Cultivated as early as 4,000 BC, i almond trees they constitute a tree native to central and south-western Asia. In later times this tree was then introduced to a large part of the world, achieving growing success.
On the other hand, all of us are sufficiently confident with the fact that the almonds (Prunus dolcis) they are widely used for making candies, baked goods and sweets, and for the oil that is extracted from its nut.
In short, these stone fruits from almond cultivation are extremely valuable from a food point of view and ... they are also known to help us fight a series of physical problems, so much so that they end up being an integral part of a long series folk remedies.
However, as popular as they are, their cultivation is not always simple and affordable for everyone. We tried to find out more, trying to reveal some tips for better cultivation of the almond tree.
What you need to know if you want to grow an almond tree
Let's start with the basics. When growing almond trees, it is helpful to know that trees do not tolerate excessively wet soil and I'm extremely sensitive to spring frosts. They thrive in mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers in full sun.
Therefore, if your territorial area does not fall within these parameters, it is unlikely that an almond tree will bear fruit as expected!
Also, remember that very few varieties of almond trees are autonomous in fertilization, and therefore require cross-pollination for the production of their fruits. In short, you will have to plant at least two trees. If you have very limited space, you can also try to plant two in the same hole: the trees will grow together and intertwine, allowing the flowers to cross-pollinate.
Almond trees are deeply rooted and they should be planted in deep, fertile, well-draining sandy loam. Almond trees should be planted 6 to 8 meters away from each other (except for the above we had the opportunity to anticipate) and irrigated, despite the fact that the trees are tolerant to drought. An application of nitrogen and organic fertilizer will promote growth: remember that these trees have a high need for nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P).
To plant the almond tree, it is enough dig a hole wider than the depth and make sure that the roots fit easily into it. So, water deeply. It may be necessary to stake a small tree if you live in a windy area, but it is good to remove the poles after a year or so to allow the tree to grow properly.
Read also: Almond nougat, the recipe
How almond trees are cared for
There almond care varies according to the season. In winter or in the inactive season, growing almond trees must be pruned (December / January) to encourage growth, allow light and remove dead or diseased branches.
It is also good to clean the area of debris around the tree to eliminate worms and spray suitable substances to try to discourage any mites or other parasites that could infest the plant.
During the spring flowering season, almond tree care should include fertilizing mature trees with manure or small doses of nitrogen for young trees. Drip irrigation should be ensured every day for those just planted, with trees that need at least 5 - 8 cm of water. Already "established" trees can survive with 5 - 8 cm of weekly irrigation in the absence of rain and may require additional irrigation during periods of drought. Furthermore, if the tree is planted in shallow or sandy soils, it will need more water.
During the summer, it is good to continue irrigating and fertilizing at the same speed as in spring until harvest.
Harvesting of almond fruit
There harvesting of almond fruit occurs after the shells break, with the shell becoming dry and brown in color. Almonds need 180 - 240 days to ripen the nuts in which the nut (embryo and shell) is dried, until it reaches the minimum moisture content.
To collect the almonds, it is generally sufficient to shake the tree, and then separate the shells from the walnut. Then freeze the almonds for a week or two to kill any residual worms and then store them in plastic bags.
Finally, for almond care, always remember to spray the trees during or after the fall leaves in the fall before the winter rains. This will reduce the damage caused by fungi and other possible diseases.
Recipes with almonds
Having clarified the above, we are sure that you will have no difficulty in using the almonds that you will have obtained in so many delicious recipes.
For example, you can use almonds to make excellent almonds, making these dried fruits the protagonists of your cakes, or as a topping for your creation based on pears, apples or more.
Of course, almonds can also be fundamental ingredients for the realization of traditional recipes of Italian cuisine and, in particular, of some of its regions. One of the best known references is certainly that of cantucci, typical Tuscan dry biscuits, to be eaten accompanied with excellent vin santo.
And what about salads? With spring approaching, we are confident that you will be able to use your almonds to make a fresh salad based on eggs, bread, tomato, lettuce and other ingredients that you can certainly identify to your liking even healthier.
Finally, we recommend that you use almonds to enrich your main courses. Chicken with almonds - for example - is a recipe that you can make in a few tens of minutes, then bringing to the table a dish with an intriguing flavor, which will not fail to delight your palate and that of all your diners.