Are Organic almonds the hype? Are they truly organic and pesticide-free, or is it a hoax?
Here’s an analysis of whether organic almonds are the right choice for you.
Conventional farming practices utilize chemically synthesized fertilizers, pesticides, and antibiotics, to increase the yield of the crop. In addition, Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are preferred over traditional crops, as these are specifically modified to produce a much higher rate of agricultural output. Still, these advanced cultivation techniques are not without hazards. The trends in increasing antibiotic resistance, the emergence of novel strains of plant pathogens and the bioaccumulation of chemicals and deadly pesticides in food are the direct consequences of modern farming practices. With increasing awareness of these ill effects, many turn toward a popular and sustainable option – Organic foods.
What does “Organic” mean?
Organic farming is not a novel concept – traditional farming practices, before the modernization of agriculture, were by default organic in nature. Organic farming methods do not use any kinds of pesticides or fertilizers. Instead, farmers apply natural fertilisers such as manure, while native insects and small vertebrates kept pests at bay. When a food item is labelled “Organic,” you can rest assured that the manufacturing process was all-natural and that no GMO crops were utilised in the process.
How are almonds processed?
Pests, insects, and fungi affect almonds, just as they do other crops. During the blossoming seasons, they are more vulnerableThe chemicals are absorbed by the fruit and stored inside it, posing a concern. Antibiotics and other compounds, on the other hand, are piled up inside the fruit which later gets accumulated in the human body, when such food is consumed.
Another key challenge encountered during the processing of harvested almonds is pasteurisation, which became necessary in the late 2000s after a widespread outbreak of Salmonella caused by the eating of raw, unpasteurized almonds.
Pasteurization is the process of killing the microorganisms present in food, without affecting the nutritive value of the food. The pasteurization for nuts includes steam vacuuming pasteurization, oil-roasting, and the infamous Propylene Oxide. Propylene oxide is a volatile chemical that is used as a fumigant in the sterilization of almonds.
It kills all germs and pathogens without harming the food, and it does not affect the flavour or nutritional profile of the nut. Propylene oxide is a suspected human carcinogen and is particularly toxic. Although steam sterilization provides a safer alternative than Propylene oxide fumes, certain water-soluble, volatile nutrients may be lost during the process.
To cultivate organic almonds, farmers use native, non-GMO seedlings that are naturally resistant to antibiotics. To control pests, small animals and insects are introduced to the farm. Similarly, natural fertilisers are used instead of artificial fertilisers. These insects and reptiles frequently abandon the crops in favour of feeding on the pests, thereby eradicating them.
In addition, certain weeds and herbs that repel these pests are also planted near the trees. Because of this approach, farmers do not need to apply pesticides to these crops, and the crops are cultivated entirely without using pesticides, fertilizers, or antibiotics.
In addition, most organic almonds sold are raw, or unpasteurized. This is because pasteurization may affect the nutrition profile. However, even if they’re pasteurized, physical methods like steam-vacuuming, blanching and dry frying are used.
Chemical pasteurization by Propylene oxide is out of the question, for the aforementioned reasons. To maintain the freshness and nutritive value of organic almonds, the processing method is simplified.
Who can consume organic almonds?
As long as you’re not allergic to almonds, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t enjoy them! It is a highly nutritious snack, especially for children and adolescents. Eat them as they are, or add them to other food dishes for a protein boost. You can also use almonds to prepare a myriad of dairy-free dishes.
Organic almonds are the rawest form of almonds available in the market. Include organic almonds in your diet, if you’re actively trying to avoid highly processed food. People concerned about the rise in antibiotic resistance can switch to organic almonds. Organic almonds are a boon to those with allergies.
This is because there are no other allergens – pesticides, fertilizers, antibiotics or otherwise – present in raw almonds. Organic almonds are safe to be consumed by children, old people and pregnant women. Chemicals, pesticides, antibiotics, and other allergens are not present in organic almonds. They’re also high in nutrients and suitable for people of all ages.
Check out the range of organic products here at Foodvez.