ALMOND (Heb. שָׁקֵד), one of the "choice fruits of the land" sent by Jacob to the ruler of Egypt (Gen 43:11). The tree blooms in Israel in January or February, while other fruit trees are still bare. Moreover, the almond blossoms before it is covered with leaves. Thus it symbolizes (Jer. 1:11–12) the speedy fulfillment of the prophecy of doom. It may also signify old age and the imminence of death. It is used, allegorically, in this sense in Ecclesiastes (12:5) to describe the short cycle of human life. Although the tree blossoms early, the fruit only ripens late in the summer. *Ahikar accordingly advised his son: "Be not like the almond tree, for it blossoms before all the trees, and produces its fruit after them." The almond can be regarded as having two periods of ripening. It is edible together with its rind a few weeks after the tree blooms, while the fruit is still green. Its second ripening is three months later, when the outer rind has shriveled and the inside cover has become a hard shell. In its exposition of Jeremiah's vision, the Talmud has the first ripening in mind: "Just as 21 days elapse from the time the almond sends forth its blossom until the fruit ripens, so 21 days passed from the time the city was breached until the Temple was destroyed" (tj Ta'an. 4:8, 68c), the 21 days being the period between the Seventeenth of Tammuz and the Ninth of Av. Beth-El was originally called *Luz (Gen. 28:19) which is the less common word for almond or almond tree in Hebrew, but loz is the regular Arabic word for almond. Several localities in modern Israel bear the Arabic name Al-Luz. Two strains of almond grow in Israel: one, the amygdalus communis var. dulcis, usually producing pink blossoms and sweet fruit; the second, the amygdalus communis var. amara producing white blossoms and bitter fruit. The latter strain grows wild in mountain groves. It is edible only with the rind when it is young (Tosef. Ma'as. 1:3). Roasting, however, destroys the poisonous alkaloid, and makes this almond edible even in its later stages (cf. Ḥul. 25b). The almond played a part in the modern history of Ereẓ Israel. Grown extensively in the earlier part of the 20th century, it was attacked by the borer beetle and almost all the orchards were destroyed. In the 1960s, almond cultivation was revived especially in the Northern Negev and again became an important branch of agriculture.
Loew, Flora, 3 (1924), 242 ff.; J. Feliks, Olam ha-Ẓome'aḥ ha-Mikra'i (19682), 56–59. add. bibliography: Feliks, Ha-Ẓome'aḥ, 165.
almond, name for a small tree (Prunus amygdalus) of the family Rosaceae (rose family) and for the nutlike, edible seed of its drupe fruit. The "nuts" of sweet-almond varieties are eaten raw or roasted and are pressed to obtain almond oil. Bitter-almond varieties also yield oil, from which the poisonous prussic acid is removed in the extraction process. Almond oil is used for flavoring, in soaps and cosmetics, and medicinally as a demulcent. The tree, native to central Asia and perhaps the Mediterranean, is now cultivated principally in the Middle East, Italy, Spain, Greece, and (chiefly the sweet varieties) California, which now produces over 70% of the world crop. It closely resembles the peach, of which it may be an ancestor, except that the fruit is fleshless. The flowering almonds (e.g., P. triloba) are pink- to white-blossomed shrubs also native to central Asia; like the similar and closely related pink-blossomed almond, they are widely cultivated as ornamentals. Several Asian types are known as myrobalan, a name applied also to the cherry plum, with which flowering almonds are sometimes hybridized. The beauty of the almond in bud, blossom, and fruit gave motif to sacred and ornamental carving. In the Middle East the tree breaks into sudden bloom in January, and in some of the region it has come to symbolize beauty and revival. The rod of Aaron in the Bible (see Aaron's-rod) bore almonds. Almonds are classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Rosales, family Rosaceae.
al·mond / ˈä(l)mənd; ˈa(l)-/ • n. 1. the oval nutlike seed (kernel) of the almond tree, used as food. 2. (also almond tree) the widely cultivated Asian tree (Prunus dulcis) of the rose family that produces this nut. • adj. made of or flavored with almonds. ∎ of an oval shape, pointed at one or both ends: almond eyes. ∎ a pale tan color, as of an almond shell.
A 60‐g portion (36 nuts) is a rich source of protein, copper, niacin, and vitamins B2, E; a good source of iron and zinc; a source of vitamin B1; contains 35 g of fat, of which 10% is saturated and 70% mono‐unsaturated; provides 8.4 g of dietary fibre; supplies 370 kcal (1550 kJ).