The almond is a tree nut derived from the pit of a stone fruit related to the plum, cherry, peach, apricot, and nectarine. Bitter almonds and the seeds of related fruits contain precursor compounds to the poison cyanide, and they are not safe to consume raw in even moderate quantities. Sweet almonds, however, are safe to eat raw.
Characteristics[edit | edit source]
Whole almonds have a thick shell that must be removed to access the nut meat. The nut itself is covered with a papery brown peel. They have a dense texture and mild flavor. Bitter almonds are aromatic but have an unpalatable flavor and contain toxic compounds when unprocessed.
Uses[edit | edit source]
Almonds may be used whole or further processed for use in cooking.
The nuts may be blanched to remove the brown peels. This involves dipping them into boiling water before soaking in cold water, which makes the peels loose enough to slip off.
Bitter almonds are not safe to eat raw, but they can be processed into almond extract.
Seasonality[edit | edit source]
|Seasonality tables|Autumn|Winter|Spring|Summer|All year|
Almonds have their peak in mid-summer and stay in season throughout the fall . However, since almonds (like most nuts and seeds) will easily store for a year, their growing season does not significantly impact their availability. Roasted and packaged almonds are available regardless of season, and fresh unprocessed almonds may be hard to find, even in season.