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When sakura blooms in Japan, thousands of people come to see it bloom. And who saw how almonds bloom in Crimea? The trees, completely covered with pink flowers, look like morning clouds, exude a dizzying scent. Indeed, sakura or serrata cherry and almonds are "close relatives" and belong to the genus Plum.
- Ornamental shrub or fruit tree?
- Almonds in the gardens of Russia
- Almonds are a valuable food product
Ornamental shrub or fruit tree?
Residents of Russia may be familiar with three types of almonds:
- Steppe almond, bean, Prunus tenella
- Three-lobed almond, Prunus triloba
- Common almond, Prunus dulcus
Steppe almonds and three-lobed almonds - these forms do not produce edible fruits, but are very decorative, they also grow in central Russia, the flowering is very beautiful, the flowers open even before the leaves fully open, from white to deep pink. They attract bees with their strong aroma. They eat the fruits of the tree almonds or common almonds.
Bitter or Sweet?
Common almonds are a fairly tall tree, up to 5 m in height. Who has not heard the expression: the smell of bitter almonds?
Common almonds are represented by three subspecies:
- sweet almonds, dulcis
- almond sweet fragile, dulcis for fragilis
- bitter almonds, amara
The species produce edible fruits that we call almonds, although in fact it is not a nut, but a drupe, the same as that of a peach or apricot, just instead of a juicy shell, surrounded by a dry one.
It is almost impossible to distinguish bitter almonds from sweet almonds by their appearance, but the fruits of bitter almonds have a more pronounced smell, which makes them attractive to perfumers and chefs. Although the bitterness is given to it by compounds of hydrocyanic acid, a substance hazardous to health, the use of 50 grains for an adult and 10 for a child is a lethal dose. But in small doses, and no more than three grains are added, or with proper processing, the kernels of bitter almonds give a unique taste and aroma to the dish and do not harm the body
Sweet almonds are a valuable food product that can be eaten fresh, used in cooking, both in the preparation of desserts, and with meat and fish dishes.
Almonds in the gardens of Russia
The common almond plant was brought to Russia a long time ago. For several decades, the Nikitsky Botanical Garden of Crimea has been working on the selection of winter-hardy varieties of almonds. And although the trees themselves can easily withstand frosts down to -25 degrees, but early spring flowering, when there is still a threat of severe frosts, ruins flowers and leaves.
Russian varieties with good frost resistance:
- Nikitsky 62, sweet-fruited, blooms in April, large fruits.
- Paper-shell, sweet-fruited, blooms at the end of March, fruits are very large up to 4 cm, soft, papery peel.
- Primorsky, sweet-fruited, high-yielding, seeds are flat, pointed.
- Dessert, sweet-fruited, flowers resemble small roses, the peel is easily removed from the kernel.
Varieties for the southern regions of Russia:
- Almond Petunnikov
Brittle almond varieties:
- Pink fog
Without exception, all almond varieties are self-fertile, therefore, in order to obtain a harvest, it is also necessary to plant a tree of the pollinator variety.
You can propagate by seeds, seedlings or grafted onto plums, thorns, cherry plums. For successful cultivation of varietal almonds for the garden, it is better to purchase them in the form of a seedling in a specialized nursery. Do not forget that you need to choose a pollinator for the selected variety. For example, the variety Dessertny is an excellent pollinator for varieties Nikistsky 62 and Pribrezhny.
Plants are not whimsical to the quality of the soil, but it is necessary to choose well-lit, protected from the wind places. Depending on the variety, the distance between the trees is from 5 to 7 meters.
We prepare a landing pit 60 x 60 cm in size, mulch the bottom of the pit with a mixture of leafy earth, sand, humus. We install the seedling, fill the hole, tamp the ground. If the garter is tedious, then we drive the garter peg behind the edges of the pit or install it together with the seedling before we start filling it with soil. Gently spill a bucket of water.
It begins to bear fruit for 3-5 years, needs annual pruning and feeding with organic and mineral fertilizers. Lives for a long time, up to 100 -130 years. The maximum yield reaches 18-20 years.
Almonds are a valuable food product
Delicious and healthy almonds can be eaten fresh daily, up to 30 grains, the unique composition of microelements and vitamins has a positive effect on the human body, slows down aging, improves the functioning of the heart, brain and other systems of the human body.
For the winter period, you can prepare apple-almond jam, which strengthens the immune system and facilitates the course of colds. We cut a piece of ginger root into two kilograms of apples cut into slices, add one kilogram of granulated sugar, leave.
After three hours, pour in a glass of water and bring to a boil, let it boil for five minutes and cool for two to three hours, after which we repeat the process twice more. At the end of the third boil, add the zest of one lemon and 2 tablespoons of fried and chopped almonds, boil for another three minutes and put in jars while hot, close with lids. In terms of its medicinal qualities, such almond jam is not inferior to raspberry or even honey.
The fascination with the newfangled plants of the undeserved has consigned to some oblivion the wonderful almond plant. Whatever kind of it would not take root in your garden, it will delight you with its wonderful decorative flowering.
Interesting video about almonds in India: