A colheita amêndoas -the almond harvest
Here we go gathering nuts in September.That is when the fruit of the almond tree – both bitter and sweet varieties - are ready for harvesting. A common sound, as well as sight, in the Algarve at this time of year is that of men with long poles knocking the nuts from the branches.Today saw a slightly different sight,a variation on the theme of men with long poles in the form yours truly, O cozinheiro, precariously balanced atop a metal step ladder(totally the wrong apparatus for such a job) devoid of pole, more daintily picking the almonds from our tree with my own fair cooks hands.
After their laborious collection, the fruits are laid out to dry in the sun.This could be a tad difficult as heavy rains,the first for a year, are forecast for tomorrow.In the sun the leathery outer hull splits open,curls outwards and discharges the inner nut, which then has to be shelled.I am lucky enough to have harvested the nuts rather late and this process has already started before I picked them.So all in all I am now well on way to bringing my squirrel nutkin horde into the larder in readiness for all those tempting seasonal cakes and confectioneries.Turrón de guirlache, christmas cake, panforte, Florentines and much more.As the Hairy Bikers would say "I just can'at waaaiiittt"!!!