Almonds have been a nutritious food throughout history.
almond is botanically a stone fruit related to the cherry, the plum, and
are mentioned as far back in history as the Bible. They were a prized
ingredient in breads served to Egypt's pharos. Their exact ancestry in
unknown, but almonds are thought to have originated in China and Central
ate almonds while traveling the "Silk Road" between Asia and
the Mediterranean. Before long, almond trees flourished in the
Mediterranean, especially in Spain and Italy.
almond tree was brought to California from Spain in the mid-1700's by
the Franciscan Padres. The moist, cool weather of the coastal missions,
however, did not provide optimum growing conditions. It wasn't until the
following century that trees were successfully planted inland. By the
1870's, research and cross-breeding had developed several of today's
prominent almond varieties. By the turn of the 20th century, the almond
industry was firmly established in the Sacramento and San Joaquin areas
of California's great Central Valley.
history, almonds have maintained religious, ethnic and social
significance. The Bible's "Book of Numbers" tells the story of
Aaron's rod that blossomed and bore almonds, giving the almond the
symbolism of divine approval.
Romans showered newlyweds with almonds as a fertility charm. Today,
Americans give guests at weddings a bag of sugared almonds, representing
children, happiness, romance, good health and fortune. In Sweden,
cinnamon-flavored rice pudding with an almond hidden inside is a
Christmas custom. Find it, and good fortune is yours for a year.
earliest varieties of almonds were found in China carried by traders
down the ancient silk road to Greece, Turkey, and the Middle East.
between the Sierra Nevada mountains and the Pacific Coast Ranges is
California's fertile Central Valley, home to one of the oldest and most
beautiful flowering fruit trees. Unlike other flowering fruit trees that
bear edible fruit, this tree's "pearl" is the delicious nut
found inside the fruit, the almond.
almond is one of the most versatile nuts in the world. We eat many
varieties in many diverse forms. Almonds are delicious alone as a
nutritious snack, and they are a prime ingredient in home kitchens and
in food manufacturing. Almonds enhance virtually every food they grace
with their distinctive taste and satisfying crunch.
is the only place in North America where almonds are grown commercially.
In the past 30 years, California's almond yield has quadrupled. More
than 450,000 acres in the lush San Joaquin and Sacramento valleys are
under almond cultivation, stretching 400 miles between Bakersfield and
Red Bluff, California.
Almonds are California's largest tree nut crop in total dollar value and acreage. They rank as the seventh largest U.S. food export. Approximately 6,000 almond growers produce 100 percent of the commercial domestic supply and more than 70 percent of worldwide production. Over 90 nations import California almonds. Overseas, Germany is the largest market for almonds, consuming about 25 percent of the export crop, followed by Japan at about 12 percent. Other major importers include the Netherlands, France, the United Kingdom, Canada, India and Spain. The Pacific Rim nations are a rapidly growing market for California almonds.
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