One of the most iconic images of Ibiza is almond trees in bloom. This glorious sight occurs in late winter each year, with the almond orchards hitting their peak in February or March. Fortunately, we don’t have to wait that long to enjoy the delicious nuts. Almonds are a classic Ibiza food, and wonderful in a range of recipes or on their own! Here are 13 fun facts about almonds, plus a recipe to whet your appetite.
- Almonds are technically a stone fruit, related to peaches and plums.
- Almonds are thought to be native to China and central Asia.
- They have an ancient history. Almonds were popular with Egyptian pharaohs and are mentioned in the Bible.
- Romans showered newly weds with almonds, which they believed were a fertility charm.
- Almond trees need bees for pollination. Without bees, the trees won’t fruit!
- Almond shells aren’t edible to humans, but are used as cattle feed.
- Almonds are high in vitamin E, which helps give them a long shelf-life. They can stay fresh for up to two years.
- The bitter taste of almonds comes from a tiny amount of cyanide.
- Spain is the world’s second-largest producer of almonds, after California.
- Spanish friars took the first almonds to California in the late 1700s.
- Almond milk is a popular, lactose-free alternative to dairy.
- Almond flour is widely used in gluten-free baking and gives food a rich, dense texture.
- Spain claims it invented marzipan, a sweet made from ground almonds and sugar. Mazapán de Toledo has D.O. (designation of origin) label and is considered one of the world’s best marzipans. (The Sicilians, however, claim they thought of it first.)
TOASTED ROSEMARY & SEA SALT ALMONDS
This recipe makes a delicious snack and is a perfect appetiser for a party, or drinks with friends.
100g whole raw almonds
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
3 large sprigs fresh rosemary
1 tbsp brown sugar
Coarse ground Ibiza sea salt
Fresh ground black pepper
Strip the rosemary leaves from the stems and chop
Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan
Add the almonds and toss to coat
Add brown sugar, chopped rosemary and toss to coat
Add sea salt and black pepper little by little, to achieve the desired taste
Toss or stir regularly to prevent sticking or burning
Toast 5-8 minutes until dark golden brown and crunchy
What’s your favourite way to eat almonds? Share in the comments!