Pickled Tsagala (Green Almonds)

You need tiny green almonds that are crunchy but tender —before their shells have started to harden. My marinade is sour-sweet (agro-dolce). inspired by the pickling-liquid Italians in Liguria use for their tiny unripe peaches, which look and taste very much like green almonds.

24

Makes two 1/2 pint jars

2 ½ -3 cups (about 1/2 pound) green almonds —available in Spring in specialty California and New York markets
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
2 cinnamon sticks, about 2 inches long
2 bay leaves
2 or more small, dried chili peppers, slashed in half with scissors
Brine:
2 1/2 cups pickling white vinegar
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 cup honey
2-4 tablespoon sugar (to taste)

Pierce the green almonds with a skewer, starting at the stem and stopping before you reach the tip. Pack in 2 jars, and add a cinnamon stick, a bay leaf and 1 or more chilies in each jar.
Make the brine: In a non-reactive saucepan, warm the vinegar with the cloves, honey and 2 tablespoons sugar. Stir until the honey and sugar dissolves, lower the heat and simmer for 1 minute. Taste, and stir in more sugar if you like. Pour the hot brine over the almonds, topping with a little more vinegar if needed, to cover the almonds completely. Close the jars and leave in a cool place for at least 4 weeks before serving, shaking the jars from time to time. They keep in the brine for a year, or more.

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