When you’re buying almonds, “raw” may not mean exactly what you think. All California almonds — which account for just about all of the almonds in the U.S. and more than 80% of the world — are pasteurized. These pasteurized almonds sold in North America can still be labeled “raw”.
Almonds are the only nut, seed or dried fruit that must — by law — be pasteurized. The U.S. Department of Agriculture implemented a mandatory pasteurization program for almonds in 2007 to prevent foodborne illnesses. Although some almond lovers worry about how this pasteurization changes the nut, The Almond Board of California states they have conducted independent nutritional lab analyses that show pasteurization does not degrade the nutritional value of almonds.
The two primary methods are steam processing and PPO. Steam processing is the method for the organic sector of the almond industry, while PPO is the pasteurization method reserved for non-organic almonds.
One of the healthiest aspects of almonds is their skins, as they are rich in antioxidants that are typically associated with vegetables and fruits. If you are concerned about any nutrients being stripped through pasteurization, take the time to prepare almonds by soaking them overnight in water. Add a splash of apple cider vinegar to the soak to keep microbes from growing.
For more info on the almonds we offer, visit our ALMONDS page.