There was a time when someone suggested I peel a cup of almonds. I couldn’t believe that anyone had the time. I think I laughed at the idea and popped a few whole into my mouth. My ego has done a lot of downsizing since then.
You see, according to Ayurveda, the skins don’t digest well and turn into ama (toxins) in the body. However, almonds are highly revered as a food that builds vitality. So they are an important medicine. And part of their healing is that they require us to spend some time with them first.
But here I was just the other day, slipping the white fruit out of their skins after a good soak. Enjoying the silence and the satisfying “pop” and the anticipation of homemade almond milk. I realized that I’ve done this about a hundred times now. And I actually really like it. (And I don’t get the same sour gut I used to have after eating the skins.)
Acts like this are my sadhana, my spiritual practice. It is an act of being present enough to care about how a handful of almonds are going to affect my body, and the bodies of my family. It’s like meditation for times when you can’t get to your cave in the Himalayas.
How to Peel Almonds
Peeling almonds sounds much harder than it actually is. I think this is true of many things that are truly good ideas. Once you get it down, it’s a five minute process (that’s the same amount of time it takes to do my free meditation, Five Minutes of Self Care).
I use two processes: either a flash boil (drop the almonds in boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes), or soak them overnight. I generally opt for the quick method, because, well, it’s faster.
Once they are soaked, scatter the almonds on a cutting board or towel. Hold the tip of an almond between your thumb and forefinger. Then pinch. They can go flying, so I like to cover the almond with my palm. When the almonds go cannonball-style out of reach, I offer it as a gift to the goddess and throw them outside for the birds.
Here’s a quick video to get you inspired.
Once your almonds are peeled, you can use them for many things. I store them in a jar in the fridge for about a week as a snack for my daughter or to add to my morning porridge. Or, you can make almond milk (1 cup peeled almonds to 2 cups water. Blend, then strain through a nut bag) or almond cream (½ cup almonds to ½ cup water. Blend and don’t strain. Use as a sauce or as a more digestible way to eat nuts).
See the process of peeling the almonds as a five minutes sadhana, and their blessings will multiply as you eat and digest them.