Ever wondered when those crunchy, oval-ish shaped tree nuts we call almonds were discovered? What culture lies under its skin – why they’ve now become a versatile staple in every household with the added health benefit?

Almonds have been around as far back in history as the Bible and were considered highly valuable ingredients used in bread which were served to Egyptian Pharaohs. Pinpointing their exact place of origin is unknown, however, it is believed that they were originally derived from China or Central Asia. During exploration, explorers frequently ate almonds whilst travelling between Asia and the Mediterranean. Eventually leading to almond trees being planted across the Mediterranean — especially in Italy and Spain.

Over time almonds became globally desired and produced in various countries across the world with California becoming the biggest producer of almonds – growing 80% of the world’s almond supply. Thanks USA!

Almonds quickly became heavily commercialised, leading to the development of over 30 different varieties of almonds to satisfy sweet and salty cravings (and commercial needs) such as Raw Almonds, Roasted Almonds, Chocolate-Coated Almonds and Smoked Almonds.

Almonds are incredibly versatile and have commercially been transformed into a variety of other household ingredients to cater to different demands. They can be used in ingredients such as almond meal, almond flour, almond milk, and almond butter – each of which make almonds an even more versatile use for culinary purposes and allow for a different texture and flavour profile in dishes.

Almonds have been a topic of fascination for many, especially those who have an interest in fitness and health as well as food researchers. Many studies have been conducted over the years in order to gain greater knowledge about the benefits of almonds and how they serve as a super-food for humans. Studies have shown that almonds deliver incredible benefits to humans such as lowering cholesterol levels, managing weight, improving skin and hair appearance as well as reducing blood sugar levels. Almonds have also been found to have high concentrations of Vitamin E which serves as a key vitamin in encouraging brain health and achieving optimum concentration.

Fun Facts About Almonds

Almonds aren’t a nut – they are actually the seed of a fruit

Although they are called nuts, almonds are actually seeds derived from the almond fruit called ‘drupe’ and are most closely related to the peach! – Groundbreaking.

Almonds have religious and cultural significance

Almonds are mentioned frequently in the Old Testament in The Bible and are referred to as “the best fruits in the lands.” In Judaism, the sacred symbol The Menorah is based on the shape of almond blossoms. In many cultures, almonds are considered a symbol of good luck and represent fertility. In Italian culture, candy-coated almonds are used as a wedding favour or for christenings.

There is an almond species that are poisonous

The highly adored almond that everyone knows and loves is called Sweet Almonds, however the lesser-known counterpart, the Bitter Almond, actually poses a threat to humans. Bitter almonds are wild almonds that contain 50 times more cyanide per kilogram than sweet almonds and are not sold commercially — according to a study in ISRN Toxicology, eating 50 bitter almonds can be deadly.

Bees and almonds are best friends

Almonds are 100% reliant on wild bees and honey bees in order for their crops to pollinate. Bees are so important to almonds, that almond growers willingly rent bees for the sole purpose of pollination. So sweet.

About the Author

Gabriella is a university student studying a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Marketing and International Business. She is passionate about health and fitness and follows a ‘semi-vegetarian’ diet – a less restricted diet fuelled with all the essential nutrients from whole foods and the occasional inclusion of selected meats. She is keen to learn how to implement sustainable measures in her life and lead an Eco-friendlier lifestyle.