The almond tree is one of the oldest and famous nut trees in the world. Almond tree has a great economic and nutritional significance because of the nuts that it produces. Almond nuts are considered to be the healthiest and most nutritious amongst all the varieties of nuts. Almond tree has many varieties that produce sweet, little bitter, or bitter almond nuts.
Almond trees are cultivated in many parts of the world because of their high commercial value. Almond trees are native to the Mediterranean region, and it is believed that the almond tree came to the United States in the 17th century. The almonds were introduced Indian province of Kashmir in the 16th, and though almond trees are still grown in Kashmir today large-scale commercial cultivation, as in the case of the apple trees, has not been successfully carried out in the state.
The almond tree is commercially grown in many countries like the United States of America, Spain, Australia, Turkey, Italy, Iran, and Morocco. The United States is the leader in the production of almonds, and it’s California almond varieties are very famous and they have high demand in the international market. California alone accounts for about 80 percent of the total almond production in the whole world.
In India there are two famous varieties of almonds that are available in the market, one is the Mamra almond and the other is the California almond. Mamra almond is also known as the Indian almond or the tropical almond; it does not have a very large scale commercial production as compared to the California almond. Both mamra and California almonds have good demand in the Indian market, they are naturally rich in fiber and proteins, and they are considered to be highly nutritious and healthy.
Benefits And Uses Of Almonds
1. Almonds are full of great benefits for your body and they are a great addition to your daily diet. They are highly nutritious and they are full of healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. Almonds also contain fibers, proteins, fats, copper, vitamin E, vitamin B2, and phosphorus.
2. Almonds are rich in antioxidants that protect your body against damage to the molecules in the cells. The dark brown skin almonds are considered to have powerful antioxidants that help to fight against heart issues, cancer, and other such diseases.
3. Almonds are low in carbohydrates, and high in healthy fats, proteins, and fibers. They also contain a remarkably higher amount of magnesium, which helps to control blood sugar, as such they are really beneficial for sugar patients.
4. The almonds prevent your gall bladder from gallstones, which are formed by eating high fat and high-cholesterol food. These stones develop in the gall bladder and cause unbearable pain. Studies have shown that eating almonds regularly reduces the risk of having gall stones.
5. Almonds contain folic acid which is considered a great defense against the birth defects. It also helps in healthy cell growth and tissue configuration, and thus it is considered beneficial for the growth of the fetus.
6. Almonds are a great choice for those who are struggling with weight loss. The high fiber content in fiber enables your body to feel fuller for a longer period of time. This makes you less hungry, and as such you consume fewer calories.
7. Almonds help to keep the cholesterol level low; as we grow older we are at risk of high blood cholesterol levels. And this may pose to be a risk factor for heart diseases; as such you must consider eating almonds to keep cholesterol levels in check.
8. Along with good taste the high fiber in almonds gives them prebiotic properties which are great for your overall digestive health. Prebiotics promote good bacteria in the stomach and helps you maintain a healthy balance.
9. Almonds are considered a great food for your brains; they boost alertness and enhance memory power. They also prevent the brain cell against free radical damage.
Almond Milk and Its Benefits
The almond milk can be easily made at home by simply soaking some raw almonds in a glass of water overnight. These soaked almonds will absorb the water and they will swell up. You can handpick the almonds and throw the water away as it contains the phytic acid. Now put these soaked almonds in a blender with some water and process them for a few minutes to make white almond milk, now you can add some flavor and sweetener as per your taste to make delicious almond milk.
Almond milk is an excellent alternative to dairy milk, especially for vegans and people with lactose intolerance. It is quite low in calories and does not contain saturated fat or cholesterol. It is rich in Vitamin D, which reduces the risk of arthritis and osteoporosis. It also contains Vitamin E which protects your skin from damage from the sun.
The fiber of the almonds will help you to maintain healthy digestion. Also, the almond milk needs not to be refrigerated which makes it a more convenient option to store and carry around. Almond milk is really a good choice for improving your overall health.
Almond Gum and Its Benefits
Almond gum is the edible solidified form of the resin which is extracted from the almond tree. The resin obtained from the almond tree is generally consumed along with milk or water. The almond gum is a good source of protein, it dissolves quite easily and if consumed regularly, it helps in gaining muscles and boosting male vitality.
The almond gum is very beneficial for the stomach, it reduces acidity, heartburns, and stomach ulcers and also cures diarrhea. In India many people consume almonds in the form of sweets, the gum is converted into the powder form. This powder is mixed with flour, sugar, and dry fruits to make healthy sweets. These sweets are especially beneficial for people who want to gain mass, and they are also beneficial for lactating mothers.
Almond gum is also consumed in the form of milkshakes by many people. The powder of the almond gum is mixed with milk and sugar to make almond gum milkshake. For flavor people generally use essence or honey. This milkshake is considered effective in increasing the potency and sperm count.
How to Grow Almond Tree At Home
The almond tree can be propagated from its seeds; the almonds require the Mediterranean type climate for their proper growth and nut-bearing. The almond tree prefers light summer with about 30 degree Celsius temperature and cool winters for optimum growth. Also, these trees grow well in deep, loamy, and well-drained soils and they do not thrive well in heavy or poorly drained soils. Let us have a look at the process of growing an almond tree.
1. For propagating healthy almond plants with good rootstock, it should be ensured to obtain nuts from a freshly harvested almond tree. To ensure the selection of the right nut you can put some nuts in a glass of water, the nuts which sink down are good and can be used for germination. While the nuts which float even after 2 to 3 hours are not considered viable for germination.
2. If you obtain the almonds from the market, you should keep in mind that they have a poor viable germination rate. So you must initially start with more number of seeds so that you are left with some good germinating seeds in the end.
3. After selecting the good seeds, they are first stratified by keeping in moist sand and coco peat. Coco-peat is made from the fibrous cover of the coconut. Take a small box and put about a one cm thick layer of coco-peat and some sand in it. This box should not have any holes in the bottom, as we need to retain the moisture.
4. Now place the soaked almond seeds on the top and then again cover the seeds with about 1 cm thick layer of coco-peat. Keep the seeds at some distance from one another so that they have enough space for expansion while germinating. Now sprinkle some water on the top, you should sprinkle only about 50 ml water, you may also mix some rooting hormone in it. Do not over-water; just make the coco-peat sufficiently moist.
5. Now close the box with the cover and keep it in the refrigerator because the seeds need a cold climate for the germination process. So you either need the natural winter climate or the refrigerator for the germination process. As the germinating seeds swell they push the coco-peat up, which lets you know that the seeds are germinating.
6. These seeds generally require about 2 to 3 weeks to germinate properly. You should make random checks and add water if required at an interval of 3 to 4 days. At about 2 weeks you will see some seeds have germinated properly and started developing rootstock.
7. These seeds should be used for planting and should not be left in the coco peat for more time, as over-germinated seeds won’t be able to grow properly. So the seeds that are in perfect stage should be planted at the right time.
8. For planting these germinated seeds potting mix should be made carefully. For the potting mix, you can use a mixture of garden soil with one part coco-peat, one part perlite, half part compost, and half part charcoal. Mix all the ingredients properly and prepare a good potting mix.
9. Take a seedling tray or a small pot and fill half of it with this potting mixture and then carefully plant the seedling keeping the root part vertically down. And then add some more potting mix to cover the roots properly.
10. After planting all the seeds, you should water the potting mix properly. And then keep this seedling tray or a pot at a space with indirect sunlight, the seedling should not be exposed to harsh sunlight and hot temperature.
11. Within a few weeks the seedling will grow to a length of almost 5 to 6 inches, and this is the perfect time to re-pot in a bigger pot.