The ancient travelers and traders, who circulated back and forth over the Silk Road route between Greece and Turkey, used almonds in their commercial trading, in exchange for other expensive and desirable goods. Native almond trees, ‘Prunius dulcis,’ are found growing in Western Asia, and biblical references suggest that almond nuts have been grown in Israel since 2000 B.C. from time immemorial in the ancient land of Canaan; according to the book of Numbers in the Testament. Other references to almonds in the Bible are found in the books of Genesis, Ecclesiastes, and Jeremiah. The Old Testament Bible records the fact of Aaron’s staff blossoming and developing into edible almonds, suggested that this divine miracle expressed the approval of God to Aaron and his brother, Moses as acceptable leaders of the Israelites.
Researchers believe that the almonds available on today’s markets evolved from an ancient plant in China (Mongolia) that had a bitter kernel, much like the peach kernel. Through selective growing over the centuries, kernels appeared that demonstrated a characteristic sweet, spicy, crunchiness that U.S. almond tree growers prefer over bitterness.
In recent years, almond nuts harvested from trees in California have become an excellent product of considerable importance. The first almond trees sent to the new world to America from Spain in the mid 1700’s by Franciscan monks were planted in Spanish monasteries near Sacramento, California. Almond trees are closely related to other stone fruits, such as the cherry, peach, and plum, but it is the stone that forms the food product from the almond, but the not fleshy substance that surrounds the pit. The leaves on almond trees are dark green, much like the long narrow leaves on peach trees, a genetically and similar related tree; a closeness that has been confused by many amateur gardeners, but the edible fruit parts are entirely and unmistakably different.
The almond tree is appreciated as one of the most beautiful flowering trees known in horticulture. The almond trees begin to flower early in the spring, reliably being loaded with beautiful rosy flowers on the leafless branches of the trees.
The U.S., agricultural, almond tree authorities report that 6000 almond growers cultivate approximately 450,000 acres of almond trees, supplying all of the U.S. domestic market and 70% of the world supply and are being distributed and sold to 90 nations.
Most nut tasters and food gourmets agree that the pecan is a much more desirable nut in respect to the flavor, cost of production edge, and an available supply over almonds, but the aggressive and cooperative superior marketing promotion of the Almond Nut Association has left the bureaucratic and limp marketing strategies of the Southern Pecan Association far behind. One advantage gained by almond tree promoters is that all European and Mideastern countries grew and used almonds in their food supply for centuries, and pecan promoters have not properly distributed and advertised this American product to massive exposure and those foreign markets to the sampling of the pecan that is necessary to be successful. Pecans also offer tremendous benefits to healthy bodies since their kernels contain extreme concentrations of polyunsaturated fatty acids, that are so high in antioxidants, and they protect the heart by removing clogging cholesterols that interfere with blood flow in veins and arteries. The distinctive flavor and satisfying crunch of almonds make this nut a prime ingredient in candy, pies, cakes, treats for salting, toasting, and dipping in various kinds of icings. Marketable products of almonds are almond butter; which tastes like and resembles peanut butter; almond extract; an oil extracted from the nuts that is used as a potent flavoring, almond flour; used like flour in cakes and pastries, and almond paste; used in the preparation of confections and candies.
Almonds are used as a health benefit due to the cholesterol free fatty acids that reduce the risks of heart disease. Vitamin E is beneficially concentrated in almonds, which reduces the accumulation of plaque in the arteries, acting as an antioxidant—further reducing inflammation. We suggest growing your own almond trees for enjoyment, entertainment, and health benefits from eating the almonds, as well as the exercise that is spent in growing your own trees.