Almond Nuts-Whole Raw(California), Ground(Holland) and Flaked(California)
The almond tree is a deciduous tree growing up to 10 metres high, and native to Iran. They are now cultivated in other countries with Mediterranean climates, warm and dry in summer with mild wet winters. California is the largest and probably the biggest producer with 3.2 million tones giving them 59% of the worlds market.
Their flowers are pale pink and the leaves are long, slim, light green in colour in early spring.
Almonds become an economic crop 3 years after their planting with their greatest yield after 5 to 6 years. The fruit reaches maturity 8 months after the tree flowers.
The edible seed(Drupe) of this tree is also known as an Almond, but botanically it is not a true nut.
The outer covering is a thick, spongy texture green/grey in colour this is called the hull. Inside there is a ridged wooden shell which looks like a peach stone/pit which holds the so called nut. When the fruit matures the hull falls away from the hard shell which splits open and the nut falls from the tree.
Almonds can be eaten raw or roasted and salted as an healthy protein snack.
Almonds can be added to breakfast cereals,muesli, desserts and ice cream.
Almonds when ground are made into marzipan for covering fruit and plain cakes. The marzipan can be produced into petite fours and other sweet types with marzipan inside dates
Almonds as an ingredient are very versatile in pastries, cookies, biscuits, cakes, muffins, strudel ,scones and other baking favourites.
Almonds can be made into a nut butter for spreading.
Almonds can be made into a milk alternative
Almonds can be made into an oil. This is used for massage, sun tanning oil or as a general skin moisturiser The almond oil has omega 6 and omega 9, but no omega 3. The oil is a rich source of Vitamin E.
Almonds contain the same percentage of protein as carbohydrates. They contain Vitamin Bs, E, Calcium, Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Potassium and Zinc. They have plenty of dietary fibre.