What Are Almonds And What Do They Taste Like?
Bulk almonds, or simply “almonds” are socially referred to as tree nuts, but are technically considered to be stone fruits, otherwise known as ‘drupes,’ because they lie nestled inside a hard, protective outer shell. Almonds are amongst the most highly prized and nutritionally valuable nuts on the planet, providing a wealth of vitamins, minerals, and sustained energy in surprisingly small amounts.
Our bulk almonds carry a slightly buttery nut flavor with a hint of sweetness. Some almonds are prone to having undertones of fruit in them as they are relatives to peach, apricot, plum, and cherry families.
Fresh almonds – the ones that have been peeled prematurely, taste creamy and milky due to the flavor influences of their thick green shell, or “hull.”
What Climate is Needed For Almonds to Grow?
Almonds grow best in climates with dry, warm summers and mild winters. They are able to grow and thrive in temperatures ranging from 60 to 87 degrees Fahrenheit, which translates to 16 – 30 degrees celsius.
Where Are Almonds Grown?
Almond trees are native to the Middle Eastern regions of the world, specifically Southwestern parts of Asia, North Africa, and Egypt. Almond trees were introduced to United States soil from Spain in the middle of the eighteenth century, and have since become a leading global export.
A remarkable eighty-two percent of the world’s almond production comes California’s lush and fertile Grand Central Valley where there are over 900,000 acres and 6,000 farms dedicated to almond cultivation alone.
Planting, Growing, and Pollination
Almond trees are planted between twenty-four to thirty feet apart, with each branch guided and trimmed as it grows to ensure maximum, healthy fruit-bearing efficiency. The fruit-bearing phase starts between three to four years of age.
Between late February and early March, almond trees begin flowering, producing a sweet aroma and fuzzy pink flowers. Once the almond flowers bloom, they open up the opportunity for bee pollination, which has been heavily relied on until self-pollinating almond trees became real.
Following pollination, the almond fruit matures into a hard, thick green hull to protect the seed that’s growing inside. When July and early August roll around, the hull begins to split and crack, which subsequently ignites the next phase: drying.
It’s during this phase that the almond becomes accessible due to the hull’s ability to be peeled back to expose the long-awaited seed.
Since almonds require twenty five to thirty four weeks to reach peak maturity, the harvesting phase is subject to begin anywhere from mid-August to mid-October.
The way almond hulls are brought down from their trees is rather fascinating. A mechanical device coined the “Inertia Type Limb Shaker” was engineered to vigorously – but not too vigorously, shake the branches of almond trees, thus causing it’s hulls to fall to the ground.
Immediately after being shaken from their trees, the almond hulls get raked into long rows spanning from one end of the orchard to the other where they sit for an additional eight to ten days to dry further.
Once fully dried, the almonds are then swept up and gathered by another machine; one that can simultaneously brush and convey them into a trailer it pulls. From here, the almonds are taken to a facility where they are to be hulled/shelled.
Each tree undergoes this process and is capable of bearing bulk almonds for up to fifty years.
Nutritional Value and Health Benefits of Almonds
When buying bulk almonds – or any food for that matter, you should understand the nutritional value of what you’re consuming. Like most of the nuts that we sell, almonds come with a slew of beneficial rewards for your health.
Heavy in Protein, Light On Your Waistline
Almonds are exceptionally high in protein compared to other nuts. Since protein is known for keeping you fuller longer, this makes bulk almonds the perfect snack for anyone looking to build muscle or increase their protein intake without having to worry about the dimensions of their waistline.
One cup of raw almonds has a whopping twenty grams of protein!
Guilt-free snacking, anyone?
Support Brain Power and Combat Memory Loss
Almonds contain riboflavin, L-carnitine, and vitamin E. Riboflavin and L-carnitine are vitamins capable of positively influencing neurological activity in the brain, while preventing cognitive decline.
Vitamin E has an impressive connection to slowing the rate at which cells age, and can also aid in preventing memory loss.
Almonds Are Confirmed To Support Heart Health
Almonds are low in saturated fatty acids, and chocked full of heart healthy, monounsaturated fats, making them a great snack to munch on for those looking to steer clear of heart disease.
They contain key nutrients that are known to support the heart, such as arginine, copper, magnesium, and potassium.
Almonds make it onto the top of many lists for lowering cholesterol numbers. According to MayoClinic, consuming a handful of almonds, along with other nuts, “can improve blood cholesterol” and “may reduce your risk of heart disease.”
Supports Strong Bones
Almonds support bone health and can be eaten as a sort of preventative measure for fighting osteoporosis due to their high calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus content.
Almonds have more calcium than any other nut. Just one cup of sliced raw almonds clocks in at 24% D.V.
They’re Great For Your Skin
In addition, almonds are full of nutrients that promote healthy skin such as antioxidant vitamin E, biotin, and anti-inflammatory vitamin zinc.
Given all the evidence, it’s no wonder almonds are so prized.
Culinary Uses Of Bulk Almonds
- Our raw almonds are fantastic as a topping on cakes and other baked confections
- Add slivered or blanched almonds to steel cut oats for some added breakfast protein
- Mix diced or slivered almonds into your yogurt for an added crunch
- Toss sliced almonds into a salad for added texture
- Pair them with a serving of dried fruit for a sweet and nutty dose of energy
- You can also use our bulk almonds to make homemade almond milk (link this to a GN&DF recipe if there is one. If not – make one), almond flour, almond butter, and almond syrup
- Eat a handful of almonds alone as a snack
If you’re feeling creative, almonds can make a great base for DIY skin lotions, creams, salves, and even shampoos and fragrances.
Storage and Shelf Life Of Almonds
Due to their high oil content, raw almonds will only stay fresh in the pantry for up to four weeks. If you need your almonds to last longer than a few weeks, we recommend putting them in the refrigerator where they will keep for up to nine months.
If you need to preserve your almonds for longer than nine months, consider freezing them. Almonds freeze well and can be thawed and refrozen several times without any noticeable loss of flavor or texture. If you go this route, your bulk almonds will keep for up to a year.
Variations We Offer:
- Whole Raw Almonds
- Whole Blanched Almonds
- Slivered Blanched Almonds
- Thinly Sliced Natural Almonds
- Diced Almonds
- Smokehouse Almonds
Interesting Facts About Almonds
The binomial nomenclature, or genus and species of almonds is ‘Prunus dulcis,’ pronounced proo-nus dul-chis, which in Latin, translates to ‘sweet tree.’
Almonds can be traced all the way back to 1400 BC where they blossomed from Aaron’s rod in the Bible’s ‘Book of Numbers.’
In 100 AD, almonds were used to shower newlyweds as a means of wishing them fruitful fertility.
Almonds are California’s top agricultural export, and are one of the largest tree nut crops in U.S. dollar value and acreage. They are the largest specialty crop export of the United States.
Certain undomesticated species of wild almonds, such as ‘Prunus Amygdalus,’ are actually toxic, releasing deadly levels of hydrogen cyanide after being pressed, crushed, or damaged. Luckily, domesticated species of almond are not the slightest bit toxic, so crunch away!
Here at Gourmet Nuts and Dried Fruit, we pride ourselves in being a leading online provider of bulk dried fruit and nuts. We love our customers, so naturally, each product we offer is carefully and selectively sourced, ensuring the finest, superior quality nuts and dried fruits from nature – directly to your doorstep.