With or without skin is the major difference between blanched and unblanched almonds. Blanching involves placing the nuts in very hot water for about a minute, then cooling them off quickly in cold water and rubbing off the skin. While the blanched almonds may be slightly more processed than the unblanched almonds, they are nutritionally very similar.
Calories and Carbs
Blanching seems to have a very small effect on either the almond's calorie or fiber content. A 1-ounce portion of blanched almonds contains 165 calories, while the same serving of unblanched almonds contains 162 calories.
As for carbs and fiber, the blanched almond is lower in carbs, but also lower in fiber. An ounce of the blanched nut contains 5 grams of carbs and 3 grams of fiber, versus 6 grams of carbs and 3.5 grams of fiber in the unblanched nut.
While the difference in fiber content between the two types of nuts is slight, every little bit counts when most Americans already have a difficult time meeting their daily needs, according to MedlinePlus. Fiber alleviates constipation and is an important part of the management plan for illnesses such as diverticulosis, diabetes and heart disease.
A Look at Protein and Fat
The blanching process also has a slight effect on fat content, but it does not alter the protein content in the almond. A 1-ounce portion of blanched almonds contains 15 grams of total fat and 6 grams of protein, while the same serving of unblanched almonds contains 14 grams of total fat and the same amount of protein.
While both nuts are high in fat, accounting for nearly 80 percent of their calorie content, they are mostly healthy unsaturated fats. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 suggests you replace saturated fats, such as butter and whole-fat cheese, with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats like those found in almonds.
Comparing Vitamins and Minerals
Blanching the almond affects vitamin and mineral content. Vitamin E content, of which almonds are a good source, is slightly different between the two nuts. A 1-ounce serving of blanched almonds meets 32 percent of the daily value for vitamin E; unblanched almonds meets 35 percent.
Almonds are also a source of both iron and calcium, and there are some slight differences in content between the blanched and unblanched nuts, as well. The blanched nut meets 7 percent of the daily value for calcium and 5 percent of the daily value for iron per ounce. In the unblanched almond, you get a little more calcium and iron, meeting 8 percent and 6 percent of the daily value of each nutrient, respectively.
Both iron and calcium are nutrients of concern. Even though the differences are slight, if you're trying to get more of either mineral in your diet, you might decide that the unblanched almond makes the better choice.
Taste and Uses
When it comes to snacking, either nut makes a delicious choice, although the skin on an unblanched almond may give you a bit more flavor.
Blanched nuts are most often used in cooking, in both savory dishes and baked goods. While you can use unblanched almonds, too, the skin may come off during the cooking process, which may affect the look and texture of your food.
- Jerry's Nut House: What the Heck Is a Blanched Nut or an Unblanched Nut?
- HealthAliciousNess.com: Nuts Almonds Blanched, Nuts Almonds
- MedlinePlus: Fiber
- U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Dietary Guideines for Americans, 2010
- Office of Dietary Supplements: Vitamin E
Jill Corleone is a registered dietitian and health coach who has been writing and lecturing on diet and health for more than 15 years. Her work has been featured on the Huffington Post, Diabetes Self-Management and in the book "Noninvasive Mechanical Ventilation," edited by John R. Bach, M.D. Corleone holds a Bachelor of Science in nutrition.