Massa Organics takes great pride in their almonds. The dry roasted almonds are toasted to a crunchy perfection, and their raw almonds, although not nearly as flavorful, are fresh and equally addictive.
At harvest time, which happens at the end of summer, the almonds grown at Massa Organics are shaken from the trees onto tarps, and then drying them for ten days before raking them up and dry roasting them to perfection.
"Everywhere else you get organic almonds, they don't have to say that they're pastuerized but they're heated to a certain degree, these aren't heated at all, their just really fresh," said Eve Krammer, who sells Massa Organics almonds, almond butter and brown rice at the Santa Cruz Community Farmers Markets.
Massa Organics grow almonds at a small family farm on the Sacramento River, near Chico.
"It's a biodynamic farm too, because they have native birds nesting in the rice fields, and they try to be super concious of the plants and trees, thats why they prefer the shaking method," said Krammer.
Roasting almonds brings out an enhanced nutty flavor, and a crispiness that raw almonds don't have. Although Massa Organics sells a plain roasted almond, that is delicious, I decided to experiment with roasting my own. Here is what I found:
For maximum flavor, raw almonds should be roasted at a low temperature, around 200 degrees. Any hotter than that and they will burn.
Honey Roasted Almonds:
To honey roast about 2 cups of almonds, simply spread them on a baking sheet and roast for 15-20 minutes. In a small sauce pan, combine 2 table spoons of honey, 2 tablespoons of water, and a small dash of vegetable or almond oil and bring to a boil. Mix about a 1/4 cup of sugar and a dash of salt in a seperate dish. Add the roasted almonds to the honey mixture, then sprinkle with sugar and allow them to cool.
Another recipe for sprucing up raw almonds comes courtesy of Marianne Brenner, a chef in Chico. Read how to make her Hot-Sweet Black and White Sesame Almonds, in a recipe that requires no oven power—just a stovetop and sauce pan.