Do you drink almond milk? If so, which brand do you usually buy? One of the major brands out there is Almond Breeze from Blue Diamond Almonds. No, their almond milk is not made from blue diamonds, but from California-grown almonds, managed and cared for by the “almond people” – the Blue Diamond Growers cooperative.
To have greater bargaining power, growers pooled their almonds to be presented to various dealers. In 1910, the California Almond Growers Exchange was formed to strengthen and protect their five-year investment of cultivating almonds. The group consisted of 230 growers who were able to produce an annual total of 2,000 tons of unshelled almonds. European hand laborers had the task of removing the almond shells and the unshelled almonds were sold in the US.
Over time, the processes of harvesting, pooling the almonds together, and removing their hulls were experimented on for improvement. The production of almonds significantly increased after World War 1 with an average of 9,440 tons of the nuts. Mechanization of the almond shelling process became more rampant.
At first, the growers had 70 varieties of almonds, but they were later on encouraged to decrease that number to have better yield and quality. Hence, in the 1960s, only one tenth of the original varieties remained: 7 varieties. With the number down, cultural, growing, and production practices within the group began to improve even more. In the 1950s, modernization began to spread more in the farming community as water-saving sprinkler systems, mechanical knockers, sweepers, and other types of machinery saw the increase in yield and a decrease in labor costs.
The blue diamond is the rarest kind of diamond in the world and the brand name was chosen to distinguish itself among other brands as high-quality and dependable. Today, the California Almond Growers Exchange has over 5, 000 growers and is now known as Blue Diamond Growers, a Fortune 500 company with a generated revenue of over $500 million. Almond Breeze was developed in 1998 and it has released five flavours since: original, original unsweetened, chocolate, vanilla, and vanilla unsweetened.
The almonds used in making Blue Diamond almond milk are grown and harvested in California orchards. Blue Diamond almonds are carefully selected, unshelled, and blended with filtered water as well as a good variety of vitamins and minerals and other nutrients. The drink is pasteurized through a process called aseptic. The aseptic process is both a kind of pasteurization and sterilization process that involves a very high temperature under FDA or any process authority regulation. The very high heat destroys viable pathogens ensures the product’s safety and lengthens its shelf life.
Almond Breeze vs Silk Almond Milk
Arguably, the biggest competing brand of Almond Breeze is Silk Almond Milk. They have similarities and differences, and picking one over the other is mostly a matter of preference.
For a nutritional comparison of both brands, let’s use a cup of almond milk, which is around 240 ml. They have similar calorie content at 60 calories and both do not contain any cholesterol, saturated fat, and lactose. Based on the RDA, a serving of Almond Breeze has 1 gram of protein, 7 grams of sugar, 4% fiber, 5% potassium, and 6% sodium. Silk has the same amount of protein, sugar, sodium and fiber, while its potassium content is slightly lower at 4%. Both brands are good sources of various vitamins and minerals like magnesium, manganese, iron, potassium, calcium, and Vitamins A, D, and E.
In terms of flavour, both brands taste delicious, but Almond Breeze has a smooth, creamy texture with just a hint of sweetness and almond flavour. Silk has a more distinct almond flavour, making it slightly saltier, though it is just as smooth.
Both brands are made with high-quality almonds, filtered water, and cane juice. In addition, they are also fortified with vitamins and minerals and are great sources of antioxidants. If you are allergic to soy, then you should not drink Almond Breeze because it contains soy lecithin. Silk, on the other hand, uses sunflower lecithin instead of the soy variant.
Almond breeze is known for its dominantly sky blue coloured container, while Silk’s container is mostly white, so you won’t confuse them. Both are easy to pour because of their white plastic screw caps.
Aside from being a dairy milk alternative, Blue Diamond Almond milk can be used for a wide range of recipes, both savoury and sweet. Whether you’re an advocate of a healthier lifestyle or you’re simply a fan of almond milk, Almond Breeze can definitely satisfy your taste buds.