In the early days of the pandemic, the market around the world for almonds took a serious hit. However, the almond market has now returned in a big way. On top of that, experts expect that the almond market will grow to unprecedented levels at a rate of about 4.5% every year.
As popular as almonds are, most people do not know that there are also many fascinating almond facts. Learning more about almonds can help you find even more enjoyment in eating these tasty treats. On top of that, you will learn more about almonds as a plant and about the nutritional benefits of eating them.
So what are some fascinating facts about almonds? Read on to learn all about the most interesting things you will love knowing about almonds!
1. Most Almonds Come From California
Most people do not realize how much California dominates the almond production industry. The climate in California makes it a great place for growing almonds.
However, even after hearing that, you might underestimate how many of the almonds in the world come from California. In fact, four out of all five almonds in the commercial market come from California!
Some people think of the United States as the dominant manufacturer of almonds. Of course, this is technically true because California is a part of the United States. However, no other state in the country grows any almonds for commercial sale at all!
For that reason, it is more accurate to say that California is an incredible grower of almonds than to say the same of the United States as a whole.
Most of the almonds in California grow in the Central Valley. That means that the majority of the almonds in the world come from this one valley in California.
But where do the rest of the commercial almonds come from? Around the world, a few other countries like Australia and Spain also grow almonds.
2. Almonds Grow on Trees
Have you ever thought about how almonds grow? Some people imagine that they grow on bushes, but almonds grow on trees.
Of course, what most people think of as the almond is the kernel. When almonds grow on trees, the kernel is surrounded by a shell and a hull. You might have seen the shell of an almond before, but it is not as likely that you have ever seen the hull of an almond.
3. There Are Many Kinds of Almonds
When most people think of almonds, they do not think about their different species. The most common almonds in the world are California almonds, Mission almonds, and Nonpareil almonds. Most of the almonds you have eaten are probably of the Nonpareil variety.
Other kinds of almonds have more robust shells. It is much more difficult to process these shells and access the kernel inside.
At the same time, if you have never tried the other two popular types of almonds, they might be worth the experiment. Each kind of almond has a distinct flavor, so it may turn out that your favorite flavor of almond comes from one of the other major types.
4. You Can Eat Almonds Before They Are Ripe
Most plants are inedible until they become ripe enough. However, before almonds become ripe, they are called green almonds.
Green almonds are another tasty food, so you can enjoy almonds early in the season. In fact, many restaurants are starting to follow the trend of providing green almonds as snacks.
5. Harvesting Almonds Requires Shaking
The harvesting process for almonds is unlike practically any other harvesting process in the world. If someone were to guess, they might imagine that harvesting almonds consists of pulling the almond hulls off of trees where they grow.
However, people do not pick almonds by hand. Instead, powerful machines grab the almond trees and then shake them with incredible strength. As a result, the almonds are shaken off the tree and rain to the ground all at once.
At that point, other machines sweep up the almonds waiting on the ground. With that done, the almonds need to be shelled before they are prepared for sale.
6. The Biggest Customer for Almonds Is Chocolate
Most of us are customers of almonds in one way or another. However, the largest customer of almonds in the world is the chocolate industry.
In fact, the size of the almond industry may be largely the result of how much demand there is for the combination of chocolate and almonds. If demand for chocolate ever diminishes, we may find that almond demand goes down as well.
However, all signs suggest that we will be eating chocolate and almonds together for many years to come.
Of course, there are also other large customers of almonds in the food industry. The industries for cereals, baked goods, and more also purchase almonds to help them add this delicious and nutritious ingredient to their products.
7. Growing Almonds Is Becoming Sustainable
In recent history, more and more people are concerned about sustainability. In particular, California has been suffering from a drought. However, the almond industry is doing its part to help diminish the stress caused by this drought.
In recent years and decades, almond growing and harvesting techniques have evolved. New practices for farming almonds allow farmers to create as many almonds as before while consuming only 2/3 as much water. On top of that, there are new technologies in the works that may help drop this number even more.
8. All Commercial Almonds Are Pasteurized
Some people prefer to buy raw almonds. However, the raw almonds you buy in the United States have all been through the pasteurization process.
Just as pasteurization helps to prevent bacterial growth in milk, so it helps to prevent it for almonds. This process makes almonds safer to store and eat after weeks and months.
However, if you want raw almonds that have not been through the pasteurization process, you might have to look somewhere else. If you speak with almond farmers directly, you may be able to purchase fresh almonds that have never been pasteurized. There is a good chance that you have never tasted almonds this way before!
9. Almonds Are in the Prunus Family
Almonds belong to the prunus family. Now, you might be thinking that almonds must be related to prunes. However, the prunes family includes other members like the rose and the plum.
If you think about it, the pit of a plum resembles the kernel of almonds in some ways. Other members of the prunus family include the peach and the sweet cherry.
10. Almond Butter Has Antioxidants
Many people love almonds for their flavor, but many others make a point of eating almonds for the sake of their nutritional value. Almonds and products made from almonds, like nut butter, contain plentiful quantities of antioxidants.
These antioxidants help keep the body from aging prematurely. There are even studies that show that antioxidants can contribute to immune function and a general sense of well-being.
11. Almonds Have a High Protein Content
Another great nutritional fact about almonds is that they contain lots of protein. In fact, when you exclude animal products, you will find that almonds are close to the top of foods that contain protein. A variety of nut butters serve as great sources of protein.
The majority of people do not get enough protein in their diet. Adding some almonds to your meals might give you the protein your body needs to help grow healthy and beautiful skin and hair. The protein in almonds will also help you to build up your strength and muscle during exercises.
12. Almonds Are a Great Energy Booster
Almonds contain vitamin E, magnesium, and a long list of other nutrients. The nutritional profile of almonds can help people to keep their blood pressure and even their blood sugar levels as low as they should be. Almonds can even help people lower their cholesterol.
All of this means that almonds can help promote a healthy heart. At the same time, many people enjoy almonds because they provide them with a strong boost of energy. Almonds have plenty of healthy fats and proteins that can help you enjoy energy throughout the day.
Know the Most Interesting Almond Facts
The more that you learn about interesting almond facts, the more you will appreciate why this is such a popular food item. Almonds are fascinating, delicious, and nutritious all at the same time! Learning about all of the health benefits of almonds can help you find an appropriate place for them in your diet.
To learn more about where to find quality nut butter for your nutrition, reach out and get in touch with us here at any time!