January 29, 2021 by D.Fathia
Types of almonds: same fragrance but different tastes.
During the last days of winter and early spring, one of the few sublime scenes we are accustomed to cherishing is the view of the almond trees flourishing. We wait patiently for the white flowers to invade the orchards, for their amazing fragrance to embalm the air, and for the blossoming ceremonies to help the surroundings transcend.
When I was young, I knew little about almonds; maybe no more than the mesmerizing view of our family-owned trees and the sweet taste of the crunchy kernels which we enjoyed all summer long.
Growing up to notice the different times of blossoming for our trees, their different shapes and sizes, and even taste, I came to discover a labyrinth of types of almonds.
Origin and significance:
Almond trees are of the Prunus Dulcis genus, of the order of Rosales. Though we consider almonds to be nuts, botanically, almonds are not nuts, they are drupes. The classification considers the formation of the kernel. The almond has three layers, an outer soft green hull that dries over time and usually falls to the ground on its own, an inner hard shell, and the edible kernel.
The almond tree is native to Asia, and especially to Iran and the neighboring countries. Now it is cultivated in great numbers all over the world.
This tree thrives in Mediterranean climates; it perfectly tolerates hot and semidry climates. Tunisia, the North African country, has been extensively cultivating almond trees. The peerless variety is widely spread and highly valued for its significant yield and superior quality.
This tree has been valued throughout history from ancient civilizations to the present day. It not only was mentioned in the holy bible but was also respected in Greek and Roman civilization. It symbolized fertility. It is still gifted to newlyweds even today.
In India, almonds are part and parcel of the gifts exchanged during Diwali, the festival of light. In Italy, people have a tradition of gifting almonds on different occasions. And for the rest of the world, almonds make up an essential part of everyday meals and snacks, especially in confectioneries and sweets of all kinds.
Types of almonds:
Some of the most common almond varieties grown in California, US, include:
- Nonpareil has a thin outer shell and a light color.
- Carmel is quite similar to the nonpareil type.
- Butte has a semi-hard shell, a wrinkled surface, and slightly brown color.
- Peerless is a medium-sized almond with a flat shape and a hard shell.
- Sonora is a long nut and has a very thin shell.
- Mission almonds have hard shells and dark-colored kernels.
There are other varieties grown in the United States, mainly California, some of which fall under the above-mentioned classifications and others which are classified separately.
More types of almonds:
California might account for more than half of the world’s production of almonds, yet other regions are heading toward establishing a thriving business out of these nuts. Across the world, there are several types. The following list, though might not encompass all the existing varieties, numbers some of the unknown types.
- Casa nova
- Mollar de Tarragona
- Desmayo Largueta
- Ne plus ultra
These are but a few of the types of almonds from different countries. Classification might differ and labels might overlap.
What to choose: milk or almond milk?
Milk and its byproducts are import sources of vitamin and calcium…etc. however, more people are choosing vegetarian diets and more people are no longer fans of animal milk. Alternatives have been sourced from nuts and other plant-based items.
Not all almond kinds of milk are created equal and certainly not all of them share the same taste. Some of the best-recommended brands are:
- Blue diamond unsweetened almond milk: offers 45 % of the daily value of calcium.
- Elmhurst milked almonds: the brand has no added sugar options.
- Califia farms: they have a myriad of options and flavors, unsweetened, vanilla, chocolate, a barista blend…
- Orgain unsweetened almond milk offers a more protein-rich variety.
- The New Barn almond milk: maple syrup is used to sweeten this brand’s milk.
There might be numerous types of almonds and people might get obsessive with classification, yet what really matters is that almonds are good for health. Packed with nutrients, these tiny drupes are the best nuts you can enjoy for a snack or a late-night bite. Their health benefits are endless. They are also used in cosmetics and body care products.
Be aware of bitter almonds otherwise enjoy your crunchy fruits, they are not just food to the body, they most importantly feed your brain.