Disclosure:  This post is based on my experience with the Almond Board of California’s sponsored trip in September 2016.  I  was not required to write a blog post, did not receive compensation for this post and all opinions are my own. I just love almonds!

Last month I had the awesome opportunity to travel up to Lodi, California with a group of other Registered Dietitians/Food Bloggers and the Almond Board of California to learn about the growing and harvesting of almonds, as well as tour an almond orchard and processing facility. Wow!  I will never look at an almond in the same way!  So much work and dedication goes into those bags of almonds you purchase from the grocery store!  It was great to see how such a popular item in our food supply is produced.

img_2487

 

Here are seven awesome facts about almonds that I want to share with you!

1 – One serving is bigger than you think! We often hear that a serving of nuts is 1 ounce, but what does that even look like?  About 24 to 26 almonds.

image-1

 

2 – Less calories than we thought! We actually may absorb 20% fewer calories than what’s listed on the nutrition facts panel according to a 2012 USDA study. Why you ask? Researchers at Kings College London believe the answer lies with the fiber. The chewing process doesn’t seem to break down all of the tough fibrous cell walls in whole almonds.  The cell wall acts as a barrier to digestive enzymes that want to get inside to release and break down the fat. Research is in the works to see if this is also the case for other forms of almonds like sliced and slivered.

3 – Almonds & bees need each other. Bees are vital to the growing of almonds and it’s a mutual relationship. The almond blossoms will provide the first natural food of the year for the bees. For every one flower that a bee pollinates, one almond is produced.

bee-pic-almond-board

Photo Credit: the Almond Board of California

4 – Water conservation is a top prioritySometimes inaccurate info spreads like wildfire.  This was the case when a Slate reporter made the claim that almonds use 10% of California’s water supply.  The reporter later retracted this false statement, but unfortunately it will probably live forever on the internet.  According the Almond Board, water efficiency over the past 20 years has improved by 33%. The total amount of almonds has increased over the past 20 years, but the water use has remained pretty constant. As the Almond Board likes to say, “more crop per drop.”

5 – Machines make the almond trees “rain”!   If you think almonds get picked one by one, you’re not exactly correct. A machine stops by each tree and vigorously shakes the almonds from the tree.  The almonds then dry in the sun and are then swept up by  another machine. Play the video below to see how growers make it “rain”!

img_2503

6 – You can eat green almonds. Did you know that almonds are green and fuzzy when young?  Not only are they edible, but they are also a delicacy in certain cultures, such as those in the Middle East. Cut open the green coating and pop out the small white nut.  It tastes like cucumber! Try adding to salads for a an unexpected herbaceous flavor.

greenalmonds-pic-from-almond-council-site

Photo Credit: the Almond Board of California

7 – There’s a difference between almond meal vs almond flour.  If you like to bake, you’ve probably seen recipes that call for either almond meal or almond flour, but what’s the difference?
Meal = from natural almonds, meaning almonds with the brown papery skin
Flour= usually from blanched almonds to give the final product a white appearance

img_2524

Gorgeous almond orchard!

img_2941

This isn’t a pile of dirt. This is a massive pile of almonds!

During the almond tour, we had a chance to play Top Chef by getting into teams and creating a snack using various almond products. My team made Almond Joy Bliss Bites using almond butter, flax, oats, coconut, brown rice syrup, dark chocolate and chopped almonds. Originally, I was going to recreate that recipe here, but, that didn’t quite go as planned and I wanted to use up a banana that was super ripe!  Almond Joy Bliss Bites morphed into Almond, Chocolate & Banana Bliss Bites and they taste almost like a chocolate truffle!

img_2936

img_2943

fullsizerender-3

Almond-Chocolate-Banana Bliss Bites

Yield: 10 or 11 bites

These energy bites remind me of chocolate truffles! Decadent, but full of highly nutritious ingredients to tide you over as a snack, satisfy your sweet tooth for dessert, or even fill in as a grab n' go breakfast. For additional banana flavor, try adding a dash of banana liqueur or banana flavor.

If you don't want to hand chop the almonds, you can also use a food processor.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond butter, smooth or crunchy
  • 1/4 cup old fashioned oats
  • 2 Tablespoons ground flax seeds
  • 1/4 cup mashed very ripe banana
  • 1 large, soft date, pitted and chopped until mashed
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 ounce dark chocolate, chopped into very small shards and pieces (I used 72% cacao)
  • 1 ounce raw almonds (about 24-26 almonds), finely chopped

Instructions

  1. In a medium size mixing bowl, combine the almond butter, oats, ground flax seed, mashed banana, mashed date, cinnamon and chocolate. Stir until well combined and the chocolate is distributed equally throughout mixture.
  2. Spread chopped almonds onto a plate.
  3. Use a tablespoon size measuring spoon to scoop out level tabelspoons of the mixture, roll into balls and roll in the almond mixture until each ball is evenly coated.
  4. Refrigerate bites for about an hour to firm.
  5. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
http://tastybalancenutrition.com/7-awesome-facts-about-almonds-almond-chocolate-banana-bliss-bites/
Recommended Posts
Showing 34 comments
  • Kylee Mathie
    Reply

    Wow! So many interesting facts that I did not know about almonds! I love them. They are one of my favorite snack. Good to know! Thanks for sharing.

    • TastyBalance
      Reply

      Thanks Kylee! It was really awesome to see where they come from….from the actual source!

  • Emily Holdorf
    Reply

    These look so yummy & easy to make! Love the almond tin from FNCE, so handy!

    • TastyBalance
      Reply

      Thanks Emily! I brought my 1 tin to a health fair recently and people kept wanting to take it! Everyone loves them!

  • Cara
    Reply

    Those green almonds are so cool! I’ve never seen those before – thanks for sharing all the info you learned!

    • TastyBalance
      Reply

      Thanks so much Cara! They pop up at farmers markets in the spring time

  • Elizabeth
    Reply

    I like anything with almonds and all of these recipes look fantastic!

    • TastyBalance
      Reply

      Me too! Thanks Elizabeth!

  • Nazima Qureshi
    Reply

    Wow I have never seen or eaten green almonds before! I am always looking for new energy bites so thanks for that too!

    • TastyBalance
      Reply

      they’re great! I married into a Persian family, so I had my first green almond during Nowruz a few years back. I had no idea about them before that!

  • Sarah @ BucketListTummy
    Reply

    I’m so sad I’m allergic to almonds because they are so good for us! I love the portion friendly tins they gave out at FNCE. Your recipe looks delicious!

    • TastyBalance
      Reply

      oh no!
      Yes, love the tins! Thanks Sarah!

  • Reply

    Love all the details from the tour- looks like such an education and fun time! Your recipes looks amazing and love that it makes “10 or 11” bites ;).

    • TastyBalance
      Reply

      lol! ya, I think I made the recipe 4 or 5 times and I kept getting either 10 or 11 !

  • Emily
    Reply

    What a fun and amazing trip!! Almonds are the best!

    • TastyBalance
      Reply

      so much fun! Love almonds!

  • Reply

    1) I am obsessed with my little almond tin for proper portions. 2) These almond bites look so decadent! Can’t wait to try your recipe.

    • TastyBalance
      Reply

      Thanks so much Chrissy!

  • Jenny Shea Rawn
    Reply

    I didn’t know you could eat young green almonds! Or the difference between almond flour and meal. Thanks for the new info. And those bites look delish.

    • TastyBalance
      Reply

      Thanks Jenny!

  • Ann @ MyMenuPal
    Reply

    I never knew that about young/green almonds! Very cool. And these bites look delicious!

    • TastyBalance
      Reply

      Thanks Ann!

  • Charlene Pors
    Reply

    whoa! I had no idea Almonds were green while young! So cool, I also didn’t know they were harvested by a machine. So cool! Learn something new every day 🙂

    • TastyBalance
      Reply

      Pretty cool!

  • Amy Gorin
    Reply

    I want some, please! 🙂

    • TastyBalance
      Reply

      I will teleport some over to you! 😉

  • Lauren Harris-Pincus
    Reply

    THese sound so tasty. I love farms tour because you learn SO many things you never knew about a food you already eat all the time. Fun!

    • TastyBalance
      Reply

      Thanks so much Lauren! I loved the farm tour! It was also my first sponsored trip, so hopefully more to come!

  • Roxana
    Reply

    Such a great article. Those are all my favorite flavors. Creative combination. Will try it out.

    • TastyBalance
      Reply

      Thank you so much Roxana!

  • Kara @ Byte Sized Nutrition
    Reply

    I love that you used banana to sweeten these balls! They look amazing. Great fun facts on almonds as well 🙂

    • TastyBalance
      Reply

      Thanks! Bananas and almonds pair so well together! especially with chocolate!

  • Bridget Swinney
    Reply

    Great info about almonds…and of course a recipe that I must try!

    • TastyBalance
      Reply

      Thanks Bridget!

Leave a Comment