This section is from the book "An Experimental History Of The Materia Medica", by William Lewis.
Almond: an oblong, flattish, white kernel, covered with a thin brownish skin: produced by a tree which resembles the peach in its leaves and flowers, but differs in the fruit; the stone being covered with a dry tough matter, of a disagreeable taste; and the shell, though wrinkled and cavernulous, yet not rugged.
The almond tree, Amygdalus communis Linn. is a native of Africa, and cultivated in great plenty in some of the southern parts of Europe. It is now likewise naturalized to our own climate, in which it produces fruit not inferiour to that which we receive from abroad. It flowers earlier in the spring than most other trees, though the fruit does not ripen till autumn.
There are two sorts of almonds, one of a soft sweetish taste, the other bitter. The eye dis-tinguishes no difference betwixt the trees which yield the sweet and the bitter sort, nor between the kernels themselves. It is said, that the same trees, which in a wild state bore bitter almonds, have, when cultivated, afforded the sweet kind; and that the sweet, from want of culture, have degenerated into bitter. The almonds we receive from Barbary, where the tree is indigenous, are bitter; whilst those of Europe, and other parts where it is cultivated, are in general sweet.
Great care is requisite in the choice of these kernels, particularly the sweet sort; as they are very apt to become rancid in keeping, and to be preyed on by an infect, which eats out the internal part, leaving the almond to appearance entire.