Natural Whole Almonds
Natural almonds are hulled and shelled almonds, and are often referred to as meats. We offer natural almonds sized or unsized in assorted grades. When ordering natural whole almonds, specify your choice of variety, size and grade.
Several almond variety types are specified by the industry for marketing purposes. The five major marketing groups listed here.
Nonpareil : Nonpareils were created in 1879 by A. T. Hatch in Suisun California and now constitute approximately 40% of all the almonds produced in California. They were among the first almond varieties created in California and have proved themselves successful from the beginning. Nonpareils are considered to be the most important almond variety in California because of their continually high productivity and high market demand. With the widest range of uses among the marketing categories, Nonpareils are readily blanched and cut for processed forms. A thin outer shell and smooth kernel allow for easy, blemish-free processing. As a result, Nonpareils are used anywhere an attractive appearance or strong almond ID is important.
Mission : The actual Mission variety originated in Texas in 1891 and was initially called the Texas variety. It has a small ounce count of 30 to 32.
Mission variety almonds have a thick, stout shell and wrinkled kernel. The skin of a Mission almond has a deep, brownish-red hue, darker than the Nonpareil. The kernels are also wider than the Nonpareil and have a stronger flavor. Though the Mission's deep wrinkles render it unsuitable for blanching, they help the nut hold seasonings and adhere to other foods, and are perfect for use in snack mixes and ice creams. Their robust flavor is especially enhanced by roasting.
California : This classification includes a number of varieties, all of which are blanchable, and used primarily in manufactured products. California shells are of medium thickness, and their skins have a color that is slightly darker than the Nonpareil. As a result, the California variety is quite adaptable, and well suited for nearly any process or application.
Carmel : The Carmel was introduced in 1966 in Le Grand California. Actually a member of the California type varieties, the Carmel has become popular enough to warrant its own classification. A soft-shell variety, Carmel almonds are often used for blanching and roasting. Because they are easily processed, Carmel types are often substituted for both Nonpareil and California. In recent years, Carmel have become less available and buyers have chosen to substitute the Monterey and Wood Colony varieties in its place because of their similar charachteristics.
The sizing stage is where almonds are categorized into their size grouping, also called "ounce count" or "kernel weight". The two numbers in the size range reflect the number of kernels per ounce. The fewer kernels per ounce, the larger the nut. The whole almond normally ranges between the following sizes: (see image on left)
The average kernel weight, or size, of an almond varies each year. Generally, the sizes coincide with how large the almond crop is for that year. So, normally, if the crop size is small, the almonds are larger. The inverse is also usually true.
Grading is the process of grouping the product by the USDA allowed degree of defect. Defects are categorized into the following areas: Chip & Scratch, Split & Broken, Doubles, Dissimilar, Particles & Dust, and Foreign Material.
Although the USDA sets very high standards, Harris Woolf has a solid reputation for being "above standard". We esteem ourselves on this reputation because we will accept no less than "above standard" product. For a copy of our almond specifications, please contact us. Standard grades available are: (see image on left)