Saturday, May 6, 2017
The Almond - 'Prunus dulcis' - fam: Rosaceae
Almonds are native to the Middle East, but the United States is now the world’s largest producer 1.
The fruit of the almond is a drupe, consisting of an outer hull and a hard shell with the seed, which is not a true nut, inside. Shelling almonds refers to removing the shell to reveal the seed. Almonds are sold shelled or unshelled. Blanched almonds are shelled almonds that have been treated with hot water to soften the seedcoat, which is then removed to reveal the white embryo 2.
Almonds are high in antioxidants that can protect your cells from oxidative damage, a major contributor to ageing and disease. Antioxidants help to protect against oxidative stress, which can damage molecules in cells and contribute to aging and diseases like cancer. The powerful antioxidants in almonds are largely concentrated in the brown layer of the skin. For this reason, blanched almonds (skin removed) are not the best choice from a health perspective 1.
The almond fruit measures 3.5–6 cms (1–2 ins) long. In botanical terms, it is not a nut, but a drupe. The outer covering, or exocarp, fleshy in other members of Prunus such as the plum and cherry, is instead a thick, leathery, grey-green coat (with a downy exterior), called the hull. Inside the hull is a reticulated, hard, woody shell (like the outside of a peach pit) called the endocarp. Inside the shell is the edible seed, commonly called a nut. Generally, one seed is present, but occasionally two occur 2.
REFERENCES: Authority Nutrition 1 Wikipedia 2