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Synonym: sweet almond; botanical name: Prunus dulcis



The almond originated in the Near East and Central Asia, where it was already known prior to our era. The almond tree is mentioned in the Bible. The chief areas of cultivation today are the Mediterranean countries and the USA. California contributes greatly to the overall almond production.

The almond tree requires a mild climate and grows in many countries; even in Germany almonds are harvested in several regions, e.g., in the Palatinate.


Almonds are available year round. Here they are sold predominantly shelled, but during the Christmas season they can also be bought in the shell.

Appearance, taste, characteristics

Almonds count as stone fruits. Like walnuts, when they are on the tree they are enclosed in a green, fibrous outer shell, which opens at harvest time. After this hull has been removed by machine, the almonds must be dried.

Almonds are flat, oblong stone fruits that taper to a point and are about 4 cm long. The almond kernel is smooth, whitish and covered with a rough cinnamon-brown pellicle.

During the transportation of shelled almonds the pellicle rubs off somewhat, so that the kernels are covered with a brown dust. There are bitter and sweet almonds. Outwardly, there is hardly any difference between the two types, but there is a huge difference in taste. Only sweet almonds are sold commercially, because only these are suitable for pleasurable consumption. Moreover, bitter almonds contain amygdaline, a substance that releases the unhealthy substance cyanide.

Sweet almonds ripen on the almond tree Prunus dulcis var. dulcis, while bitter almonds stem from the bitter almond tree Prunus dulcis var. amara. It can happen that sweet and bitter almonds grow together on the same tree. Therefore, there may be bitter almonds among sweet almonds that are purchased. Since it is not dangerous to eat small amounts of bitter almonds, a maximum of 2–5% of the bitter variety are allowed with sweet almonds, according to the class.

Shell almonds are also sweet almonds. They have an especially porous, thin, very fragile shell. The sweet almond has a typically fine aroma. Also known as an almond is the Indian almond, which stems from a different family and is known botanically as Terminalia catappa. It is also called the Java almond and grows on a tree that is frequently seen in Southeast Asia and Africa. Its taste resembles that of the almond; characteristic of the Indian almond is a high content of T. catappa oil.


Almonds contain very little water; at the same time they are rich in fat, which makes them high in calories. They also have a high fibre content.

Further, almonds contain very large amounts of vitamin E and magnesium and large amounts of vitamin B2, folic acid and niacin. They are also rich in calcium, potassium and iron.

100 g contain:

Süße Mandel-
Energy (kcal)
Water (g)
Protein (g)
Fat (g)
Carbohydrates (g) (g)
Fibre (g)
Vitamin A (RE) (µg)
Vitamin E (mg)
Vitamin B2 (mg)
Niacin (mg)
Folic acid (µg)
Vitamin C (mg)
Potassium (mg)
Sodium (mg)
Calcium (mg)
Magnesium (mg)
Iron (mg)
Saturated fatty acids
Monounsaturated fatty acids (g)
Polyunsaturated fatty acids (g)

Quality criteria, optimal storage conditions

Almonds in a hard stone-like shell are cracked in the country where they are grown and then transported. Almonds with a porous shell are sold intact in Germany.

Qualitatively good shelled almonds are dry and wrinkled, but not dried out. Almonds should be stored in a cool, dry place, where they can be kept for up to a year.

Form of consumption, use, processing, practical tips for preparation

Almonds can be eaten raw, roasted or salted. They can be bought as whole almonds, with and without the shell, whereby those with the shell are sold mainly during the Christmas season.

If hot water is poured over shelled almonds, the brown seed coat is easily removed and the white almond kernel remains.

There are sliced, slivered and ground almonds. These can be added to muesli, or fruit salads, and can be used to garnish savory dishes such as vegetables, soups, sauces or salads.

Sweet almonds have many uses in cakes and baked goods, as well as in the confectionery industry for making chocolates and pralines. They are also the raw material used in making marzipan. Amaretto is a well-known almond liqueur.

Almond bran and almond soap are common cosmetic products.

Bitter almond oil is produced industrially from bitter almonds. This aroma is used in baking. The cyanide content of the amygdalin evaporates during cooking or baking. Fewer bitter almonds are being planted and harvested, however, because it is cheaper to produce bitter almond oil from apricot kernels.

Edible oil from almonds is also on the market, and is used preferably for salads.


The chufa, or earth almond, is the tuberous root of a member of the cypress grass family, Cyperus esculentus. It is probably so named because it resembles an almond kernel in size and shape. Otherwise it is not related to the sweet almond in any way. A refreshing drink called horchata is made of the chufa in Spain.





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