Almonds are one of the best healthy treats you can eat, and I bet you didn’t know a few other interesting facts about almonds that also make them a pretty unique, amazing food. I like to tell people who are trying to learn to eat healthy to learn to embrace about 14-20 natural almonds with a piece of fruit as a simple, tasty afternoon snack. This curbs the sweet and savory tooth, and provides the body with protein, antioxidants, natural carbohydrates and plenty of magnesium and fiber. Magnesium is a great nutrient and reason to eat almonds because it calms the nervous system, regulates the digestive tract and relieves stress, along with enhancing energy levels. Magnesium also increases your bone health as well. Almonds also contain Vitamin E so they are great for your skin too. Besides all of that though, check out these facts about almonds that aren’t so commonly known. Now you’ll appreciate the amazing little pieces of nature in a whole new light!
1. Almonds Are a Seed
Did you know one of the most interesting facts about almonds of all is they aren’t technically a nut at all? Nope, that’s right! Almonds are actually a seed. They are actually the seed of a flower and are botanically related to roses and orchids. In fact, in the early spring, almonds are released when the petals of the trees push up on the branches where the blooms used to be, and almonds flourish and fall from the trees. Almonds are still referred to as a tree nut, however, since they resemble nuts and are produced from trees like other nuts.
2. California Grown
Most every almond you buy in the United States come from California, the almond growing land. In fact, most almond farms are small family farms that also produce additional crop along with almonds.
3. Most All Are Pasteurized
Even if you buy raw almonds, know they aren’t truly raw if they come from the United States. All almonds in the United States go through heat processing during the pasteurization process, which is legally required to avoid allowing the almonds to spoil. If you truly want raw almonds, you’ll have to buy almonds grown outside the U.S. This makes “raw” almonds and almond butters sold in stores in the U.S. actually just natural, and not really raw.
4. They Love Bees
Almonds cannot self-pollinate and need bees to help them do so. Without bees, you would have no almonds at all! This makes the extreme bee extinction that has recently become so controversial more relevant than ever. In fact, there are many foods we would not have without the pollination of bees.
5. Slow Production
Almonds aren’t simply picked off the trees and placed in bags and boxes to go out for production. In fact, because they all harvest at the same time, a lot of work is involved to get them from the trees into your mouth. As soon as almonds are ready for harvest, machine shakers are actually used to remove them from the trees and then the almonds are allowed to lay on the orchard grounds for a week to dry out completely before production takes place.
6. The Hulls Don’t Go to Waste
Since the outer hulls aren’t consumed by humans, they are instead used as part of cattle feed so no part of the almond goes to waste.Up until production, the almond hull helps keep the almonds from environmental pollution and toxins.
7. Many Different Kinds
One unique thing about almonds is there are so many kinds! There are actually 30 different varieties, yet only about 10 varieties usually undergo production. The Nonpareil variety is the one we are most commonly familiar with in the U.S., and the one you'll find in most stores nationwide.
8. Some Almonds Are Green
I bet you didn’t know there are actually green almonds that look much like grapes. If you already knew this, I guess you're a step ahead of me here! Green almonds are known as a delicacy and thought to be one of the finest foods to eat by other cultures. Green almonds are also said to have a slightly sweet and herb-like taste used in various dishes in other countries.
9. Most Popular Nut in the World
Almond production and demand takes up about 22% of the most single produced nut variety in the world, followed by peanuts at 22%. They are considered a cultural necessity and delicacy in China, Spain, Brazil, and Japan.
Did you know any of these little almond facts? Or, what’s your favorite way to eat almonds? Mine is hands down raw almond butter, which is so delicious in so many ways!