The almond is truly one of nature's finest foods. Recent scientific studies have concluded that almonds provide many healthy benefits. Scientific research shows that the consumption of almonds, as part of a low saturated fat diet, may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by dramatically lowering blood cholesterol levels in the body. Furthermore, almonds are a nutrient packed nut that are excellent sources of the daily vitamins, minerals, and nutrients your body needs.
California is the only place in North America where almonds are grown commercially. There are 49 varieties of almonds grown in the United States. Four varieties make up 85% of all almonds grown in California. The four main varieties are Nonpareil, Carmel, California types, and Mission types.
Almonds are sorted into 4 grades. These grades measure the quality of the almond in terms of chips and scratches, amount of foreign material, and splits and broken almonds. The four grades of almonds are Extra No. 1, No. 1 Supreme, U.S. Select Sheller Run, and U.S. Standard Sheller Run. Almonds are also manufactured into 6 types of Almonds. These processed almonds are produced in two ways, blanched and natural. Blanched almonds are manufactured almonds with the skins removed.
Almonds are sorted based on the number of almond kernels per ounce.
|18/20||The largest almond size. This size yields 18-20 almonds per ounce.|
|20/22||The second largest size of almonds. This size yields 20-22 almonds per ounce.|
|23/25||Slightly smaller than the 20/22 sized almonds. This size yields between 23-25 almonds per ounce.|
|25/27||Yields 25-27 almonds per ounce.|
|27/30||Smaller than the 25/27 sized almonds. This size yields 27-30 almonds per ounce.|
|30/32||Yields between 30-32 almonds per ounce.|
|32/34||The seventh largest sized almond. This size yields 32-34 almonds per ounce.|
|34/36||Yields 34-36 almonds per ounce.|
|36/40||This is generally the smallest sized almond. Yields between 36-40 almonds per ounce.|
Sizing: Procesed Almonds
|Blanched Whole||The skin of the almond is removed. These almonds are usually manufactured no smaller than a 25/27 size.|
|Blanched Sliced||The skin of the almond is removed. These manufactured almonds are cut into thin, regular and thick slices.|
|Sliced Natural||The same as above, except skins remain on almonds.|
|Blanched Slivered||The skin of the almond is removed. Made from blanched whole almonds, the kernel is cut so as to produce uniform "slivers".|
|Diced Blanched||A processed almond diced into small pieces. As with all blanched almonds, the skin is removed. Diced Natural A processed almond diced into small pieces.|
|Extra No. 1||Extra No. 1 is the highest quality almond grade. This grade has less than 5% chips and scratches and less than 1% split and broken almonds. The amount of foreign material constitutes less than .05%.|
|No. 1 Supreme||No. 1 Supreme is the second grade of almonds. As with the Extra No. 1, No. 1 Supreme has less than 1% split and broken almonds and .05% foreign material. This grade has less than 10% chips and scratches.|
|U.S. Select Sheller Run (SSR)||U.S. Select Sheller Run is the third highest grade of almonds. This grade allows no more than 20% chips and scratches and 5% split and broken almonds. Select Sheller Run has less than 1% foreign material.|
|U.S. Standard Sheller Run||U.S. Standard Sheller Run is the fourth grade of almonds. This grade has less than 35% chips and scratches and 15% split and broken almonds. Foreign material is less than 2%.|