We love almonds! We really, really do, and you’d hope so by now!! We’ve been growing almonds in California, in Sacramento, Monterey and Los Angeles, where the Mediterranean climate perfectly suits this amazing seed (yes, they’re seeds, as you’ll discover below), and we’ve perfected our almond growing over many generations. Plus, Almond Breeze almond milk turned 20 years old this May. Happy Birthday to us! 🎈🎉🎂😊
There are so many health benefits to eating almonds and adding almond milk to your diet – in smoothies, coffee, cooking, baking, and just on its own. One of the best nutrients you can get from almonds is magnesium, which among its many benefits, curbs sugar cravings. Plus it aids a good night’s sleep and reduces muscle aches. It also reduces stress, promotes good gut health, increases energy levels, and is amazing for bone health. This fab all-rounder of a seed also contains vitamin E, which is the tonic you need when autumn and winter dry out your skin.
This fuzzy tree seed also contains a variety of B vitamins, plus calcium, phosphorous, zinc, selenium, copper, niacin and iron to help combat anaemia. They’re also known for relieving constipation, helping with coughs and respiratory problems, and even impotency. So almond milk is definitely a nutritious dairy alternative, plus it contains no cholesterol!
But here’s 5 other fun facts about almonds that you probably didn’t know!
1. Almonds are seeds!
Yes, almonds are not nuts at all! Almonds are SEEDS! Almonds are members of the prunus family, a genus in the rose family that loves warmer climates. Other members include peaches, nectarines, apricots, plums and cherries – all with seeds in the middle. They are encased in a fuzzy hull (pictured top), which is the texture of a peach, and as they mature on the tree, they go from green to brown and the seed inside hardens. To “pick” them, the almonds, husks and all, are shaken off the tree and left on the ground for a week or so (5-10 days) to dry out. The the hulls are shipped off for other uses, such as creating biofuel. Nothing goes to waste!
2. There are 30 varieties
The almond tree is originally native to the Middle East, North Africa and the Indian subcontinent – and historically they were even a treat for Egyptian pharaohs in almond bread. And while as many as 10 varieties of almond are produced currently, our amazing almond growers in the US use the popular Nonpareil variety.
3. They can be eaten green
If you’re looking for a herbaceous flavour from your almonds, green almonds are what you’re after. They’re tart, a little bit green grape, a little bit green apple, and are regarded by some cultures as a delicacy. They look like small feijoas, and you can eat the entire thing straight from the tree – fuzz and all (like a peach). The almond is still soft and gooey in the middle at this stage so can be eaten too. If you get hold of some, try this Olive oil poached green almond snack by the Tasting Table (pictured above). YUM!
4. Almonds regulate blood sugar
Almonds can actually slow your body’s absorption of sugar and carbs, so they can actually help your body to keep your blood sugar levels in balance during the day when you indulge in a few almonds mid-morning. Plus, almonds were one of the very first foods to gain status in the US to make qualified health claims.
5. It takes 1 million bee hives to pollinate California’s almond trees
We think this fact is the most mind-blowing!!! Almond Breeze almonds hail from the more than century old Blue Diamond growers cooperative in California, where 80 per cent of the world’s almonds are produced. But for almond trees to produce almonds for us to enjoy in our almond milk, the flowers from the almond tree must have bees to pollinate them (they’re not self-pollinating). So, at much cost and effort, in February when the flowers blossom, the Californian growers bring in hives from migratory beekeepers from 49 states all across America (pictured right). That’s 1 million hives, which accounts for around half the total number of bee hives in the US. WOW! 😲
So next time you’re next supping on your almond milk coffee or smoothie😋, you’re holding a legacy in your hands, one that’s worth holding onto!