Tangy CHICKEN BREASTS w/ Toasted ALMONDS

Table of Contents: CHICKEN

1 (2-oz.) pkg. slivered almonds


4 to 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts


¾ cup peach or apricot preserves


½ large onion, finely chopped


½ tsp. garlic salt


½ cup barbecue sauce (catsup base)


2 T. soy sauce


Hot white rice (optional)

 

 

Carefully toast the almonds & set aside.  Cut the chicken breasts into chicken tenders and place into a baking dish that has been greased.  In a small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients except the almonds and stir to blend.  Evenly spread the mixture over the chicken

tenders.  Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes.  Use a meat thermometer to check chicken for doneness.  Do not under or over cook.  Just before serving sprinkle the tops of the chicken with the toasted almonds.  Serve over hot white rice.  Serves 4 to 6.

 

 

As much as I love almonds, I have never seen an almond tree or an almond blossom.  So just in case you are as deprived as I am, here’s a little info on that subject. Thanks to the Almond Board of California’s web site.

“About Almonds:

Almond trees are dormant from November to early February. The period between late February and early March is a critical time of year for the almond industry. The buds on the trees burst into bloom in preparation for pollination.

The warm days during this stage stimulate the trees to bloom, transforming California’s Central Valley into a beautiful landscape of light pink and white blossoms.

Because the almond tree is not self-pollinating, bees are brought to the orchard to carry pollen between alternating rows of almond varieties. This occurs during a small window of opportunity in the bloom phase, when the weather is warm enough for the bees to fly. Bees

need warm, sunny, and calm conditions for optimal pollination. Stormy, cold weather during the bloom stage can limit bee flight and reduce the size of the crop.

If bees do not pollinate the blossoms, almonds will not develop.

For optimal cross-pollination and crop development, an orchard must have more than one variety of almond tree. Most orchards have three.

From March to June, California Almonds continue to mature with the shell hardening and kernel forming. Some green almonds are harvested at this point for various culinary uses. Almonds develop within a shell that is surrounded by a hull, similar to the fleshy part of a

peach.

In July and early August, the hull begins to split open exposing the almond shell and allowing it to dry.

As the season progresses, the split continues to widen and the hull becomes tough and leathery, although still adhering to the shell. The nuts continue to dry and shortly before harvest, the hulls open completely.

Harvest occurs mid-August through October. Prior to harvest, the orchard is leveled and cleared of any debris from the orchard floor.

There are over 30 types of almonds, but 10 varieties comprise the majority of almonds produced in California. Three varieties account for over two-thirds of production. Nonpareil is the largest single variety.

Mechanical tree "shakers" vigorously shake the almonds to the ground. This machine grabs the trunk of the tree and knocks all the nuts to the ground. The almonds, which are still inside their shell and hull, dry naturally for 8–10 days in the orchard before they are swept into

rows and picked up by machine. This drying period is critical for the almonds.

After being gathered from the orchard, almonds are transported to the huller/sheller where kernels pass over a roller to remove the hull and shell as well as any remaining foreign material or debris. Then the almonds are stored in bulk until processing occurs.

The hulls are used to feed dairy cattle while the shells are used as bedding for livestock.

Almonds are delivered to the handler for sizing. The kernels pass over a series of screens that have varying size holes. Kernels may also be sorted electronically through a laser light system.

The kernels drop into separate bins according to size and are graded.”

Thanks California for these most delicious morsels.

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