Several almond variety types are specified by the industry for marketing purposes. Of the four major marketing groups listed here about 90 percent of the almond production falls into the categories of Nonpareil, California and Mission.
With the widest range of uses among the marketing categories, Nonpareils are readily blanched and cut for process 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.
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.
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.
Mission and Mission Types
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 and California type. 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.