Almond wood comes from the almond tree, which is best known for producing the delicious nut many enjoy.
As firewood, almond wood is premium. Several characteristics of burning almond wood make it an excellent alternative to even oak.
Almond wood is an excellent smoking wood and is a milder alternative to other fruit woods like cherry or applewood.
Here’s everything you need to know about almond firewood.
The Almond Tree
Almond wood comes from the almond tree, which belongs to the Prunus genus and shares a group of subgenus with cherries and plums.
It is originally native to Iran and other areas of the Middle East but grows globally today. The Almond tree thrives in Mediterranean-type environments and produces the most almonds in locations with that climate.
The almond tree is rarer than oak, which is why it isn’t used more often than oak for firewood.
Its growth requires large tracts of land and a lot of water. With so many almond trees in California, the mega-drought impacts the sustainability of almond trees, ultimately leading to growers exiting the industry.
Almond trees can grow to 33 feet high with a trunk that’s 12-inches in diameter. They come in several varieties depending on size and climate.
After white and pink flowers bloom in the spring, the almond fruit grows from the tree. It will need 7 to 8 months before it yields a mature fruit in the fall. The almond tree reaches full maturity around 5 or 6 years after planting. When old orchards need replanting, the trees become firewood.
Because more growers are leaving the industry, there are now fewer orchards. Further, the orchards that see replanting are likely to be chipped out as it’s faster.
The process shrinks the available trees for firewood which also causes the supply to shrink. These are some of the reasons why almond wood isn’t used more often.
Almond wood is very similar to oak.
They are both hardwoods, they burn in similar ways, and they each produce a hotter fire that burns slowly with minimal ash.
It has a heat rating of 32.9 million BTUs per cord, which ranks higher than several other common firewoods, including oak.
There are some advantages of almond wood versus oak wood.
Drying freshly felled almond trees only takes a year, whereas oak can take more than twice that long, depending on the variety. This drying process, or seasoning, is vital regardless of the wood you’re using.
Almond wood is denser and more challenging to split than other woods. Because of this density, almond firewood is excellent for use in wood stoves or heating. The length of burn, the heat of the fire, and lack of ash make it perfect for wood stoves.
As a smoking wood, almond produces a lighter smoke flavor compared to other fruit woods like cherry or peach. With this more delicate smoke flavor, almond wood is excellent to pair with virtually all meats, whereas other woods can be overpowering.
Almond wood is expensive wood. It is one of the most costly woods, often costing double what oak costs. The higher cost is because almond wood is a hardwood, and the supply is shrinking.
As a smoking wood, almond firewood is comparable to other fruitwoods.
Almond wood isn’t used in commercial applications because of the smaller size of the trees.
Instead, it’s primarily used as premium firewood. That doesn’t mean that woodworkers don’t work with it. Many woodworking items include small, turned objects like bowls and small furniture.
FAQs About Almond Wood
Burning a new type of wood is sure to bring some questions.
Here are some common questions asked about almond wood.
Is Almond Wood Good for Smoking?
Almond wood is a mild fruitwood that’s perfect for any type of meat. It’s similar to pecan and not as strong as cherry or apple.
When using almond wood for smoking, the chips impart a nutty, sweetish, and delicate smoke flavor to whatever food item you’re cooking.
Is Almond Wood Good as a Firewood?
Almond wood is a dense hardwood with a high burning temperature, slow-burning rate, and minor ash production.
Because of these attributes, almond wood is considered premium firewood. Burning almond wood is also excellent for the low amount of smoke it produces.
How Long Should Almond Wood Dry Before Burning?
Almond wood has a low sap content, which signals a lower moisture content within the wood.
The wood dries faster than other woods and needs about a year to dry. Compared to oak, which needs twice as long to dry, almond wood becomes available to burn quicker.
Is Almond Wood a Better Firewood Than Oak?
Almond wood is a hardwood, like oak, but has some distinct advantages. It holds more energy than oak and takes less time to dry before burning.
Unfortunately, almond wood is less available than oak, making supply harder to come across. The lower supply also drives the cost of almond wood higher than the cost of oak.
While it’s premium firewood, it’s less practical than oak.
Is It Ok To Use Almond Wood in a Wood Stove for Cooking?
Almond wood is excellent for wood stove cooking.
The high burn temperature and low smoke production make a perfect combination for indoor cooking. Plus, almond wood doesn’t leave behind a lot of ash, making clean-up more manageable.
Almond Wood For Firewood
Almond wood is an underappreciated fruitwood known for its similarities to oak and walnut firewood.
Its attributes are consistent with other hardwoods and include a high energy content, a clean burn pattern, and prolonged burn time.
Unfortunately, high land and water demands reduce the availability of almond trees, and growers are struggling to keep up with demands. It’s premium yet less practical than oak, leaving almond wood in the shadows.
Hickory firewood is another good alternative.