Start by half-filling a saucepan with water and place on the burner at a high heat. Next, begin measuring the quantity of almonds you will need for your recipe and drop to the water once it has reached a boil. Immediately turn the burner to medium and leave simmering for 2 minutes. If you leave them any longer than this, the almonds will start to cook and will no longer retain a crunchy texture.
Strain the almonds with either a sieve or colander, drape a clean hand towel over the top and let them sit like this for at least 5 minutes. Although the almonds are no longer cooking, the steam will penetrate the skins and make it easier for them to slip off.
Here is the more fiddly part! Many have said that they have luck putting the almonds in one half of the towel, folding it and then rubbing over the towel to encourage them to separate from their skins. I had little luck with this method and instead I simply popped each one out of their skin ‘manually’. To do this, simply pick up an almond between your thumb and index finger, squeeze at the base, and catch the now blanched almond with your other hand.
Voila! These are ready for anything, unless you are impatient like myself and simply cannot wait for them to cool and dry out a little. If this is the case, you can toast them rather than leaving them to dry. This will help eliminate some of the moisture and make them ready for immediate use. Perhaps my only tip here, is to ensure that you only toast them enough to ensure they are dry – many recipes call for toasted almonds for their specific taste and texture, so it is important to note what you are using them for.
To toast the almonds, turn a burner on to medium high heat and leave a pan with a solid base on it to heat up. Once the pan is hot, scatter the almonds in and leave for about 30 seconds. Give them a toss and leave for a further 30 seconds. Turn out onto a towel and leave to cool for a minute before touching.