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An ancestor of stone fruits such as nectarines, peaches, plums and cherries, the almond is one of the world’s oldest cultivated foods. The almond tree is similar to that of a peach in size and shape, and even the tough gray-green fruit that encloses the almond kernel resembles that of its sweeter, fleshier cousin. Today, almost all of the almonds grown in the United States are grown in California.


al·mond From Middle English almande, from Late Latin for amandula, from Greek for amygdale. The drupaceous fruit of a small tree of the rose family with flowers and young fruit resembling those of the peach; especially its ellipsoidal edible kernel used as a nut. (Merriam Webster)
Zuchinni Ribbons with Almonds

Featured Almond Recipe:

Check Out The RecipeZucchini Ribbons with Almonds

Origin and History

Almonds are referred to several times in the Old Testament, and were considered a prize ingredient in the breads served to the Egyptian Pharaohs. The Romans showered newlyweds with almonds as a fertility charm, but luck ran out at Pompeii — carbonized almonds were found in the ruins of that city, which was destroyed by an eruption of nearby Mount Vesuvius. Almond trees are believed to have first been cultivated in China and then brought via the Silk Road to the Middle East and Europe. In the mid-1700s, Franciscan monks planted the first almond trees at California missions, but the moist, cool weather of the coastal missions did not provide the tree with optimum growing conditions. In the 1800s, almond trees were planted further inland with much greater success. By the turn of the 20th century, the almond industry was firmly established in the Sacramento and San Joaquin regions of California’s Central Valley. That 400-mile long area today produces 99 percent of the almonds grown in the United States and 80 percent of those grown worldwide.


Diamond almonds come in a variety of forms — whole, sliced and slivered — and are used as a snack food and in desserts such as marzipan, ice cream and chocolate recipes and in various culinary dishes. Almonds are chock full of the antioxidant vitamin E, protein, magnesium, calcium, fiber, the B vitamin folate and phosphorus.

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