Almond historyPart of the plum family, the almond tree (Prunus dulcis; Prunus amygdalus) is native to North Africa, West Asia and the Mediterranean. The English word almond is derived from the French amande, which in turn is a derivative of the old Latin word for almond, amygdalus, literally meaning "tonsil plum." Ancient Romans also referred to almonds as "Greek nuts," since they were first cultivated in Greece. Almonds date back in print to the Bible. A recipe from the Forme of Cury, dating back to 1390, uses blanched, ground almonds in a gravy for oysters.
Botanically-speaking, almonds are a fruit. On the tree, the fruit or drupe looks like a small, elongated peach with a hard greenish-gray husk. When mature, the husk splits open to reveal the shell which in turn contains the nutmeat. Spanish missionaries are credited for bringing the almond to California, now the world's largest producer of over 100 varieties of almonds.
More About Almonds:
What are Jordan almonds?
What are bitter almonds?
Almond Lore and Legends
Almond Selection and Storage
Almond Forms and Health Issues
Photo © 2006 Peggy Trowbridge, licensed to About.com, Inc.
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