Nuts add a festive feel to any party or meal and offer a heart-healthy boost in a season of not-so-healthy eating.
So here, in honor of the Nutcracker Suite and chestnuts roasting on an open fire, we celebrate the almond.
There are two types of almond trees — bitter and sweet, according to the Pacific Coast Farmers' Market Association (PCFMA). Bitter almonds are processed into oil and used mostly for cooking and aromatherapy. Sweet almonds are the varieties for consumption. Due to recent federal regulations, unpasteurized, raw almonds are now only available at farmers' markets and farm stands. These almonds, free from processing, may have more health benefits than store varieties, according to LiveStrong.com.
Recipes using Almonds
Apple-Almond Stuffed Pork tenderloin
Brussels Sprouts with Onion and Almonds
Chicken with Fresh Apricots and Almonds
Couscous Stuffed Artichokes
Grilled Tomato Melts
Hillview Farms Apple-Stuffed Baked Pumpkin
Pan Seared Scallops with Grapes
Persimmon Goat Cheese Wedges
Pluot Cake with Honey Cream
Roasted Beet Salad with Asian Pear
Tangerines and Almonds with Couscous
What's in Season at the farmers' market in December
Fruit: Apples, citrus (oranges, grapes, grapefruit, lemons, tangerines), kiwifruit, pomegranates.
Vegetables: Artichokes, beets, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chard, collards, garlic, kale, leeks, lettuce, mushrooms, onions, potatoes, radishes, spinach, winter squash.
Martinez Farmers' Market
What's your favorite winter meal? Share recipes in the comments below. Looking for gift ideas? Try creating a gift basket from farmer's market goodies.