Almonds – Interesting Facts

Almonds are not nuts in the botanical sense, although they are commonly referred to as nuts. They are in fact seeds from a drupe fruit that grows on an almond tree. The plant belongs to the rose family and can be easily distinguished by their pink or white flowers that bloom in March and April before the leaves appear. In late summer the drupe fruit grows from the flowers and the almonds are then ready to harvest. The plant is supposed to have originated in Southwest Asia. Nowadays the tree is mostly used for almond production in places like California, Australia and the Mediterranean.

Food Facts Food Facts

Almonds

Class

prunus

Calories

580 kcal per 100 g

Nutrients

4 g carbohydrate, 13 g dietary fibre, 49.9 g fat, 21.2 g protein per 100 g

Season

available year-round

Storage

store in a dry, dark place at 18 to 22°C room temperature

Shelf life

a few months

Almonds – The Basis for a Wide Range of Products

There are a large number of products made from the harvested drupe fruit. Especially for vegans, almond milk, paste, and puree are popular substitutes for cow’s milk and cream. De-oiled almond flour is often used as a substitute for regular wheat flour. The best-known almond product is marzipan – a sweet made from blanched, ground almonds with sugar and flavouring. However, a considerable portion of almonds is not used for food products, but rather cosmetic products, such as almond oil, which is favoured for the positive effects it has on dry skin and brittle hair.

Almonds – A Delicate Baking Ingredient

Whether whole, flaked or ground, almonds are a popular ingredient in a number of baking recipes. It is a core ingredient in Vanillekipferl Christmas biscuits in Austria, and also as a crispy layer for the well-known German bee sting cake. One of the easiest and most loved recipes with almonds is roasted almonds, which are mostly seen around Christmas time. These are very easy to make, and perfect if you want to save on a few calories. So, you don’t have to wait until the winter months to find them.

Roasted almonds are quick and easy to make at home. In a non-stick pan, bring 100ml of water, 200g sugar, a packet of vanilla sugar and a pinch of cinnamon quickly to the boil. Pour in 200g of unpeeled almonds and stir until each piece is coated and the sugar starts to caramelise. Lay them out to cool on a baking sheet. If using an alcohol sweetener such as Xylitol, the recipe tastes just as good and contains 300 calories less.

Almonds – Healthy Yet Filling Nuts

As a nutritious snack, or as an element of your morning muesli, almonds should make an appearance on your daily menu. They are a good source of energy and have a positive impact on weight. This is because their high protein and fibre content makes you feel full for longer and slowly raises blood sugar levels. That said, the body can only partially utilise the fat contained in almonds, making raw almonds difficult to digest.

The fat in almonds that can be broken down is unsaturated and is therefore very healthy, helping to prevent the calcification of the heart and arteries. Almonds also provide a considerable amount of potassium electrolytes, which are responsible for metabolic processes in the body and a functioning nervous system. Plus, they contain essential nutrients such as magnesium, calcium and phosphorous, which all contribute to healthy bones and muscles.

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