Almond flavor has long been one of my favorite scents…geesh, and now I know why. When researching Plants with Benefits, I learned almonds were an aphrodisiac. Here’s an excerpt from my book:
Almonds were domesticated by at least 3,000 B.C., and perhaps earlier. Wild almonds have been found in Greek archeological sites dating back to 8,000 B.C. One of the oldest known aphrodisiacs, almonds symbolize fertility. In the Bible, we read of Sampson wooing Delilah with almond branches, poor fellow. And later, we find the Romans showering newlyweds with almonds, hoping to get the young couple off to a good start.
Did you know Alexandre Dumas, author of The Count of Monte Cristo, dined on almond soup each night before meeting his mistress? Click to Tweet!
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons almond butter (like peanut butter but made with almonds)
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
1 large stalk celery, sliced thin
1 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2/3 cup ground almonds
1/8 teaspoon ground mace or 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup heavy cream salt to taste
2 tablespoons toasted slivered almonds to top dress
Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat.
Add garlic and celery.
Cook and stir until softened, about 4 to 5 minutes.
Add chicken or vegetable broth and increase heat to medium-high.
Add ground almonds.
Bring to a simmer.
Stir in almond butter until dissolved and season with mace (or nutmeg).
Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the celery is tender, 30 to 40 minutes.
Turn off heat and allow the almond soup to stand covered for 1 hour.
Puree the warm soup in a blender or immersion blender until smooth.
Pour through a sieve into a clean saucepan.
Stir in cream and place over medium-low heat.
Heat until hot, being careful not to bring to a boil or else the cream will curdle.
Season with salt to taste
Serve garnished with toasted slivered almonds.
Helen Yoest is a curious gardener – curious about plants, soil, design, and how others use these to create their gardens at home. She is also curious about what plants do for us today in the here and now, but also about their history and lore. Plants have a colorful past.
As an award winning freelance writer and garden stylist, Helen has traveled the world visiting public and private gardens so she can step into the dream that was once just an imagination. Her work has appeared in Country Gardens, Better Homes and Gardens, Martha Stewart Living, Carolina Gardener, and many others, including her work as the national gardening expert for Answers.com. Helen is also the author of Plants With Benefits: An Uninhibited Guide to the Aphrodisiac Herbs, Fruits, Flowers, & Veggies in Your Garden (2014, St. Lynn’s Press) and Gardening with Confidence, 50 Ways to Add Style for Personal Creativity (2012, GWC Press).
Helen curates garden art, serves on the board of the JC Raulston Arboretum, is past Regional Representative of the Garden Conservancy Open Days tour and opens her garden annually, and is an honorary member of Pi Alpha Xi, the national honor society for floriculture, landscape horticulture and ornamental horticulture. Helen lives in Raleigh, N.C., tending to her half-acre wildlife habitat, her husband, and their three beautiful children.