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Native to Middle East, such a precious fruit couldn’t but have legendary origins.

The legend goes that Phylides, a Thrace princess, met Theseus’ son, Acamanthes, who had landed at her kingdom while sailing to Troy. The two of them fell in love but he had to continue his journey to fight in the Trojan war. Ten years later, as she had not heard about him any longer, she died of despair. Athena, moved by this heartbreaking love story, decided to turn Phylides into a wonderful almond tree. But Acamanthes was still alive and when he heard about that, he clasped the tree and its branches put forth flowers instead of leaves.

The charm of such a loving embrace recurs every year when almond flowers forecast spring coming.




Since the dark ages, the tree has been common in the Mediterranean area, in Asia and Africa for its beauty and, above all, for its precious fruit: almond.

The Phoenicians took it to Sicilia and from there it spread to the Greek world where it was used for culinary purposes.

In the Middle Ages almond oil was used instead of olive oil that was more expensive and in the Renaissance almond cakes or biscuits were quite common. Even Boccaccio mentions it in his “Decameron” writing about a house made of marzipan, almonds and sugar.




Almond tree (prunusamygdalus) in its sweet and bitter cultivars belongs to Rosacea family.

In the past, all parts of it were used: prunings were burnt in the baker’s oven, the fruit outside hull was employed for soap making, and its shell was burnt in warming pans.

At the beginning of the XX century Agrigento province was the first producer in the world and almond was its main income.




The fruit, a grey-greenish exocarp, contains the kernel with one or two flat seeds which are very rich in nutritional substances like unsaturated fats, vitamins A, B and E, proteins, mineral salts, potassium, iron, phosphorus and calcium.

Sweet almond is more common for culinary uses and reaches its peak in the confectionary industry: “confetti” (sugar-coated almonds), “torrone” (almond nougat), marzipan, “amaretti” (almond macaroon) and even for drinks like orgeat.

It is a source of energy, it has laxative properties; almond milk is an ancient remedy against intestine and bladder trouble as well as against cough. Almond is also said to be naturally antidepressant for its soothing effect on the nervous system.

Bitter almonds are not so used as food as they contain glucoside  which is easily turned to toxic hydrocianic acid. For this reason, and also because they are cheaper, they are more commonly used for preparing medicines and cosmetics.

Almond oil which is cold extracted from both varieties does not contain hydrocyanic acid and is used as skin cleaner and to sooth reddened skin.





Like any oily seed, almonds have an elevated calorie content, almost 500-600 kcal / 100 grs. and contain 50% fat. If you are on a weight losing diet, you should not eat too many of them!

Sweet almond contains: 18-22 gr proteins, 54-55 gr fat (mostly unsaturated), 19-20 gr carbohydrates and about 12 gr fibre. 100 gr edible product contains 23.6-26 mg vitamin E. Magnesium about 270 mg / 100 gr edible product; iron 3 mgs; calcium 220 mgs. 


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