Although there are about 70 types of almonds grown world wide – from Spain and Australia, to Italy and France – because of the Mediterranean local weather of California’s Central Valley, the state produces 80 % of the world’s almond provide, promoting to 90 totally different export markets. California additionally produces about 30 almond types of its personal, although the overwhelming majority of manufacturing (98 %) is represented by 13 commercially related varieties.
With its deal with the orchard of the longer term, the California almond business is “all the time searching for higher and extra sustainable almond varieties,” Sebastian Saa, Ph.D., senior supervisor for agricultural analysis on the Almond Board of California (ABC) says. “We’re satisfied that by analysis and innovation, we’ll discover varieties that produce not solely extra kilos of almonds, but in addition increased high quality with decreased administration prices and horticultural inputs when it comes to water use, pest administration and extra. As know-how and expertise advance, it’s going to enable us to find higher, extra environment friendly varieties.”
ABC: Are you able to share the totally different California almond varieties, together with the fundamental classifications and what distinguishes them?
Saa: Among the many 13 commercially related varieties, the Nonpareil dominates, accounting for about 40 % of California’s annual manufacturing. Different common varieties embody Monterey, Independence, Carmel, Fritz, and the mixture of Butte and Padre—that are harvested collectively.
The business classifies these varieties into three principal varieties. The primary is the Nonpareil kind, with the Nonpareil selection being its principal selection. This kind is characterised by a mushy—or “paper”—shell, and a lovely medium-sized kernel that is uniform in form, smooth-surfaced and lightweight blonde-colored in its pores and skin. These varieties are primarily used for snacking due to their engaging kernel traits.
Then there’s the Mission kind. These varieties have small, quick, plump kernels with wrinkled surfaces and dark-brown skins. Varieties within the Mission kind embody the Mission selection, Marcona, Butte, Padre and Fritz These are primarily used for pure roasted and bulk functions, in addition to in sweet and chocolate functions.
The third group is the California kind. This group was established about 5 many years in the past for manufacturing processes like blanching, slicing and slivering. The varieties have a variety of kernel styles and sizes, from narrow-medium to narrow-long to narrow-large and so-on. They’ve a wrinkled floor and brown colour. And due to shoppers’ excessive demand for snacks, many sorts on this kind are used for roasting, salting and flavoring. Among the varieties, resembling Carmel, Monterey and Wooden Colony, are additionally good for slicing and slivering due to their massive kernel sizes.
ABC: Are there different methods to categorise California almond varieties?
Saa: Sure. From a horticultural standpoint, we divide the varieties by their principal horticultural traits. Whereas that will not be very informative for the patron, it is useful for growers when choosing which varieties to develop.
For instance, you possibly can divide almonds into auto-incompatible varieties, which require cross-pollination from one tree selection to a different to provide fruit. Or self-compatible varieties, which may produce fruit with out cross-pollination. Many almond varieties require cross-pollination, however some new self-compatible varieties don’t and could be planted alone. One other horticultural distinction is harvesting time, as some varieties are harvested earlier within the season than others.
There’s additionally the USDA grade classification, primarily based on the minimal requirements and tolerances in every grade for components like share of doubles, defects and kernels injured by chipping or scratching throughout processing. The U.S. Fancy grade consists of shelled almonds which have lower than 3% doubles, are clear and properly dried and so-on—in different phrases, a really good-quality product.
ABC: Why do we’d like so many sorts of California almonds?
Saa: First, diversification is vital. Completely different makes use of and totally different wants demand totally different varieties. When you concentrate on an almond selection for snacking, for instance, you concentrate on crunch and robust taste. However when you concentrate on a range for a plant-based milk, you are in all probability occupied with milder flavors. And should you’re searching for a range to cowl in chocolate, you are searching for a brief however spherical kernel form.
Having so many sorts additionally presents growers’ operational diversification. When you’ve got just one selection that you’ll want to harvest inside a slender window, you place plenty of demand in your sources at one important level within the system. Nonetheless, when you may have a number of varieties that you could harvest sequentially, you possibly can leverage your tools and maximize your sources.
For extra data on the way forward for almond varieties, go to Almonds.com for half 2!