.
I suggest you just try them if you see them around (they will only be around for about a month), I found the almonds to be refreshing and a good way to start the spring. Click here for a chili-salted green almond recipe from New York Magazine.