1) History
Almond trees are one of the most ancient fruit trees to be cultivated by the humankind. Almonds have been consumed ever since 10,000 BC or even longer. In fact, almond and dates are the only types of fruits mentioned in the Bible. Sugared almonds used to be and still remain a very popular type of confections. The Romans used to treat people with sugared almonds during ceremonies and celebrations and shower newlyweds with them. Almonds are believed to originate in western Asia. They were brought to North America in the 18th century and nowadays California remains the largest producer of Almonds in the world. They produce about 80% of the world’s supply of almonds. The nuts are also widely grown all over Mediterranean.

2) Varieties
There are two types of almonds, sweet and bitter. Due to the fact that bitter almonds contain trace amounts of a lethal acid they are not sold in America. When being used in other parts of the world, they are being cooked before usage. This is done to neutralize the toxin. Sweet almonds are used more widely. Jordan variety of sweet almonds grows comes from Malaga, Spain, and it is believed to be the best cultivated almond. They are often sold sugared or salted.

3) Nutritional value
Almonds are one of the most nutritionally richly packed tree nuts. Approximately 20-25 almonds contain up to 160 calories. But the good news is that only 1 gram of saturated fat goes alongside. And there is no cholesterol. Almonds make an excellent source of vitamins B2 and E as well as calcium, magnesium, potassium, protein and folic acid. In addition, almonds are believed to help to lower cholesterol, prevent cancer and to assist in weight maintenance.

4) Almonds is desserts and sweets
Almonds have a particularly wide usage in desserts and all kind of sweet treats. Natural and not roasted almonds are more suitable for baking and cooking, because they contain more moisture. Macaroons, for example, are famous French cookies that are made of almond paste, sugar and egg whites. Almond paste as well as marzipan is a mixture of ground almonds and sugar, but marzipan is slightly sweeter and has a finer texture. Both ground and whole almonds are often added to chocolate. In fact, chocolate manufacturers use up to 40% of the world’s supply of almonds.

5) Almonds in main courses
Almonds can be used in main courses as successfully as in desserts and sweets. They make a great addition to rice dishes, couscous, chicken, casseroles, stuffings, vegetables and salads. Ground almonds can be used instead of bread crumbs in a breading for fish, trout particularly. And of course there’s Amaretto, the delicious almond flavoured liqueur.

6) Almond oil
Almond oil has an equally wide usage as almonds themselves. It can be used in baking, salads and as a seasoning for various vegetable dishes. Almond oil has been used as a beauty enhancer for a very long time indeed. It used to be a symbol of indulgence in healthy, beauty and nourishment as well. Almond oil is absolutely clear in colour and has a slight tint of yellow. It takes approximately 1000 pounds of almond to make a mere 1 pint of almond oil. Thus it is not surprising that almond oil is relatively expensive. The one produced in France is particularly expensive, but it is much richer as well.

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(NC)—For the 3 million Canadians who have diabetes, it can be a challenge to eat right and control blood glucose levels. Those who have recently been diagnosed with the disease must also learn new dietary habits and pay much closer attention to factors like alcohol intake, vegetarianism and the food they eat when they are away from home. Here are a few recommendations that may help you in this regard.