It is mid-spring and we are in the peak of green almond season. This is the unriped almond and the whole pod is edible. Never tried a green almond, let alone heard of one? Well you are missing out! It’s crunchy and tangy inside and Persians love to eat them with a bit salt sprinkled over it. But you can also cook with green almonds, too.
But first, for you new comers, a quick lesson on the green almond. If you slice one in half you can see clearly the almond nut center that is not yet developed. It is soft and watery. The clear gel between the immature nut and the fuzzy exterior is sour and full of flavor. This is the original high-fiber, protein-packed snack!
A Persian specialty is Persian Green Almond Stew, or Khorest-eh Chagaleh Badam, and it is made with beef, parsley and mint. I throw in spinach for more added nutrition. During the cooking process the inner almond nut can turn bitter, so it is typically removed for this recipe. BUT, don’t discard it. It is still edible and can be munched on while you cook away… to give you energy, right?!
The base of this stew is pretty much the base of another Persian stew, khoresht-eh karafs. Except instead of celery, you use the green almonds. But many Persians combine the two stews, serving the herb base with both celery AND green almonds. So knock yourself out deciding which version you want to try.
And like all Persian stews, it is served on a bed of fluffy basmati rice.
Green almonds are not available everywhere, so consider yourself lucky if you come across some. And be a little adventurous in your culinary journeys and try something new and unfamiliar!