Almonds (Prunus amygdalus Batsch) is a common nut fruit. Because of its high oil content, it is a concentrated source of energy. Since almond production in India is extremely small, the majority of almonds are imported from other countries. Almond cultivation has been going on in the hilly areas of Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh to some degree.
The almond is a native of Western Asia’s hot, arid zone. It was most likely transported to Greece, North Africa, Europe, Australia, and the United States. The species reached as far as the Mediterranean basin in ancient times.
Almonds are primarily grown between 36° and 45° north latitude, though cultivation may reach further north under some mild climatic conditions. South Africa, South America, Australia, and India are all home to this species. The almond has been limited to marginal and non-irrigated lands in Mediterranean countries, where it is considered a robust species. Between 1830 and 1930, almond production in the United States was limited to marginal lands. After that, farmers in the United States started to plant almond trees in more fertile and irrigated areas.
The major almond-growing countries are the United States, Spain, Italy, China, Iran, Greece, Tunisia, Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Algeria, Morocco, France, Persia, and Syria.
In 2011, the world’s almond production was estimated to be around 2 million tonnes. The United States is the largest producer, accounting for 80% of global production. Spain, Iran, Morocco, Syria, Italy, Turkey, Afghanistan, Tunisia, and Algeria are currently the top almond-producing countries.
Almond production is limited to a few hilly areas of Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh in India. In India, almond cultivation covers 23810 hectares, yielding 17230 tonnes of almonds per year. India’s productivity is 730 kg/ha, compared to 1500 kg/ha globally.
The Kashmir Valley is India’s main almond-growing area. Himachal Pradesh’s cool and dry areas, especially the Chini region bordering Tibet and Lahaul and Kinnaur, have also been found to be suitable for the crop. This state’s almond acreage is 5543 hectares, yielding 1069 metric tons of almonds. Due to old and senile orchards, almond productivity in Kashmir is very poor.
Almond cultivation is concentrated in Kashmir’s Srinagar, Anantnag, and Baramula districts. In this region, there are vast stretches of the almond plantation, the majority of which are on high lands known locally as Krewes. These areas are located between 1500 and 1800 meters above sea level.
The almond is the most common nut because it is extremely nutritious and medicinal. Nutrition, minerals, fat, and vitamin B1 are all abundant in almonds. The almond kernel is a high-energy food, containing 655 calories per 100 g fresh weight. It has 20.8 percent protein, 58.9% fat, 2.9 percent mineral matter, 1.7 percent fiber, 10.5 percent starch, calcium 0.23 percent, phosphorus 0.49 percent, iron 3.5 percent, and vitamin B1 240 mg per 100 g. 55.6 percent lipids, 18.9 percent fat, 2.0 percent crude fiber, 2.3 percent ash, 7.9 percent total soluble sugars, and 0.27 percent hydrocyanic acid were contained in bitter almond kernels. Almond kernels contain a high amount of copper, which is beneficial to the human brain.
Badam roghan, a highly precious oil derived from almonds, is thought to have a high medicinal value. When the nuts are ripe, they are normally consumed. Kernels that have been blanched, roasted, fried, and salted are extremely tasty and in high demand. Almond oil is used in confectionery, as well as medicinal and cosmetic products. You should also eat green nuts. These are harvested before the outer husk hardens and loses its color. The nuts are then opened, and the kernels are eaten with lightly sugared cream cheese while still milky. Perfume and pharmaceuticals both use bitter almond kernels.
In the past, almond cultivation was given a lot of attention in the Kashmir valley. Almost all of the old plantations are seedlings. Planting of budded plants of established high-quality cultivars, mostly thin-shelled and medium-shelled, is now encouraged.
As a result of a survey of almond growing regions in Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir in 1971, a large collection of almond varieties, seedling selections, and hybrids was made in the orchard of PAU, Ludhiana. A large number of varieties came from Australia, Greece, Italy, Spain, and the United States.