Almond Tree Information | An edible and Medicinal Tree

This post provides Almond Tree Information to include edibility, propagation, and two recipes for this medicinal tree.

Almond Tree Information - almond blossoms

Almond Tree Information – Almond Blossoms

The almond tree is not a unique edible as most people have heard of it.  It is a very versatile plant that offers food, shade, and has medicinal uses. The almond (Prunus dulcis) is a deciduous tree, growing from 13 to 33 foot and is native to the Middle East.  It flowers in the spring and has fruit in the fall.  It prefers deep, well-draining loam, although they can withstand drought and grow in poor soils. Almond grows best in Mediterranean climates with warm, dry summers and mild, wet winters.

New growth starts out as green twigs that become purple in color as they are exposed to sunlight.  The second year and beyond the twigs/branches are grey in color. The tree buds have a chilling requirement of 300 to 600 hours below 45.0 °F to break dormancy.  The leaves are 3–5 inches long, with a serrated edge and grow alternately on the branches.

I have a Halls Hardy Almond tree that can be grown down to zone 5.  Mine has not done that great, but that has been more of a deer browse and drought issue than an almond issue. In looking around online it looks like most almond trees sold in the US online are hardy from zones 5-9.

The flowers are white to pale pink, 1-2 inches in diameter with five petals.  The flowers produce singly or in pairs and appear before the leaves in early spring.

Almond Tree Information - almond blossom

Almond Tree Information – Almond Blossom

The almond tree has hairy green fruits which are oblong in shape. The fruit matures in the autumn, 7–8 months after flowering. The fruit of the almond is a drupe, consisting of an outer hull and a hard shell with the seed inside. At maturity, the flesh of the fruit becomes leathery and splits to reveal the nut inside.

Most almonds are insect (bee) pollinated, but there are now self pollinated cultivars out there now.

There are both bitter and sweet almond varieties.  The sweet almonds are the ones usually cultivated in the United States.  Use caution with the bitter almonds as they contain cyanide and can cause sickness and death even in small doses.  Almonds can be found in the wild that are of the bitter variety.

Edible

The fruit of the almond tree can be eaten whole, chopped or sliced in recipes, is used as a flour, and my favorite is almond butter as a replacement for peanut butter. There is also an almond milk option.

Almonds are a rich source of vitamin B (riboflavin, thiamine, B6, folate and niacin), vitamin E, and calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and zinc.  It also has choline, potassium, dietary fiber, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.

Propagation

Almond Tree Information - Almonds

Almond Tree Information – Almonds

Propagation is primarily done via grafting.  Either straight up grafting or a form of grafting called T-budding.  You can try rooting your cuttings, but from what I have read online, there is a very low success rate with rooting almond cuttings.  I have not tried this myself yet, but will next year.

They can be grown from seed if you can find seeds that have not been pasteurized. In the United States most almonds sold commercially have been pasteurized.  For seeds, stratify them for six weeks and then plant them 3 inches deep.

Medicinal

Sweet almond is a plant. It produces kernels (nuts) that are a familiar food. Sweet almond oil, prepared by pressing the kernels, is used to make medicine. *
Sweet almond is used as a mild laxative, and as a remedy for cancer of the bladder, breast, mouth, spleen, and uterus. *
Some people apply sweet almond directly to the skin to soften chapped skin, to soothe mucous membranes, and to kill germs. *
Sweet almond is also used to dissolve certain medications in a liquid so they can be given as shots. *
In manufacturing, sweet almond is used widely in cosmetics.

How does it work?

Sweet almond might work as a laxative due to the presence of many fatty acids. When applied to the skin, these same oily ingredients might help chapped skin and irritated mucous membranes. *

(Source:www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-59-sweet%20almond.aspx?activeingredientid=59&activeingredientname=sweet%20almond)

 

Recipes

Sweet ‘N Crunchy Trail Mix

Ingredients:

1 cup whole natural almonds

2/3 cup dried apricots, diced

2/3 cup raisins or dried cherries

1/2 cup dried banana or apple chips

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/3 cup roasted sunflower seeds

 

Preparation:

Spread almonds in a single layer in shallow pan. Place in cold oven; toast at 350 degrees, 8-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly toasted. Remove from pan to cool. Toss with remaining ingredients until well mixed. Store in airtight containers.

(Source:www.almonds.com/consumers/recipe-center/sweet-n-crunchy-trail-mix)

 

Double Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies

Description:

This gluten free version of the ultimate classic cookie is made from almond flour and speckled with sliced almonds. Easy to make and even easier to eat, enjoy for dessert, or use as a post workout snack to boost your energy. Developed by: Elana Amsterdam cookbook author, “The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook” .

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups almond flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 baking soda

1/2  cup grapseed oil

1/2 cup agave nectar

1 tablespoon vanilla

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

1/2 cup sliced almonds

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, combine almond flour, salt and baking soda.
In a medium bowl, combine grapeseed oil, agave and vanilla. Add to the almond flour mixture and mix until thoroughly combined. Fold in chocolate chips and almonds.
Spoon dough one heaping tablespoon at a time onto baking sheet, and press down to flatten. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes, until lightly golden. Cool cookies on the baking sheets for 20 minutes, then serve.

(Source:www.almonds.com/consumers/recipe-center/double-almond-chocolate-chip-cookies)

There are hundreds of almond recipes at this website: www.almonds.com/consumers/recipe-center/search

 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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