Monday, February 16, 2015

National Almond Day, In the News, and Enjoy

National Almond Day - Today is National Almond Day!

Those almonds you pop as a midday snack travelled a long, roundabout way before settling in California—where about 80 percent of the world’s almonds are now grown. Originally from central and southwest Asia, almonds became a staple food there that helped sustain the long journeys of nomadic tribes.

Nearly every ancient civilization used almonds. By 4,000 B.C. people were cultivating almond trees, which blossomed well in the lands surrounding the Mediterranean Sea.

Hebrew literature from 2,000 B.C. mentions almonds. Early references from Turkey, Romania, and the Baltic peninsula also cite references to the nut.

The Bible makes numerous references to almonds as an object of value and symbol of hope. In Genesis 43:11, for example, a famine in Canaan prompts Jacob to ask his sons to go to Egypt to buy grain. He told them, "Take some of the choice fruits of the land in your bags, and carry down to the man a present, a little balm and a little honey, gum, myrrh, pistachio nuts, and almonds."

Persians and Arabs made a milk of almond meal and water, which they valued both as a refreshing drink and as an ingredient in other foods. All around the Mediterranean, hillside almond culture became well established, with some areas developing important industries based on the nut.

In 1840, attempts to grow almonds in America were met with little success. The thinking went that if peaches, which are genetically similar to almonds, could grow in southern states, almonds could grow successfully in Texas, New Mexico, and Georgia. But growers soon discovered that the early blooming almond regularly fell to late frosts in those areas or to diseases of high humidity.

In the 1850s, plantings near Sacramento, Monterey, and Los Angeles showed promise and a new industry was born for California growers. Today, the state of California is the biggest producer of the world’s supply of almonds.

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    Enjoy - Relax and enjoy these images and videos!