Almonds, a bite-sized little nut common in trail mix and other breakfast and snack recipes. More likely than not, you’ve tried an almond before. But, did you know there is an entire day devoted to the celebration of almonds?! National Almond Day is a reason for foodies to celebrate!
It’s generally believed and agreed by historians (and food historians in particular) that almonds were one of the earliest cultivated foods by mankind. Almonds are mentioned as far back in history as the Bible! Although their first place of origin is debated, almonds were thought to have first been cultivated in China and Central Asia.
While traveling the Silk Road between Asia and the Mediterranean, explorers were said to snack on almonds during the long travel times. As explorers settled in the Mediterranean region, the trees began to grow in the area. As the trees spread throughout Europe, many of them clustered in Spain and Italy.
Almonds eventually made their journey to the United States in the mid-1700s. Historians believe they made their appearance on the trade ship brought to the US from Spain by the Franciscan Padres. The trees died out in the United States quite quickly as the soil and cultivation knowledge to keep the trees alive was inadequate. It was not until the 1800’s that almond trees were successfully grown and harvested in the States. By the end of the 1800s, the Sacramento and San Joaquin areas of California became the United State’s biggest almond producers.
Today, almonds symbolize a variety of things. The Bible tells the story of the rod that blossomed and bore almonds, making them a divine religious symbol. The early Romans gifted almonds to family and friends as fertility charms. These gifts were typically given at weddings. Today, sugared or frosted almonds are often given at American weddings to guests as a sign of happiness, wealth, and good fortune.
Health Benefits of Almonds
If you are still on the fence about enjoying almonds, you’ll be pleased to know they have a wide variety of health benefits. Almonds are high in fiber, which means they promote digestion and can give you extra good gut bacteria. Almonds, outside of their edible form, are great for your skin. If you suffer from dry, flaky, or irritated skin, you can apply almond oil or almond lotions to hydrate your skin and give you a dose of vitamin A.
If your hair needs a little bit of shine, consider adding an almond-based shampoo or conditioner. Almonds have also been studied for their benefits in lowering your risk of heart disease! If you are dieting, this little nut can help to provide you with a quick snack to curb cravings, as it is high in plant proteins.
The nutrients in almonds have also been proven to help lower blood pressure and your risk for diabetes! They are also known for their high vitamin E content, their effectiveness at reducing cholesterol levels, and helping with weight loss, as well as being a vegan and lactose food alternative.
History of National Almond Day
While the origins of National Almond Day aren’t clear, today is the day to go nuts! The day even has its website! According to the site, this day celebrates food that is “Good for your heart. Good for your waistline. Good for your skin. What can’t almonds do?” The site also mentions that “it’s no wonder this ultimate superfood has its very own day of honor.” The site provides a variety of resources for almond lovers, from recipes, health studies, to a background on the development and harvesting of almonds.
How to Celebrate National Almond Day
National Almond Day celebrates all things almond, and rightly so, given their benefits! There are a variety of ways to celebrate almond day. If you want an easy way to celebrate, consider purchasing a pack of almonds and enjoying them as a snack! Almonds come in a variety of different flavor options, so if you’re tired of plain almonds, consider trying a new flavor! Try out some smoked, honey roasted, sriracha, jalapeno, ranch, or barbecue flavored almonds to switch it up!
If you aren’t a fan of eating almonds, try celebrating almonds in their other forms. Consider treating yourself and your body to an almond-based lotion, shampoo, or perfume!
Are you looking to spread the almond love to those around you? Consider baking a dinner or dessert using almonds. You can serve this for your family dinner or take it to a friend or loved one to enjoy. You can coat almonds in sugar, sesame seeds, or spices and bake them to create a simple and flavorful snack. For dinner, consider cooking green beans or other vegetables topped with herbs and sliced almonds! Looking to spice up your meat dish at dinner?
Consider coating your chicken, pork, or salmon in almond flour or chopped almond coating for a kick of flavor and crunch. For dessert, make almond marzipan or almond flour cake! Got a family member who is vegan or allergic to lactose? Drink almond milk or research wonderful vegan recipes using almonds instead of animal products!
Whether you enjoy eating plain almonds or not, these little nuts can be prepared wonderfully for any palette. From desserts to hearty dinners, to little snacks, to body products, the ways to celebrate almonds are infinite!