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I got a bunch of (dried) almonds in their shell today. I wasn't aware of how hard their shells were and I have no nutcracker. Is there any way to open them without one?

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Use pliers--preferably flatnose--as a nutcracker, if you have a pair. –  SAJ14SAJ Jan 5 '13 at 2:16
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Do you have pliers? Clamps? Vice grips? A hammer with a hard surface? –  Jacob G Jan 5 '13 at 2:16
    
Actually none of the above at the moment. Not even a heavy cast iron pan. I tried to crack them between two cutting boards, but I couldn't keep the nut whole. –  citizen Jan 5 '13 at 2:23
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Rocks are hammers and anvils if you look at them right. Wash carefully before use. Smashed nutmeat may be a risk. Also, avoid squirrels. –  SAJ14SAJ Jan 5 '13 at 2:59
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If the goal is to keep the nut meat whole, then you'll probably need to bite the bullet and get the right tool - either a nutcracker or pliers. Borrow from a neighbor, friend or colleague? –  Kristina Lopez Jan 5 '13 at 15:52
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up vote 2 down vote accepted

To summarize the comments:

  • Use common household tools (such as pliers) as improvised nutcrackers
  • Try using the bottle gripper/opener on kitchen shears as an improvised nutcracker
  • Use impact tools, such as a hammer, a heavy pan, or even cleaned rocks as nut smashers, but you may not get whole nutmeats with this method
  • Bite the bullet and buy or borrow a nutcracker

(This is part of my little quest to get answers to some of the non-answered questions....)

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Note another drawback of impact tools - the shell will fly in small pieces all around you at high speeds. Difficult to clean, and can scratch sensitive surfaces (shouldn't have enough power to hurt a person even with a very unlucky hit). –  rumtscho Jan 21 '13 at 20:24
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