There is no doubt that the almond tree symbolizes the start of Spring in Greece. Almond trees blossom very early, at the end of February, with first sunshine. Almonds are not afraid to lose their pollination from the first breezes and rains of early spring. They are not afraid to risk everything for their offspring, the valuable seeds for the next generation. This year, this pandemic, almonds teach us to be brave for our next generation. But why is it the only tree that blossoms so early?
Almond flowers are not perfect, so they need pollination, mainly from bees, to be fertilized and produce fruit and seeds: the next generation. Since, it is the only flowering tree so early, all bees are working hard to collect food for their hive, the precious nectar, after a wintertime with no food around. This circle of life teaches us the respect we must give to everyone in the world. Everyone has its place in the circle of life. No one must be left behind.
Modern science, respecting almonds’ peculiarity, created delicious almond varieties using Prunus communis or dulcis to make new breeds for consumption. Although Prunus communis is in the wild all over Greece, it is not native but “escaped” from cultivations established in nearby agricultural areas. Its true origin is from Asia, and China has a great tradition surrounding them. In Greece, Prunus graeca is a common ancestor of almonds, a wild almond species from paleolithic times. The wild almond species are toxic, so they must be domesticated in order to be cultivate for human consumption. Therefore, this species is still not cultivated. You can still find Prunus graeca trees in the wild only in the east Aegean islands, where it is native.
Almonds can offer us a lot of valuable ingredients such as protein, vitamin E, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, and B2 (riboflavin).
The almond is a “powerful tool” for athletes and pregnant woman. Everyday consumption of 7-8 almond seeds are the perfect dosage for taking the most in just a few calories! Be careful! Do not consume a lot of nuts daily, because there are a lot of calories inside these little guys. Imagine that each seed is an embryo with adequate amount of food able to produce a sprout going out to the surface from the ground! This is why it is so small and nutritious for you. Only unprocessed, raw almonds include all this power. Even though raw almonds are the most common form for consumption, a relatively new and important one is almond milk. If you want to replace animals’ milk, this is a good solution because it incudes calcium among other common nutrients with animals’ milk.
*The above is not medical advice but mere suggestions for improving your diet. Before reach herbal use you should consult your doctor, especially those who have health issues, are pregnant or are under the age of 6.
Evropi-Sofia Dalampira is an Agriculturist-MSc Botany-Biology and PhD Candidate in Agricultural-Environmental Education and Science Communication.