The almond is not a true nut; it is a drupe. The almond “nut” is the seed, which is inside a hard shell.
Almonds are often used as snacks, for example smoked and salted, in chocolates, or as sugared sweets, and are often used in baking, for example to decorate cakes.
Basic information and facts
The almond tree originates from the Middle East and South Asia.
Important producers of almonds are the USA, Spain, Iran, Morocco, Italy, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, Algeria and China.
Evergreen or Deciduous:
Almond is a deciduous tree.
The white or pale pink flowers have five petals. The have a diameter of 3 to 5 cm.
The almond fruit is a drupe of about 4 to 6 cm long. The outer covering of the fruit (the hull) is thick and leathery, with a grey-green color. Inside the hull is a reticulated hard woody shell. Inside the shell is the edible seed.
Climate and weather:
The almond prefers a Mediterranean climate.
Pollinated by bees.
The almond tree is usually 4 to 10 meters tall.
Almonds can be grown from seeds. Sometimes almonds are grafted on peach seedlings (the peach is related to the almond tree).
Almonds are harvested as soon they have matured. Harvesting is often done by shaking the tree which makes the fruit drop to the ground.
Almonds are sold unshelled or shelled. Sometimes almonds are sold “blanched”; these are shelled almonds of which the seedcoat is removed (using hot water treatment) which leaves only the white embryo of the seed. Shelled and blanched almonds can be eaten as a snack and are often used in baking, for example to decorate cakes. Almonds are sometimes sold smoked and salted and are also used in chocolates.
Proverbs and Quotes
- You need to break the shell in order to have the almond. (French proverb)
- Almond nuts come to those who have no teeth. (Chinese proverb)
Did you know that?
- Almonds are rich in minerals like calcium, magnesium, zinc and iron.
- Sugared almonds are often used as wedding favors.