Difficulty level: Easy
Blanched almonds are just almonds with their skins removed. This may be done in order to get rid of their bitterness and/or because skinless almonds are considered prettier.
There are two ways to blanch almonds and the end result for each is somewhat different.
1) Long soak
If you want still raw almonds after blanching, do a long soak: cover them in plenty of room temperature water for at least 12 hours. This is the preferred method for recipes that call for puréeing the almonds, such as vegan feta. Note that the almonds will swell, increasing the volume by about 50% – for example, if you soak 2 cups of dry almonds, you’ll end up with about 3 cups of soaked almonds.
2) Short soak
If you don’t care if the almonds are raw and/or don’t want them to soften, pour boiling water over the almonds and let sit for exactly one minute. Drain and rinse under tap water to cool. These almonds will not expand and will retain their crunch, so they are better for recipes that call for whole almonds.
Whichever method you choose, the next part is the same: gently squeeze an almond between your fingers and it will slip right out of its skin. For the ones that don’t – there are always a few – press the sides of the almond to split it into its two halves, and then it will be easy to grab a bit of skin and peel it off.
Discard the skins, let the almonds air dry, and then proceed with your recipe.