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Hall's Hardy Almond  RSS feed

 
Rob Sigg
Posts: 715
Location: PA-Zone 6
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Anyone have any real experience with these? I have 2 of them and Im reading conflicting information that says they are crap to eat, and others saying they are great. Any harvesting/processing tips you can offer? Thanks!
 
                                    
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Yeah, I've had them for over 20 years.  Its a peach/almond cross, not a true almond.  The kernels are kind of small, and you do have to boil the cyanide out of them before eating.  The finished product is actually very good, quite tasty when roasted and salted, a good strong almond flavor, not bitter if processed correctly

The problem, however, lies in the shell.  It is TOUGH, TOUGH, TOUGH to crack.  A very hard, stony pit, and no matter what methods I've tried, hammer, nut cracker, etc., the kernel tends to shatter with the shell.

If I had more time, I would consider gathering them, but generally just leave them.  The squirrels will take them late in the winter, I guess when other food sources are low, but don't bother them before that, probably too bitter.  For my money, just too hard to crack and too time consuming.

For nut production, I'd look into some of the more hardy, true papershell almonds like Titan.  I've got that going, but its only been in the ground 2 years, tree looks great but no blooms this year, perhaps next.

FWIW, Halls Hardy is truly a beautiful spring blooming tree.  I would replace mine when they went just as ornamentals if some better, dual purpose variety weren't available.  As I said, still waiting to see how Titan compares to Hall's Hardy.
 
Rob Sigg
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Location: PA-Zone 6
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I read that the fruit will dry and crack open revealing the husk and nut in the fall. Is that correct? Have you tried the fruit at all, any good? You mentioned the B17, why would all these nurseries be selling them as edible nuts if they are harmful unless boiled? Wouldnt they have to disclaim that?
 
John Polk
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Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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Would a vise work for cracking them?  Squeeze until it cracks @ the seam, then insert a screwdriver tip and twist?
 
                                    
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The "husk" of Hall's is like a true almond, hard, woody, and incredibly bitter.  Not something you would ever eat more than one bite of.  I know the hard way, I tasted it years ago, a definite "spitter".  It splits open in the autumn and the pit inside falls out clean, albeit sometimes coated with sticky sap.

I would hope that nurseries would mention that this is a bitter variety.  I did some google searching on this, and it seems that some trees are less bitter than others.  I know mine are NOT edible in the raw state -- you definitely spit them out after a couple of seconds chewing them. 

Yes, the vise idea would probably work, it just would be time consuming
 
Rob Sigg
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Location: PA-Zone 6
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I wonder if they are just selling a more improved variety now that is safe to eat? I know some b17 is good for you, but you would think they would not sell it if they knew it was harmful. Thanks for the info.
 
Brenda Groth
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Location: North Central Michigan
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i have a young dwarf one that hasn't flowered yet, and am interested to see how it does when it fruits..have read also that they must be boiled as well..but the info that came with mine did NOT state that either..said that they were sweet almonds..but likely not
 
John Polk
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Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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This entire thread is interesting to me, as I am hoping to be moving to a Zone 6 region.
The bulk of the almond industry is in zones 8-9 in California.  I would be thrilled to be able to grow some in z6.

Any pistachios grow in Z6?
 
Rachell Koenig
Posts: 71
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I have a Hall's Hardy Almond. I think I've had it for 5 years now, and it is completely loaded with almonds this year. As it is only May right now, I'm excited to see how this turns out! If I can remember to, I'd like to give you guys an update on taste and ease of cracking. I'm in south-east Missouri, we're a zone 6. This tree grew fast and healthy. That might be because of burying deceased pets, and taking my compost out to it. I also watered it with a "weed compost tea" on occasion. It also has lots of mulch around it. We use to mulch with grass cut with a scythe, but this year, we got a hold some wood chips for our trees. I really love this tree, I will be a bit disappointed if we cannot eat these. So I will be trying every method possible. The internet says harvest time will be between July and October? LOL! That's a big time span. I'm betting on October. See you then!
 
Roberta Wilkinson
Posts: 175
Location: Washington Timber Country
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There are about 25 immature fruits on our tree this year too - a big jump from the single flower and zero fruits last year.

Like you, I'm determined to make this work. We bought the tree before reading all the mixed reviews on the actual edibility of the nuts. I'm really hopeful that we've got one of the good ones.

I too will plan to return in the fall with a report.
 
Rachell Koenig
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It's now September 11th, and all the fruits that were on my Hall's hardy almond tree have either ripened and fallen off, or have been eaten like peaches by my neighbor!  I can not convince him that it is an almond tree.  They are like firm peaches, I have even eaten a few myself.  Is this because I have 3 peach trees also?  My tree was loaded, and I refused to prune... sadly almost all the branches snapped.  But I'm betting that it will be fine after I just chainsaw prune it.  I plan to collect some of the pits off the ground and see what can be done with them.  So far I have cracked one open and it was exactly like a peach pit... which I like.  But I know everyone will want to know if you can make them taste like almonds from the store.  I'll do one more update when I learn more. 
 
Shawn Harper
Posts: 360
Location: Portlandia, Oregon
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Rachell Koenig wrote:It's now September 11th, and all the fruits that were on my Hall's hardy almond tree have either ripened and fallen off, or have been eaten like peaches by my neighbor!  I can not convince him that it is an almond tree.  They are like firm peaches, I have even eaten a few myself.  Is this because I have 3 peach trees also?  My tree was loaded, and I refused to prune... sadly almost all the branches snapped.  But I'm betting that it will be fine after I just chainsaw prune it.  I plan to collect some of the pits off the ground and see what can be done with them.  So far I have cracked one open and it was exactly like a peach pit... which I like.  But I know everyone will want to know if you can make them taste like almonds from the store.  I'll do one more update when I learn more. 


Was the fruit part good tasting? The idea of a peach with an edible (or semi-edible) seed really appeals to me.
 
Marco Banks
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Location: Los Angeles, CA
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My dear bride bought me an almond tree (Garden Prince) this past March to celebrate our 25th anniversary.  I planted it on the west side of the house, to shade the house from the hot afternoon sun, and to absorb all the heat that is stored in the stucco and hardscaping on that side of the house (a paver driveway, a block wall, a concrete sidewalk).

On most nights before I turn in for bed, that's the last place I visit --- to take a leak around the drip-line of the tree.  As you can imagine, all that nitrogen has caused that tree to grow amazingly this summer, and with our hot Southern California evenings, it shows no sign of slowing down, even through we are now in September.  Our crop this year was 3 almonds.  Whoo hoo!  But I'm sure it will bear abundantly in the years to come.

I hope to re-plumb my upstairs bathrooms soon (both upstairs bathrooms are on that side of the house) to create a grey water system to keep that thirsty tree satisfied.  When life gives you hot days, warm evenings and grey water, make lemonade  . . . er . . . make almond brittle. 
 
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