A symbolic kernel
Many centuries ago, in Italy it was a tradition to sprinkle almonds on newlyweds to bless them with fecundity. A slightly modified version of this old tradition still exists: in Italy and Greece it is customary for married couples to present to their wedding guests with five beautifully wrapped sugared almonds as favours. The number stands for the five good wishes for the bride and groom: happiness, prosperity, health, fertility and a long life. Such a sweet gesture! And if you happen to be invited to an Italian wedding, don’t worry – you won’t be committing a faux-pas by eating your almond favours, but you will be doing yourself a favour!
A small handful of almonds contains six grams of high-quality protein, two grams of carbohydrates and only 14 grams of fat. And that’s not all: almonds are a fantastic source of fibre, magnesium, manganese and vitamins E and B2. They even contain the trace elements zinc, selenium and fluorine. Pregnant women benefit from the high content of folic acid. A large proportion of the fatty acids in almonds are healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids. And if that isn’t enough to get you running to stock up, almonds can also help you lose weight. How? These all-round superstars are a great snack and they make you feel fuller for longer. High time to incorporate almonds in your daily snacking routine!
Almond oil has been used for centuries as a natural skin treatment, and specifically to target lines and wrinkles. The oil contains a host of antioxidants that can help to improve the skin’s moisture content. Minor skin damage, like a sunburn – one of the most widespread causes of premature skin ageing – recovers faster if you apply almond oil.
Vegan for fun
You’re probably familiar with spooning almond butter straight from the jar or adding it to porridge. But have you even tried it in gluten-free, vegan mini almond pancakes? The recipe is as easy as it’s tasty: For 8 to 12 pancakes, soak 70 g almonds in water for about 8 hours and then drain. Mix with 50 g dates and 250 ml water in a mixer to make a smooth paste. Add 70 g rice flour, 1 tbsp psyllium husks and ½ tsp baking powder and blend again. Heat some vegetable oil in a frying pan, spread 1 heaped tbsp batter per pancake in the pan. Fry over medium heat for about 2 minutes until golden brown and then flip. For the sauce, mix 2 tsp almond paste, 1 tsp maple syrup, 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa and 1 - 2 tbsp water. Very moreish!
There are two main types of almond: bitter almonds, which – as the name says – taste bitter, and the popular sweet almonds. But don’t worry: the almonds sold in supermarkets are almost always the tasty sweet almonds. Bitter almonds can be used in baking and cooking to add a lovely marzipan flavour. If you’re concerned about dosage and don’t want to take a risk, bitter almond flavouring is a good alternative. You can find it in the baking section of your local supermarket. Smart solution, eh?
Pure Taste. Pure Joy.