|Photo by Johannes Bjorner 2009|
One of the prettiest pictures I have seen this year is this one that appeared in Spaniaposten, a free Norwegian newspaper that provides current news and geographic, historical, and cultural stories about life on the Costa Blanca. In addition to several other nice images available on page 22 in the PDF of the printed newspaper, Spaniaposten also had a nice informative story about almonds.
Nuts are called frutos secos in Spanish, dried fruits, and the almond is indeed dry, but botanically speaking, it is not a nut. It is the seed of the almond tree, which grows inside a hard and inedible shell. Spain exports lots of almonds but keeps enough in the country so that they are a frequent aperitif or snack in natural, toasted, salted, and/or fried forms. as well as being used in cooking. We buy toasted almonds almost every week at the Sunday market to add to my breakfast oatmeal--4 euros for a quarter kilo. Almonds are high in protein and fiber and are low in fat and carbohydrates. They also contain vitamin E, which supports the immune system, and magnesium, which is good for the heart and blood pressure. The almond tree came to Spain with the Moors from North Africa and is also native to Iran, northwest Saudi Arabia, and western Jordan, Lebanon, west Syria and southern Turkey. The Norwegian paper also pointed out that almonds are an essential ingredient in marzipan and kransekake, a festive confection throughout Scandinavia.