CategoryNuts and seeds

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The almond is a tree nut derived from the pit of a stone fruit related to the plum, cherry, peach, apricot, and nectarine.



Currently the almond comes in two main cultivars: sweet almonds and bitter almonds.[1] Sweet almonds are mild in flavor and safe to consume raw. Bitter almonds contain precursor compounds to the poison cyanide, and they are not safe to consume raw in even moderate quantities.


Almonds in various states of processing. From right to left, top to bottom: Whole in-shell, cracked, shelled, and blanched

Whole almonds have a thick tan shell that must be removed to access the nut meat. The nut itself is teardrop-shaped and covered with a papery brown skin, with a dense texture and mild flavor.[2]

Bitter almonds are aromatic but very bitter.



The almond fruits are first shaken from the trees, and the fruit exterior is removed. The nuts in the shells are then dried before cracking and removal of the shell.[3] At this point, the almonds can be consumed, but they may also be processed in a variety of ways.

If destined for whole consumption as a snack, the almonds may be roasted and seasoned. The papery brown skin can be removed to yield blanched almonds, which are slightly milder and have less visual contrast. The nuts can be cut up in many ways, including sliced, slivered, and chopped. They can also be ground to make almond meal/flour.[4] To make almond paste and marzipan, the almonds are ground with water and sugar.[3]

Bitter almonds can be processed to make almond extract, which is used as a flavoring.[2]

Selection and storage


Almonds should be stored in an airtight container to prevent rancidity. They have a long shelf life at room temperature but will eventually become stale.



To blanch almonds at home, pour boiling water over top, let them soak for several minutes, then use your fingers to slip them out of the skins.[5] If desired, you can toast almonds before using them in order to get a more complex flavor.[5]



Almonds are widely used in patisserie and confectionery.[3] Almond meal contributes moisture, flavor, and tenderness to cakes and doughs.[5]

Almonds go well with cherries and chocolate.


Seasonality tables | Autumn | Winter | Spring | Summer | All year
Almonds Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Northern hemisphere                        
Southern hemisphere                        

Almonds have their peak in mid-summer and stay in season throughout the fall. However, since almonds (like most nuts and seeds) will easily store for a year, their growing season does not significantly impact their availability. Roasted and packaged almonds are available regardless of season, and fresh unprocessed almonds may be hard to find, even in season.




  1. "Why Bitter Almonds Can't Be Sold Raw in the U.S." The Spruce Eats. Retrieved 2023-11-30.
  2. a b The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) (2015-02-25). Baking and Pastry: Mastering the Art and Craft. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-0-470-92865-3.
  3. a b c Davidson, Alan (2014-01-01). Jaine, Tom (ed.). The Oxford Companion to Food. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/acref/9780199677337.001.0001. ISBN 978-0-19-967733-7.
  4. Gisslen, Wayne (2016-09-21). Professional Baking. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-1-119-14844-9.
  5. a b c Figoni, Paula I. (2010-11-09). How Baking Works: Exploring the Fundamentals of Baking Science. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-0-470-39267-6.