Almond cultivation originated in Central Asia. Later, its use spread to Europe, specifically in Greece and Rome, from where it spread to the rest of the continent and to America. Currently there are several varieties of almonds, although there is one that stands out above all: the Marcona almond.
Do you know why the Marcona almond is so appreciated? And what are its main characteristics or the differences that exist with the rest of the varieties? Read on, we will tell you everything you need to know about it.
Sweet and bitter almonds
In general, we can classify almonds into two main groups:
- Sweet almond. It is obtained from the almond tree Prunus dulcis var. dulcis and is edible, so this category includes all the varieties used in food, including the Marcona. In turn, this type of almond is divided, according to the hardness of its shell, into two types: hard shell, cultivated in Spain and other Mediterranean areas such as Portugal, Italy, Greece or France, and soft shell, cultivated mainly in the USA.
- Bitter almond. It comes from the almond tree Prunus dulcis var. amara and is not edible, as it is toxic. On the other hand, bitter almonds always have a hard shell.
Marcona almond, main characteristics
The Marcona is considered the best almond in the world for its excellent flavor, its delicate texture and its high oil content, which makes it much juicier than other varieties.
And where does it come from? It is native to Spain, cultivated in different areas of the country, predominantly in the Valencian Community. For all these reasons, it is not surprising that its consumption is growing year after year at international level.
To meet this demand, genetic improvements have been implemented in Marcona almond trees, making them more productive, more efficient and more profitable. Thanks to these optimizations, they are also more resistant to pests and diseases, as well as to adverse climatic conditions, among other characteristics.
What are the properties of Marcona almonds?
Of course, Marcona almonds have great nutritional properties, being very beneficial for health. Thus, they are rich in high value proteins, mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids, macrominerals (calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium…), vitamins (B1, B6, E…) and trace elements (copper, manganese, zinc, iron…).
Thanks to all these properties, Marcona almonds reduce the risk of suffering from various cardiovascular diseases, promote healthy bones and teeth, promote intestinal transit and prevent diabetes, among others. In addition, they provide a great amount of energy, so they are suitable for all kinds of people, especially for athletes.
Differences between Marcona almonds and the rest of almonds
Marcona almonds are different from other almonds, but do you know why?
- The almond blossom: While the flowers of other almonds are white, Marcona almonds have a unique pinkish touch.
- The flavor: They have a sweet flavor and, having higher levels of oil, they are much juicier than other varieties, such as Largueta or Valencia.
- The appearance. Marcona almonds are very easy to distinguish from other varieties, as they have a rounded shape.
- The pollination. The Marcona needs other varieties of almond trees around it for pollination. In addition, it tends to have alternate harvests, that is, its harvests are not regular, and it is common that one year it has a high productivity and the following year its yield is considerably reduced.
Marcona almonds in gastronomy
Marcona almonds are very versatile in gastronomy. Thus, it can be consumed alone, as a perfect healthy snack, but also as an ingredient in countless recipes.
Thanks to its intense and sweet flavor, it is highly appreciated in the nougat industry, where it is peeled and toasted to make the most exquisite hard or soft nougats. In fact, they are the most demanded in traditional denominations of origin, such as Alicante or Jijona, both Spanish.
In addition, Marcona almonds are widely used in confectionery and in the preparation of various sweets, such as marzipan, polvorones, almond cakes, egg yolk cakes or guirlaches.
Of course, it is an ideal nut for many culinary recipes, being able to dress all kinds of salads, meats, sauces … and give dishes an unparalleled flavor.
El Nogal Wellness Nuts, suppliers of gourmet almonds
In El Nogal Wellness Nuts we are suppliers of premium quality Marcona almonds, offering the entire food and catering sector, as well as to retail stores, the highest quality variety in the world.
We combine tradition with the most innovative techniques, providing unique elaborations, with the authentic flavor of Mediterranean gastronomy. In addition, all our ingredients are 100% natural, satisfying lovers of healthy and gourmet food.
Would you like more information? Download the El Nogal product catalog or contact us. We will be pleased to help and advise you in everything you need.