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Almonds are not only tasty, but they are a great source of magnesium, protein, vitamin E and copper.

The almond is contained within a tough skin as well as a hard outer shell and is actually a seed rather than a nut. Almonds can be purchased raw, blanched, roasted and salted. The blanched almonds are quickly placed in hot water so the tough skin can easily be removed, while almost all other forms have the skin remaining intact. However, the skin of the almond is actually packed with nutrients and contains antioxidant properties as well as vitamin E.

Taste and Texture of the Almond

Crunchy, sweet and savory, the almond’s light buttery flavor compliments a variety of dishes and is also a great stand-alone snack. Roasted almonds offer a little more crunch and the butter-like flavor is also more intense, but all in all, almonds are delicious in every form.

Uses For Almonds

Almonds are available in a variety of forms, sliced, slivered, whole, roasted, raw blanched and still in the shell. Almonds are a great snack for on the go and are a popular go-to option for vegans as a source of protein. Because they are high in protein, almonds help curb cravings and hunger. Simply add a handful to yogurt, mix in with dried fruit for a trail mix or toss in with your favorite salad.

Almonds are quite versatile and can be converted to:

  • Almond Milk: A healthy dairy-free alternative. Almond milk is made by grinding the almonds in a blender with the addition of water. Once pulverized the liquid is strained to remove the almond pulp, leaving the healthy, tasty almond milk.
  • Almond Butter: Made simply by pureeing the almonds in a food processor or blender until it becomes a butter consistency. Much healthier than peanut butter and a great alternative for people with peanut allergies.
  • Almond Meal: Made by grinding the almonds to a fine meal and with further grinding, a powdery fine flour is formed. Almond meal and flour are used in baked goods as a replacement to wheat flour.
  • Almond Oil: Extracted from the almond fruit by either cold compression or heat, with the cold compressed variation maintaining the majority of its nutritional components. This oil can be added to your diet and is also used as a skin and hair moisturizer.

Health and Nutritional Benefits

In every one-ounce of almonds, there are 4 grams of fiber, 6 grams of protein, 14 grams of monounsaturated fat (that’s the heart-healthy kind), as well as calcium, vitamins B and E and potassium.

With the combination of good fats, fiber, and protein, almonds can be beneficial when trying to lose weight and for individuals sensitive to gluten, almonds are gluten-free and due to their high nutritional value can help fill gaps in a standard gluten-free diet.

History of Almonds

The almond is the seed cultivated from the almond tree, otherwise known as the Prunus dulcis and was originally grown and native to Syria, India, Turkey, and Pakistan. However, almonds are now grown in Portugal, Spain, Morocco, and California. Almonds have been around for centuries and according to literature were first cultivated and added to the diet by the Romans and has often been referred to as the “Greek Nut.”

The almond tree made its way to Europe in 1840 and was first planted in New England, however, the climate did not support it well, yet since its introduction to the Californian climate, it has thrived in the United States and California is now the largest producer of almonds.

Almonds offer a lot of options; can be consumed in a variety of ways and are a great source of nutrition.

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