Q. We have a young almond tree that has a great cop of nuts on it. Questions: 1. How do we know when to harvest? 2. Is there any special prep needed before eating the nuts?
|Almonds split and ready for harvest|
A. Harvest when the outside covering has split open. You can leave them on the tree longer as long as it does not rain. If you have ground squirrels, harvest immediately or they will get them. You can open the husks any time or store this way for a long time if they remain dry. Eat them fresh (my preference) or you can roast them. Bake at 350° or so for 10-12 minutes or until you smell a nutty aroma. Sprinkle with salt or your favorite seasoning if you want.
|Almond dried on the tree and ready to harvest and sell|
in the husk
I want to add something here. Years ago when we began harvesting almonds at the Orchard, the volunteers spent very many hours splitting the outside husk open, taking out the nut and getting the nuts ready for the Farmers Market. I had so many complaints from the volunteers about this work that no one would do this anymore. So I told them to take the nuts, husk and all, to the market and sell it that way.
Well what a shock! The people at the Farmers Market LOVED them this way! They would take them home and show their kids where almonds came from and what a surprise the kids had opening them and eating them fresh from inside the husk. And we made more money this way than if we had husked and taken them out of the shell. No more complaints and plus there was much less labor involved.
If you do have almonds, a serious pest you can get is peach twig borer. They will get in the husk AND in some cases find their way to the nut after the husk has split. So get them off of the tree soon after they split sometime in August.