Where Did Almonds Come From?
The History of the Almond
When you're biting into our scrumptious Vern's Almond Toffee, you may not think about the almonds that go into your toffee, and yet almonds have a wonderful and ancient history. Let's look at the history behind the almonds that make up your awesome English Toffee.
Almonds originated in the western parts of Asia and China, and were most likely cultivated there. Although the exact place of domestication is lost in time, scientists have been able to point to Western Asia as the most likely place they were first grown. Even now in modern day Iran and neighboring countries, wild almonds are native and still grow there. Experts think that almonds were one of the first trees domesticated because cultivated almonds appeared during the Early Bronze Age (ca. 3000-2000 BCE) in Numeira in Jordan. Almonds are mentioned in the Bible, and were even found in Tutankhamen's tomb (ca. 1325 BCE) in Egypt.
People eventually spread the almond along the shores of the Mediterranean, both along Southern Europe and Northern Africa.
There are two types of almonds: sweet almonds and bitter almonds. Bitter almonds are naturally toxic having high amounts of cyanide. Sweet almonds have virtually no cyanide and are perfectly safe to eat. Since there are both sweet and bitter cultivars of almonds, historians believe that because the mutation for sweet almonds is relatively common among bitter almonds, early farmers realized that these trees provided safe, delectable treats. Those ancients who ate wild almonds most likely roasted and leached them to remove any lingering toxicity. Since that time, people have enjoyed roasted sweet almonds, even though they're delicious and perfectly safe to eat raw.
So, when you bite into our exquisite Vern's Toffee, remember that the almonds you're eating in it come from a very ancient history.