Friday, February 6, 2009

to drup or not to drup that is the question

Now if you were to tell me that Almonds were not actually nuts but drupes instead I would look hesitate only a little before thinking that you had been in the hot Marlborough sun just a little to long.   Well technically almonds are not a nut but a drupe and are grown through the Mediterranean and warmer parts of Europe as well as the largest producing  areas in California.   The Industry is so large that over one million bee hives are bought in from around America just for the pollination of the Almond trees in Feb(this accounts for around half of the bee hives in America).

This Billion dollar almond industry may only be one days trading on the stock exchange but who would have guessed it – you can not buy raw almonds grown in the USA as of last year, they now have to be steam pasteurised or chemically treated with the same chemical used to make plastics.  This was made law after outbreaks of salmonella in American Almonds although  it does not apply to imported almonds or almonds sold from the grower directly to the consumer

This is the only county in the world that requires there drupes to be pasteurised and exports over 70% of it products around the world (and labelled accordingly )  - so it comes back to the consumers who will have the final say – but only if they are aware of all of the details – and I cant possibly do that in 250 words so I will just stick to the simple stuff and buy local produce

Marlborough Almond Pesto    

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped, from Heaven Sent

50g whole blanched almonds, from Riverina Almonds

salt and fresh ground black pepper from Information stall

50g basil leaves, roughly torn, from Living Concepts or Mississippi herbs

3 tbsp  firm cheese, grated, from Sherrington Grange

150ml Marlborough extra virgin olive oil, from Stanton’

lemon juice, to taste from your tree

In a mortar in Pestle (or you can use a food processor but do not over process)  pound the garlic and almonds with  a little salt.  Add the basil leaves, a few at the time, pounding and grinding the leaves against the side of the bowl.   Stir in the grated cheese and mix well.    Beat in the olive oil and lemon juice, salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. 

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