History and origins
Almond is a very popular food, certainly for its pleasant taste, but above all for its many uses in cooking and cosmetics and for its countless virtues.
It is eaten alone, in desserts, dishes. It is made into vegetable milk, oil, butter and used in beauty products.
The almond is the fruit of the almond tree and we distinguish the sweet almond, Prunus amygdalus var. dulcis, and the bitter almond, Prunus amygdalus var. amara, the latter being considered toxic, due to its hydrocyanic acid content. It is an oilseed, that is to say rich in lipids and it is often called "oleaginous fruit".
If the almond is picked before maturity, its skin is still green, the famous almond green. Thus, green and fresh almonds have a tender and milky flesh, with a delicate flavor. In France, it is in June and July that they are harvested.
Once fully ripe, the almond becomes dry and it is harvested in September and October in our climates. It can then be marketed in the shell, shelled, or peeled (the thin brown skin that protects it is removed).
The almond is native to Central Asia and the Middle East. It seems that it has been cultivated in China for three millennia, and that its distribution in Europe was made during Antiquity. It would have been cultivated in France from 500 years before J-C.
The almond tree is cultivated in hot and dry regions: today, the United States, especially California, provide almost half of world production, followed by Spain, Iran, Syria, Italy and Morocco.
In France, we find its production in the South: Bouches du Rhône, Alpes de Haute-Provence, Languedoc-Roussillon and Corsica.
The little story
The Romans would have used to throw handfuls of almonds at young brides to promote their fertility and ensure long offspring. This tradition is said to continue in some European countries.
- It is rich in protein (about 20%, almost as much as meat);
- It is remineralizing, with high levels of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, potassium, manganese, copper and zinc;
- It is rich in vitamin E, strongly anti-oxidant, and it is a source of vitamins B1, B2, B3 and B9 (or folic acid);
- It contains between 11 and 15% of fibers, essentially insoluble, promoting good intestinal transit and giving a lasting feeling of satiety;
- It contains fatty acids (50% lipids in total) of excellent quality: 35% monounsaturated fatty acids in the form of oleic acid (like olive oil), whose protective properties for the system cardiovascular disease are no longer to be proven (decrease in LDL-cholesterol levels), and 11% of essential polyunsaturated fatty acids, of linoleic acid type (omega 6);
- It also contains phytosterols, which are also beneficial for cardiovascular health.
Vanilla and almond milk ice cream recipe
80g of organic brown cane sugar
50cl of almond milk
1 large tablespoon of almond puree
1 large organic vanilla pod
2 tablespoons of arrowroot (or potato or cornstarch)
Prepare an empty bowl that soaks in another bowl filled with cold water / ice cube like a double boiler.
Put the sugar in a saucepan, add the almond milk in which you previously add the arrowroot, the vanilla bean split in half and the almond puree and mix with a wooden spoon.
Put on very low heat and continue to mix until the mixture thickens a bit like custard (this can take 10 to 15min)
As soon as the consistency is good, pour into the "bain marie" salad bowl to instantly cool the preparation and stop cooking.
When the cream has cooled, remove the vanilla pod.
If you have an ice cream maker, in this case put in an ice cream maker for about 20 minutes
Otherwise, put your preparation in a container in the freezer and every 30 / 40min take it out of the fridge and mix it well, all done for about 2 / 3h.
Enjoy your delicious ice cream sprinkled with crushed almonds !
Beauty recipe: moisturizing almond milk for the bath
Almond oil extracted from the kernel has been widely used since ancient times for its softening and moisturizing properties.
1/2 cup (75 g) soaked almonds (up to two days)
4 cups (1 L) of water, lavender water or rose water
4 drops of lavender or rose essential oil
Soak almonds overnight or up to two days. Grind the almonds and water (or floral water) in a blender, then strain the almond pulp.
Just before taking the bath, incorporate the essential oils into the almond milk and pour into the hot bath water.
Cocoon in a fragrant bath that beautifies you!