As you may recall, a directive from the Almond Board of California and backed by the USDA was put into effect in September of 2007 requiring all almonds to be pasteurized.
Pasteurization is a heat process that kills microorganisms by exposing them to high temperatures. The process not only kills all bacteria and microorganisms, it also kills the enzymes and living qualities of the food. Raw nuts and seeds can be planted and will actually sprout, indicating they are alive and vibrant, but cooked or pasteurized nuts and seeds will not sprout, indicating they are dead and have no remaining life force.
Today, if you purchase almonds at a local store or health food market, and they are labeled raw, they in fact are not raw. Because of this directive, raw almonds that have been pasteurized still can be labeled raw, a deceptive practice to say the least. These almonds are inferior and have lost their life force through the heating process.
But can you still get truly raw, unheated almonds?
Fortunately, the directive only applies to processors or 'handlers' of almonds. These companies normally buy from the growers and sell to retail chains and stores. But there is a loophole. If the grower sells directly to the consumer, they are not required to pasteurize their almond crops.
In order to get truly raw, unheated and live almonds, you have to search for a grower that sells almonds direct to consumers. Two farms I've found that supply both conventional and organic truly raw almonds are:
The D&S Ranches site also has a good deal of information on the almond controversy, methods of farming almonds and why store bought almonds are of questionable quality and not truly raw.
I've enjoyed almonds on occasion in the past but since the September 2007 directive, I've stayed away and sought out other raw nuts instead. I believe the practice of labeling heated nuts as raw is deceptive and won't support the industry or processors that sell them. When I start enjoying almonds again, I'll source them from growers like the ones I've mentioned here and support their practice of keeping raw nuts truly raw.
To your best health!