The By-Products of Almonds

The processing of almonds is a very efficient system, leaving zero waste with all the by-products and creative uses of them.   There is a use for everything, from the hulls to the rocks to the dirt.

Almond Hulls

Dried Almond Hulls
Dried Almond Hulls
The Almond Hulls are the largest by-product of almonds by weight.  They are the outermost protective layer of the almond. They have a slightly fuzzy texture and are light green in color in the development of the growing almond inside.  One telling factor when the almonds are ready to harvest is the hulls will split open.  After the almonds are shaken from the trees they will dry out and turn brown.  Ever since the early 60’s there has been a stable market for almond hulls to the dairy industry.  This is where the majority of the almond hulls are sold.  They are used as roughage feed for the dairy cows and is said to aid with healthy milk production.  Most almond farmers will watch the market and sell to the dairy ranchers accordingly.  They are piled and stored until the sale.  There is a threat in storing the almond hull piles which is the potential of them catching fire.  If the almond hulls get moisture they can catch fire.  One preventative for this is to assure the almond farmers don’t harvest their almonds too green which cause the almonds to have too much moisture.  In this case the hulls are not piled until they are dried out by the sun.

Almond Shells

Under the almond hulls there is a hard shell that further protects the almonds.  Depending on the variety of almond, the hardness of the almond shell varies.  The majority of almond shells are sold to co-generation plants to be used as a fuel source.  Another use is they are incorporated in some feed rations for livestock.  They are also used as a landscaping material similar to the use of wood chips.

Rocks Dirt

Mix Rocks and dirt which accumulate from ‘sweeping’ the almonds from the ground are also a by-product.  They are piled and used as ‘fill’ for driveways or roads.