Almonds are one of the world’s oldest cultivated foods, with applications in a wide variety of products around the globe. Today, California produces over 80% of the world’s almonds. The trees thrive in the hot, dry summer sun and the cool, rainy winters of the Central Valley. The stages in the almond’s life-cycle are a cold dormant period (November to early February), a warm Bloom/Pollination period (Late February to early March), a stable maturing period (March to June), and a dry harvest period (mid-August to October).
18/20, 20/22, 23/25, 25/27, 27/30, 30/32, 32/34, 34/36 and 36/40
Harvest of Almonds in the U.S. is from August to October
U.S., Spain, Greece, Turkey, Italy and Australia
Almonds can be purchased raw, dry roasted, oil roasted or flavored. They also are available whole natural (with skin) or manufactured. The most common manufactured options include: Blanched whole, blanched sliced, blanched slivered, blanched splits, blanched diced, blanched meal, natural sliced, natural slivered, natural splits, natural diced and natural meal.
California Almond varieties are categorized into five broad classifications for marketing purposes based on distinguishing characteristics such as size and shape. The majority of almond production in California falls into the following three major classifications: Nonpareil, California, and Mission.
It is possible to order California Almonds either based on the broad classification type or specific varieties. Specification of varieties or general classification is recommended when placing orders to ensure delivery of the exact almonds you intended. For example, ordering “Mission Type” without specifying “Mission Variety” could result in delivery of various almonds that fall under the “Mission Classification,” such as the Butte, Padre, or Fritz varieties.
With the widest range of uses among the marketing categories, Nonpareil are readily blanched (skin removal) and cut for processed forms. A thin outer shell and smooth kernel allow for easy, blemish-free processing. As a result, Nonpareil are used when an attractive appearance or a strong almond identification is important.
This classification includes a number of varieties that are blanchable and used primarily in manufactured products. California-type almonds have a wide range of shell hardness, kernel shapes, skin color, and surface characteristics. As a result, they are quite adaptable and well suited for nearly any process or application.
Mission almonds have hard shells, and their kernels are small, wide, and often plump. The kernel skin is generally darker than Nonpareil and wrinkled, which enhances salt and flavor adherence. Blanching is not as common for this type of almond.