Unlike other flowering fruit trees that bear edible fruit, the almond tree’s kernel is the delicious nut found inside the fruit. Almonds develop within a shell that is surrounded by a hull, similar to the fleshy part of a peach. The almond hull protects the nuts from a variety of environmental conditions.

It may come as a surprise how far back these delightful, little tree nuts go. While their exact ancestry is unknown, almonds are believed to have originated in China and Central Asia. Later, they were introduced to the Mediterranean. Today, 80% of the world’s supply of almonds comes from California.

The US is the largest market for almonds, with about 30% of the crop sold for domestic use. About 52% of all almonds produced go into retail products, 20% go to foodservice applications, and the remaining 28% is used for bulk sales and snacking. 70% of the almond crop is shipped internationally with Spain, Germany, Japan, China and India being the leading export markets.

Whether you roast them, toast them, or chop them, it’s easy to make sure a handful of almonds make it into your next meal or snack. After all, you can find them almost anywhere.

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