10 questions with… the almond

We sit down and talk to a true heavyweight of the nutritional nut world

Let’s begin at the beginning – when were you born?

Prehistoric times. Old enough to not remember the exact date, but it was definitely before ginger nut biscuits were invented. I think.

Where do you call home?

I’m a nut of the world. I was first cultivated in western Asia, but these days I pop up in Portugal, Italy and Spain. California is where you’ll find me most, but wherever my tree is planted, you can be sure it’s warm there – cold climates are no place for a nut like me.

What’s one thing few of us know about you?

The almond tree is a close relative of peaches and plums.

Interesting. And another?

Just over half my edible weight is oil, stored in seed oil bodies that are (so I’m told) similar to fat globules found in animal milk. This is why I’m creamy, not oily, and so easily turned into milk.

But what have almonds ever done for us?

Lots, actually. Almonds are a great source of vitamin E, which helps prevent cardiovascular disease. And we’re also rich in phenolic compounds, an antioxidant that’s linked with a reduced risk of heart disease.

If you could pick any ingredients to join you at a dinner party, what would they be?

Plums and berries, for sure – put us lot together and good times won’t be far behind.

And your desert island dish?

That’s a tough one. I don’t think I could ever tire of being turned into macaroons.

When are you happiest?

Probably at breakfast – as milk for smoothies, baked in granola or as part of easy overnight oats.

When are you saddest?

When I have to sit there and watch on, helplessly, while someone eats a salad that has no crunch. That makes my oil boil.

Describe yourself in three words:

Good for you.