The almond is a native to the Mediterranean climate region of the Middle East, eastward as far as the Indus. It was spread by humans in ancient times along the shores of the Mediterranean into northern Africa and southern Europe and more recently transported to other parts of the world, notably California, United States.
The wild form of domesticated almond grows in parts of the Levant; almonds must first have been taken into cultivation in this region.
Almonds were one of the earliest domesticated fruit trees. A well-known archaeological example of the almond is the fruit found in Tutankhamun's tomb in Egypt (c. 1325 BC), probably imported from the Levant. Of the European countries that the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh reported as cultivating almonds, Germany is the northernmost, though the domesticated form can be found as far north as Iceland.
Five Fun Facts:
- Almonds are actually stone fruits related to cherries, plums and peaches.
- It takes 1000 pounds of almonds to make 1 pint of almond oil.
- Cinnamon-glazed almonds were President Clinton's snack of choice at both the 1993 and the 1997 inaugurations.
- According to superstition: If you eat almonds before taking a drink, you will reduce your chances of getting drunk and avoid having a hangover.
- A source of protein and calcium, it is common among Japanese teenagers to enjoy snacking on a mixture of dried sardines and slivered almonds.
Five Almond Recipes:
- Almond Cookies - These cookies are easy to make and come out great every time. Make them with your kids and let them stick the almond in the middle.
- Orange-Scented Green Beans with Toasted Almonds- Give your green beans some panache. Toasted nuts and orange zest take this side dish from drab to fab in 15 minutes flat.
- Chocolate, Cherry & Almond Bread Pudding- A rich vanilla flavor plays perfectly with luscious chocolate, cherries and almonds in this bread pudding.
- Fondant-Covered Almond Apricot Cake- This is the cake to turn to for the “wow” factor on your holiday dessert buffet. You can decorate it in any color you like -- match your room, your tablecloth, or your mood. I like to use apricot jam, but you can substitute any flavor you like.
- Frozen Peach and Toasted Almond Torte - This torte contrasts fruity, lightly spiced peaches against the deep flavor of toasted almonds -- delicious. It can be made dairy or Pareve.
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Nutritional Information per one cup of whole almonds:
Fat: 71 g
Carbohydrates: 31 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 1 mg
Protein: 30 g
Sugars: 6 g