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Almond crop

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Offline SueMac

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« on: July 21, 2007, 21:06 PM »
Hi all

As I understand it the almond crop is not good in this area (Almeria). How are they elsewhere?
SueMac
SueMac

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Offline Technopat

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« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2007, 17:01 PM »
Greetings SueMac,
No idea!
But you've just reminded me I had prepared a short (by Technopat standards) article for iberianatureforum and had forgotten all about it! Will check it out for typos this evening and post asap.
Regs.
technopat
Technopat's disclaimer: If this posting seems over the top and/or gets your goat (Sp. anyone?), please accept my apologies and don't take it personally - it's just my instinctive tendency to put my foot in it whenever/wherever possible. See also:
http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php/topic,266

Offline Technopat

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« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2007, 01:17 AM »
Greetings SueMac and All,
Right folks, as promised, here is almond thing - haven't been as careful over typos as I would normally, but if I don't post it now, it'll get thrown out with the spring cleaning (next year's!), so if you come across any wrods, you know where to post 'em.
Enjoy the recipes  :dancing:
Regs.,
Technopat

ALMONDS – Almendras

Name of tree:
Prunus dulcis, syn. Prunus amygdalus
Castellano: almendro;
Catalán: ametller, ametler;
Euskera: arbendolondo, almendrondo;
Gallego and Português: amendoeira.

Who hasn’t been cheered by the sight of the blossoming almond trees, announcing, already towards the end of February, long before its siblings, the apricot, peach, cherry and plum, that spring is on its way? And in some of the more temperate regions of Spain, the blossom even appears in December. However pleasing to the eye, such early flowering does make it vulnerable to late frosts which can ruin the crop of nuts, a yield which, according to Spain’s Ministry for Agriculture, was slightly over 272,000 tonnes in 2006, and of which 37,926 tonnes were exported. Spain is the world’s second largest producer as well as exporter of almonds, after the USA, with over 90% of Spain’s almonds going to the EU, and of which over 30% go to Germany.

Like the olive tree, the almendro grows well in poor soils and can withstand droughts. Originally from the Middle East, some say that the tree itself came to Spain with the Phoenicians, and that marzipan and the art of making sweets based on the almond was brought over by the Moors. In any case, it has adapted especially well to the Mediterranean basin and is grown as a crop mainly in Alicante, famous for its turrones – both the soft variety and the hard, typically from Jijona – Murcia, Almería and the Balearic Islands.

There are basically two types of almond: the more common sweet almonds and the bitter almonds. Although there are many varieties of sweet almond, the two most widely known are the largueta, slightly elongated and often eaten “fresh” or salted with the skin still on, as its flavour is less pronounced than that of the marcona, considered the “king of almonds” and which is more rounded and more often used in cooking, confectionery (marzipan and turrón) or served fried or roasted as aperitivos having first been scalded and had the skin taken off (blanched). Then there is the bitter almond, which is slightly smaller, more aromatic and more often used by the cosmetics industry for creams, oils and lotions, not forgetting its use in Italy for flavouring the amaretto liqueur and biscuits.

As those of us who can’t resist eating large amounts of mazapán and turrón at Christmas well know, the sweet almond has a very high energy value – 164 calories per portion of 28.35 grammes (24 nuts) compared to roast lamb (162 calories per portion of 85 grammes) – source: USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference.

Given the above values, it might not be all that prudent to analyse the calorific content of the two main products based on almonds which are made in Spain, and which use up over half of Spain’s production. Turrón, accounting for over 36,000 tonnes of almonds a year, is the Spanish variety of nougat made from toasted almonds, sugar, honey and egg whites) of which there are two types that have their own protected designation of origin (D.O.): D.O. Turrón de Alicante and the D.O. Turrón de Jijona. The soft Jijona variety is based on a mixture of oil, pure honey (minimum of 10%), sugar, egg whites and ground almonds (minimum of 52%) and the hard Alicante variety is made from whole/chopped almonds (minimum 46%) mixed in egg white, honey and sugar and then covered in wafer-thin rice paper. Both kinds are produced in the province of Alicante on the Mediterranean coast, although other regions also produce turrón.

Apart from turrón, the other major confectionery use for almonds in Spain is in the making of mazapán (maçapão in Portuguese, most typically in the fruit shaped sweets made in the Algarve region called morgadinhos). Spain has three D.O.s for marzipan: Mazapán de Toledo, Mazapán de la Rioja and Torró de Agramunt. Toledo reigns supreme in all things marzipanish, although there is a small production of Mazapán de Soto from La Rioja, and which is bathed in syrup. Other traditional uses of almonds in different parts of Spain include the huesos de santo, almendrado de Canarias, guirlache from Aragón, pan or turrón de Cádiz, tarta de Gijón or Santiago, carbayones from Oviedo, amarguillos de Sahagun, and the almendras garrapiñadas originally from Alba de Tormes, or Alcalá, or Bierzo, or Briviesca, or Villafrechos, or Medina de Rioseco, or ...

While so many sweet things associated with the humble almond may be off-putting to those of you who are health-conscious, the upside is that its polyunsaturated fatty acids (especially the Omega-3 fatty acids) are beneficial for the heart. It is therefore an excellent source of vegetable protein, while having a higher fibre content than other nuts and with the additional advantage of having a very low carbohydrate content. Like nuts in general, almonds contain many minerals: iron, copper, potassium, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus and calcium, the latter in large amounts (50 grammes of almonds (see above) has the same calcium content as half a glass of milk), hence the widespread use of almond milk for infants with lactose intolerance and people with anaemia. And if all that were not enough, the almond is also rich in folic acid, vitamin B1 and vitamin E.

My kids’ paediatrician, true to his philosophy of recommending a bit of everything in moderation, while strongly recommending a daily intake of almonds as part of a healthy diet, did insist on no more than eight nuts per person/day, adults and kids alike, due to the toxic effects of the trace elements of cyanide (Prussic acid).

*For further information on marzipan (in Spanish) visit the Consejo Regulador del mazapán de Toledo on the web site of the Consejería de Industria de la Junta de Castilla-La Mancha:
http://www.jccm.es/agricul/paginas/comercial-industrial/consejosreguladores/Mazapan.htm

ALMENDRAVE is the association of Spanish Almond and Hazelnut exporters and their web site http://www.almendrave.com/ has the following interesting recipes:

POTATOES WITH ALMONDS
INGREDIENTS FOR 6 PEOPLE:

1 Kg.potatoes
2 cloves of garlic
1 slice of bread
12 - 24 almonds
Saffron, oil, salt and black pepper

Sauté the almonds in oil. Do the same with the bread and garlic, but it’s best to do it all separately so as not to burn any of them. Once golden, drain the oil and mash in a mortar, adding the saffron and a little water.
Lightly sauté the thickly-sliced potatoes in the same oil you used for the other ingredients, add the paste from the mortar, heat and then cover with water, season with the salt and pepper and simmer until the potatoes are tender. Serve hot.


PARRILLADA (or WOK!) WITH VEGETABLES AND NUTS

INGREDIENTS FOR 4 PEOPLE:

4 cauliflower heads
2 tomatoes
8 Pimientos de Padrón
2 carrots
8 ‘shrooms
8 green beans
1 courgette
8 artichoke hearts
olive oil with rosemary
15 grs. (12) almonds
15 grs. hazelnuts
15 grs. walnuts


Clean and prepare the vegetables. Sauté them on the parrilla or in wok. Season. Chop up the nuts and mix them in the rosemary olive oil. Use as a dip for the vegetables.

« Last Edit: August 07, 2007, 01:22 AM by Technopat »
Technopat's disclaimer: If this posting seems over the top and/or gets your goat (Sp. anyone?), please accept my apologies and don't take it personally - it's just my instinctive tendency to put my foot in it whenever/wherever possible. See also:
http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php/topic,266

Offline SueMac

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« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2007, 08:13 AM »
Jolly good synopsis TP. Will try potatoes thingie.  People have started picking in our valley by the way.  It is still being rumoured not such a good crop this year.

As to health and almonds - I was told by my osteopath /overall good egg, that it is a good idea to eat two almonds  and two walnuts per day.

The other recipe at this time of year worth hunting out is the almond and garlic soup which is served very cold.
SueMac
SueMac

Now mainly blogging on www.suevista.blogspot.com Vistas from Afar - A European Garden Blog

Offline SueMac

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« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2007, 13:54 PM »
Hi TP
 Am cooking potato dish as we speak... Two things almond wise.

I picked our first almond tree this am before the sun came out.

Please can you apply your rigorous research skills to the business of opening almonds.

Gratefully yours
SueMac
SueMac

Now mainly blogging on www.suevista.blogspot.com Vistas from Afar - A European Garden Blog

Offline SueMac

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« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2007, 18:25 PM »
Potato dish yummie!
SueMac
SueMac

Now mainly blogging on www.suevista.blogspot.com Vistas from Afar - A European Garden Blog

Offline Technopat

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« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2007, 21:04 PM »
Greetings SueMac,
Glad you liked it!
Thanx for trying it out - I didn't dare   :technodevil:
Regs.,
Technopat
Technopat's disclaimer: If this posting seems over the top and/or gets your goat (Sp. anyone?), please accept my apologies and don't take it personally - it's just my instinctive tendency to put my foot in it whenever/wherever possible. See also:
http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php/topic,266

Offline Technopat

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« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2007, 22:16 PM »
Greetings SueMac and All,
Re. your query for opening almonds - interesting one there. Will try to get back to that one (but am accumulating so many things to check out - and there's even some real world work to be done) but not in the immediate future, so if you're really hungry, it's a boring old nutcracker job, I'm afraid.

Mrs Technopat has an ingenious, "use of minimum force" way of opening walnuts as opposed to my macho crushing-them-in-my-fist version: insert the pointed end of a knife into where the shell would have a stalk if it were an apple and gently twist open. 'Mazing!

(Some) women to tend to so much more subtle 'bout things than we mere mortals!  :technodevil:

Regs.,
Technopat
« Last Edit: August 07, 2007, 22:26 PM by Technopat »
Technopat's disclaimer: If this posting seems over the top and/or gets your goat (Sp. anyone?), please accept my apologies and don't take it personally - it's just my instinctive tendency to put my foot in it whenever/wherever possible. See also:
http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php/topic,266

Offline SueMac

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« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2007, 12:48 PM »
Porque no probar :o?
Thanks but I know the walnut trick... Steve has psoriasis of the hands and consequently it is his let out for cracking almonds altho  the two stones arent strictly out for him.
SueMac
SueMac

Now mainly blogging on www.suevista.blogspot.com Vistas from Afar - A European Garden Blog