February 16 – National Almond Day

Posted on February 16, 2016

The almond has been a favorite food since ancient times. It's actually considered a “super food” because it is so healthy: almonds provide fiber, protein, vitamin E, magnesium, potassium, calcium, and even iron!

Researchers say that evidence suggests that eating most nuts, such as almonds, may reduce the risk of heart disease and regulate blood pressure. They can make you feel full, compared to other foods with similar numbers of calories, and therefore they can control your hunger pangs.

Almond oil and almond milk can help your skin and hair, even!

And of course almonds are soooooooo yummy. Almond is even one of my favorite smells in things like liquid soaps, shampoos, and candles!

Here are some great ways to eat almonds:

Whole almonds make great snacks. You can probably find them raw, roasted, salted, unsalted, and flavored. For example, Blue Diamond sells whole almonds in the following flavors:
  • salt 'n' vinegar
  • honey Dijon
  • sriracha
  • habanero
  • jalpeno smokehouse
  • wasabi & soy sauce
  • honey roasted
  • smokehouse
  • toasted coconut

Almond milk is a delicious substitute for cow's milk or soy milk.

Marzipan and other forms of almond paste are often a yummy part of candy or baked goods. Marzipan is easy and fun to roll or pinch into a variety of shapes. Making teeny tiny marzipan fruits is traditional, but some people make figures out of marzipan. My question is...do they then EAT them????

(I'd rather eat marzipan snowmen than marzipan babies!)

Sliced almonds are super yummy in cereals and salads, and as a coating for a cheese ball or a cake.

Slivered almonds are my favorite way to add a nutty texture to green beans.

Chopped almonds are great in cookies and sweet breads.

Almond extract is my go-to flavoring for many desserts. I make sure to include plenty of almond extract in my spritz cookies, and I often frost many or even most of the cookies with homemade buttercream frosting with a delicious dollop of almond flavoring! Yummers!

By the way...

Even though almonds have been eaten and enjoyed in so many places in the world, throughout history, my own state of California produces a surprisingly large percent of the world's supply.

I'm talking 80%!

Yep, the U.S. is by far the largest commercial supplier of almonds in the world, and California is responsible for pretty much all of the U.S. commercial crop!

Unfortunately, last year's drought affected the California almond supply and affected prices worldwide. And demand for almonds is going up and up – even though prices are higher.

Australia and Spain are the two nations that follow the U.S. (California) in production...but get a load of these numbers:

U.S.A. - 1.8 million tonnes of almonds
Australia – 0.16 million tonnes of almonds
Spain – 0.15 million tonnes of almonds

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