Where Do Almonds Come From? Interesting Facts About Healthy Nuts

Ayan Banerjee
Mar 07, 2023 By Ayan Banerjee
Originally Published on Nov 10, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Almonds nuts on a wooden table.

Do you know where almonds are found?

Well, most almonds are grown in America and it is the largest almond supplier in the world. Almonds are best grown in California and in some parts of Italy and Spain.

People started cultivating this tree long ago. Its history is unique because people cultivated this plant without any name.

It is also included in the Bible, Old Testament as 'the best fruits in the land' and its early-flowering blossoms symbolize 'hope'. The sacred symbol of Judaism is based on the shape of almond blossom. Almonds are an incredibly versatile type of tree nut, that can be a great snack.

Almonds contain vitamin E, minerals, proteins, and fiber which leads to numerous health benefits. It is also filled with fats, which are very beneficial for health.

They are high in magnesium, calcium, and potassium, and other certain vitamins. Almonds are sold in both unshelled and shelled.

Their prices vary with the shelling conditions. The fiber content means almonds can be added to foods like desserts. This nut can be eaten raw at room temperature.

Almonds can also be eaten whole, sprinkled over green salad to add texture and extra protein. They are especially popular in salads, with strawberries, and with cranberries.

Almonds are added to certain vegetable dishes to add extra protein to that meal, in order to meet your daily protein consumption. Almonds can be eaten raw, however there is a poisonous type.

To differentiate between them, there are two names for almonds. The edible nut which can be eaten raw is known as a sweet almond and the other almond is known as a bitter almond. On consumption of a bitter almond, it may cause fatal disease and sometimes death.

But be careful, intaking almonds in excess may lead to toxicity in your body. The excess intake of almonds may lead to breathing problems, a nervous breakdown, choking, and sometimes even death as they have a rich amount of hydrocyanic acid.

Learn more interesting and amazing facts about when do tulips bloom and when do potatoes go bad at Kidadl.

Where do most of the world's almonds come from?

Almonds (Prunus amygdalus) is a species of tree that is native to Iran. Although they are cultivated widely in some other areas.

They are grown almost in seven countries such as Spain, Italy, and Australia. More than 80% of the almonds supply come from California. Such a huge export of almonds makes California the second-largest nuts crop supply region and the number one agricultural export.

The production and export of almonds depends on the season of almonds. Currently, more than 1, 240,000 acres (501,810 ha) of almonds trees cover the California's Central Valley.

The production of almonds depends on the seasons. They remain in the state of dormancy in November and in early March, almonds are pollinated by bees since they cannot self-pollinate.

By the end of June, almonds grow mature and their shells harden to become the kernel form. During June, July and August, the hull of almonds split to open and the shells dry out when exposed to sunlight. In the month of August, the shells dry out and the trees are shaken heavily to bring them to the ground.

They are left there for 9-10 days to dry completely. Then they are polished and made ready to export.

Green almonds also come from California. Most almond types are harvested in California. Since without bees, no almond can be grown therefore California's Almond Board of Control is investing heavily in honey bee health. Moreover, the Bob's Red Mill has moved their almonds from the California orchards to Milwaukie, Oregon. It is the highest almond-producing mill in the U.S.

What plant does almonds come from?

Almonds come from an almond tree (Prunus dulcis). They are closely related to peaches and nectarines and fall under the Rose family. So almonds are also called 'The queen of the rose family'.

Almond trees were grown during ancient times without a name. Almond trees are mainly grown in Asia.

But in the two decades, production has increased by triple in America. An immature almond on almond trees looks like a small unripe oblong peach and fuzz.

The almond tree is a deciduous tree that grows to a height of up to 11.8 in (30 cm) in diameter. The twigs change their color from green to purple and gray in the second year when exposed to sunlight. Warm, dry summers and mild, wet winters are the best conditions for almond trees to grow in.

These trees like Mediterranean climates. Similar weather is found in California, which is why this state has the highest almond production.

The bee factor is also a great concern, because almonds cannot self-pollinate. Almonds bloom early in spring and need a medium for pollination. Bees are the best for pollination.

The almond tree requires an optimal temperature for its growth. It should range between 59-86 F (15-30 C).

They need at least 200- 700 hours of below 44.6 F (7 C) temperature to break dormancy. The almond tree grows to its fully mature state at eight years of age. After its full maturity, the yield of almonds increases immensely.

Almond trees live up to 25-30 years. But in some cases, these trees may live up to 60 years unless caught by viruses or bacteria. They are even used as ornaments to design landscapes.

The almond tree is cultivated for its fruit called almonds. There is another type of almond called sweet almond (kernel) which can be eaten plain or it is used as ingredients in desserts, sugared almonds, pastries, and almond milk.

These trees can be attacked by some damaging organisms while planting, like insects, fungal pathogens, plant viruses, and bacteria. This happens mainly due to the soil. If the soil and climate are not supported enough during planting, such trees will not survive.

Do almonds come from fruit?

Yes, almonds come from fruits. Most people confuse nuts with almonds. They are not the same. The nut we know as an almond is a hard-shell fruit of an almond tree. They are called drupes. We eat the seed of the fruit. It is covered with a hard shell and a hull.

The nut or almond falls under the category of edible stone fruit like cherries, plums, peaches, and nectarines. It is delicious and is used in certain foods for its fiber content and to make food tastier.

It is also available as almond milk. The fruit of the almond tree dries out in their shell after spring and the fruit is exposed to sunlight, drying completely.

Farmers bring the fruits down to the ground and leave them there, so they get roasted completely. Once they are roasted completely, they are transported from the orchards to the mill for packaging.

Since this nut falls under the same family of peaches, plums, apricots and some other plants, it doesn't mean all plants produce almonds. An almond is only produced from almond trees.

Green almonds and wild almonds can be eaten when developing, but they are sour. They are a popular snack in some parts of Europe. The nut is dipped in salt to balance the sour taste.

An almond can be bitter and sweet. Almonds are also called stone fruits (drupe) and they consist of three layers, the exocarp, mesocarp, and endocarp.

The edible part of the fruit is the seed enclosed in the shell. The almond comes with excellent rich nutritional value. Doctors say that five almonds a day can reduce the risk of cancer.

Due to their rich nutritional value and vitamin E, almonds have also been found to lower cholesterol levels which can reduce the risk of heart attacks, boost energy. Some believe that almond milk has positive effects on fertility problems.

Where do bitter almonds come from?

The US is the highest almond crop production country in the world. These nuts have certain benefits due to vitamin E and proteins.

These almonds were once native to Asia, northern Africa, and the Middle East region. But due to the climate conditions, they grow well in the US. They also grow on almond trees and there is not much difference. They are a bit smaller and have pointing ends.

These trees are also used for designing landscapes. Due to their strong scent, they are used in non-edible products like soaps or perfumes. They contain saturated fat and when exposed to sunlight, they produce hydrocyanic acid that makes these nuts deadly.

The oil of the other seed is used in flavoring extracts for foods. Almond cooking oil or almond butter is good and is created by extracting the oil from the sweet almond.

Sweet almonds are found in supermarkets and are safe to eat even raw. But the bitter almond can spread toxicity to your body due to the high levels of hydrocyanic acid.

It will break down into cyanide, a compound that is capable of causing poisoning and even death. So, you shouldn't eat too many raw almonds as they could spread disease.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for Where do almonds come from? Interesting facts about healthy nuts, then why not take a look at when do you need stitches, or Why do worms come out when it rains? Cool earthworm facts?

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Written by Ayan Banerjee

Bachelor of Science specializing in Nautical Science

Ayan Banerjee picture

Ayan BanerjeeBachelor of Science specializing in Nautical Science

Thanks to his degree in nautical science from T.S. Chanakya, IMU Navi Mumbai Campus, Ayan excels at producing high-quality content across a range of genres, with a strong foundation in technical writing. Ayan's contributions as an esteemed member of the editorial board of The Indian Cadet magazine and a valued member of the Chanakya Literary Committee showcase his writing skills. In his free time, Ayan stays active through sports such as badminton, table tennis, trekking, and running marathons. His passion for travel and music also inspire his writing, providing valuable insights.

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