Five Products That Wouldn't be the Same Without California Almonds

 

The Almond Board of California is at the Sacramento Convention Center this week for its 40th annual conference, bringing together the best almond growers.

Downtown Sacramento dining benefits from the fact that almonds are grown in California, helping the city be named the farm-to-fork capital of America, and California almonds are exported all over the world, so you're probably familiar with them.

But there are some foods you might not think of when you hear the word almonds.

So what favorite foods wouldn’t be the same without them?

French macarons are made with almond flour that often comes from farms around Sacramento, California

1. FRENCH MACARONS

The century-old French dessert is a meringue cookie with a jam, ganache or buttercream filling that has been popular for decades in France and is now growing in popularity in the United States.

But what’s the key to the perfect texture of the meringue cookies? They’re made with almond flour.

The European Union produces almonds, but California, including Sacramento’s Blue Diamond Almonds, provides 35 percent of its yearly crop to Western Europe, so if you go to Paris and pick up a Laduree or Paul macaron, chances are you’re eating California nuts.

Granola bar photo by Evan Amos

2. GRANOLA AND ENERGY BARS

Drawing on the health benefits of the almonds, makers of granola and energy bars make sure to include them in their recipes.

Granola bar manufacturers describe their use of almonds in their products as great ways to give a boost of energy and flavor.

Marzipan treats. Photo by Klara Kim.

3. MARZIPAN

You may have seen pastry shops confections that look like fruit, figurines or other fun shapes, and it’s likely they’re made of marzipan, which consists of almond meal with honey or sugar.

Marzipan is used on its own, as a topping for cakes or, in many cases, as a filling in chocolate bars.

Smoothie photo by cyclonebill

4. SMOOTHIES

When we think smoothies, we probably think of the obvious: fruit, juice, ice, yogurt … those sorts of things. Another popular smoothie ingredient, however, is almond milk.

Almond milk is good in its own right, being both sweet and nutritious, but it makes a great complement to a smoothie or even in your morning coffee.

Almonds photo by M. Verkerk

5. WHY NOT SNACK ON THEM?

Almonds are delicious in their own right, and healthy to boot. You can find them in just about any grocery store, and you can have them plain, roasted, salted – you name it.

The serving size is 23 almonds, and that’s just about perfect for a handful.

So you hear about it being a healthy snack a lot, but what does that mean? If you eat a handful a day, it helps ward off heart disease. The almond is also antioxidant-rich, and it’s gluten-free.