Everything You Need to Know About Almonds
Your Guide To Almonds
Origin & History of Almonds
The crunchy, fatty, perfectly satiating almond is a food of biblical measure. The exact ancestry of almonds may be vague, but the Book of Numbers mentions them when Aaron’s rod blossomed and bore almonds. This story lends the almond the symbolism of divine approval. The Romans showered newlyweds with almonds as a fertility charm. Almonds were also a star ingredient in bread served to Egypt’s pharaohs.
Common historical narrative suggests that almonds originated in China and Central Asia. Traders enjoyed almonds while traveling the Silk Road between Asia and the Mediterranean. Not surprisingly, almond trees later flourished in the Mediterranean, especially in Spain and Italy
In the mid-1700s, Franciscan padres brought the almond tree to California from Spain. It took some encouragement in the form of cross-breeding to really thrive, but now California almonds lead the global industry.
Fun almond fact: they are in the cherry, peach, and apricot family.
Nutrition & Health Benefits of Almonds
Almonds are as nutritionally versatile as they are historically ubiquitous. The hearty nut boasts an impressive nutrient profile, packed full of healthy fats, fiber, and protein. In fact, a small handful contains 3.5 grams of fiber, 6 grams of protein, 14 grams of fat, plus vitamins E and B2, copper, phosphorus, magnesium, and manganese.
Consuming almonds can decrease blood sugar levels, reduce blood pressure, and lower cholesterol. What’s more, almonds promote weight loss. Since they are incredibly satiating and filled with nutrition, almonds cut down on urges and cravings for less healthy snacks.
Almonds are also a great source of antioxidants, protecting against oxidative stress that damages molecules in your cells and contributes to inflammation, aging, and diseases like cancer. Almonds store these antioxidants in the brown layer of the skin, so avoid blanched and peeled almonds for maximum health benefits.
Best Ways to Use Almonds
Almonds can be ground and processed into a hearty flour, perfect for gluten-free baking. It is a great flour to use for pancakes, muffins, cookies and pie-crusts and it is a good starter flour for when you first begin to dabble in gluten-free baking. We recommend starting with a classic–almond flour chocolate chip cookies. Just a few ingredients, easy mixing and a really crowd-pleaser. From there, the baking world is your oyster.
Almonds can also make a delicious non-dairy milk that is creamy, light and flavorful. You can find almond milk in nearly every grocery store by now, but it is also incredibly easy and tasty to make your own at home. And here comes the good part—with the leftover pulp from making almond milk, you can make a homemade, 100% natural body and facial scrub. Just add some coconut oil and a few drops of your favorite essential oil, and let the self-love and self-care commence.
Although, if we’re talking self-love, then consuming nutrient-rich almonds in any form can be considered a loving act for your body. So even if you want to keep it simple, digging into a handful of raw almonds will send nutrient love to various parts of your body with a filling snack.
Almond Producers on our Platform
There are several inspiring producers in our network that work in the almond industry. Be sure to check out all our producers for other healthy snacks, produce, and more!
Expergreen is a fully-integrated value chain brand based in Italy. Their ongoing focus is on organic almond value chains, and Expergreen manages their own farms in Sicily, while also maintaining direct sourcing relationships with small farmer partners on the ground. They organize all the steps in the supply chain, from agricultural production to distribution, for a high-quality and consistent organic product. Expergreen ships their almonds from Italy to the rest of Europe, the U.S., and other countries around the globe.
Another amazing almond producer in Italy is Bio Terrazzino. The organic family farm is based in Raffadali, a small village in the province of Agrigento. This fertile region is known for its high-quality agricultural production; the ancient Greeks had selected it for development of the ancient city of Akragas due to its ideal geographical position and fertility.
Building on the rich agricultural history of the region, Terrazzino decided to be 100% organic, and have been utilizing organic agriculture practices for over 20 years. They value the quality and integrity of all of their products. One way they ensure the quality of their almonds is by storing them in the shells, which preserves all their most important nutritional properties.
To Your Health Sprouted Flour Co.
In rural Alabama resides yet another inspiring almond producing brand. Women-led and ancestrally influenced, To Your Health Sprouted Flour Co. sprouts all kinds of nuts and grains, producing healthier, more balanced flour products. Their almonds are whole and raw, but are sprouted once for extra nutrition (and crunch!). In addition to sprouting nuts and grains using traditional methods, the brand also shares nutrition information and recipes with their clients so that more people will have access to wholesome nutrition.
So go ahead and crunch away! Raw, roasted, salted, or in any of the other tasty forms mentioned here, and luckily for you, we have a marketplace full of great almond producers. You’ll probably find some other products you love too!
Be sure to browse our platform to learn more about these and other great almond brands.