The almond, a member of the peach family, comes in two varieties: bitter and sweet. The bitter, found in fruit pits, is distilled for flavorings. The sweet variety can be eaten raw or used as a nice addition in cooked dishes, baking, and candies. It can be chopped, ground, or blanched (without skin).
Look for plump nuts with smooth skins.
All nuts should be stored airtight in a cool place. Shelled nuts can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about four months and in the freezer for about six months. Whole nutmeats keep longer than chopped or ground. Unroasted nuts keep longer than roasted.
Almonds can be roasted in a 350°F oven for about 7 minutes and eaten; or added to your favorite recipe.
All nuts are high in vitamin E, fiber, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and folic acid. In the nut family, almonds contain the highest amount of monounsaturated fats, which some studies have shown to reduce the risk of heart attack.