Everything about nuts
Almonds are a popular choice for consumers seeking a nutritious and versatile snack. However, the type of almond you choose, be it oil-roasted, dry-roasted, or raw, can have varying implications for flavor, nutrition, and even storage.
This guide aims to clarify the distinctions between these types of almonds, offering insights into their respective advantages and disadvantages.
With this information, you’ll be better prepared to make an informed choice that aligns with your needs during your next almond shopping trip.
Oil Roasted Almonds
These almonds are roasted in oil, which can help to preserve their flavor and texture. However, some experts suggest these may not be as healthy as other types of almonds. There are usually two hazards with oil-roasted nuts:
When retailers fry nuts, they often coat them in oils that raise cholesterol. Examples are palm oil, palm kernel oil, and coconut oil.
Hydrogenated vegetable oil
Alternatively, producers may roast their almonds in partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, which contains trans fats.
According to health experts, these oils are often associated with higher cholesterol levels.
Dry Roasted Almonds
Dry roasted almonds don’t have any added oil during the roasting process. As a result, they are often considered a healthier option by some health professionals.
Tastier and easier to digest
Compared with other forms of almonds, dry-roasted nuts are the easiest to digest. Thus, they quell your hunger faster than oil-soaked and raw nuts. Furthermore, toasting nuts deepens their flavor, aroma, and crunch.
Cons of roasted almonds
Intense heat degrades some of the nutrients in nuts. Moreover, when nuts are roasted above 250 degrees Fahrenheit, they emit acrylamide. Some studies on lab animals have indicated a potential link between acrylamide and cancer.
Nuts differ in how much acrylamide they release when roasted. Unfortunately, almonds generate the most. Still, nut retailers don’t publicize the acrylamide levels in the nuts they sell.
Our suggestions on dry roasted almonds:
If you like the convenience and taste of dry-roasted nuts, buy them plain. Avoid brands with added salt, sugar, chocolate, or other flavorings.
For those concerned about additives and acrylamide, roasting almonds at home is an option.
Raw almonds are the least processed form of almond you can buy. Because they’re not roasted, it’s believed that raw almonds retain more of their nutrients. Plus, they lack acrylamide.
A word about salmonella and the new laws that prevent it
California is a significant producer of the world’s almonds. In the past, there were instances, notably in 2003 and 2004, where almonds from California were linked to Salmonella outbreaks. However, these events led to significant changes in industry practices.
Since 2007, the FDA has mandated that all U.S. almond producers pasteurize their nuts using either heat or new radio frequency technology.
By opting for pasteurized almonds, you can enjoy the same flavor, texture, and nutrient levels as you would with raw almonds, but with the added assurance that they are safe to eat.
Are Pasteurized almonds raw?
According to the nut industry, pasteurized almonds are still considered raw, as long as they don’t undergo further processing.
That is why we didn’t list pasteurized as one of the types of almonds; they are still considered raw.
If you still want non-pasteurized almonds, there are two ways of getting them:
- Small US organic farms can sell raw almonds in places such as organic markets or at their own farms, as long as the lot size does not exceed 100 pounds.
- Imported raw almonds do not have to be pasteurized before being available at stores.
Tips on raw almonds
Some people find that soaking almonds makes them easier to digest. If your stomach is sensitive, you can leave them soaking in water for several hours or overnight before eating. We offer a comprehensive step-by-step guide on how to soak almonds.
Almonds come in a variety of forms, with different benefits and drawbacks. Knowing what to look for when buying almonds can help you make the best choice for your needs.
For convenience and taste, go for dry roasted almonds without added oil or salt. If health is a primary concern, some experts recommend opting for pasteurized raw almonds. And remember that soaking them before eating them can also help improve their digestibility.
Whichever type of almond you choose, make sure that you purchase them from a reputable retailer to guarantee freshness and high quality.