Weddings, graduations, birthdays, and beyond – at the heart of these celebrations, there is always food. Jordan almonds are a key part of these festivities in some cultures. Keep reading to learn more about these fun treats and if Jordan almonds are vegan.
What Are Jordan Almonds?
Think of Jordan almonds as a pastel-colored M&M, except a little different. These bite-sized candies have three components: almonds, a chocolate layer, and a sugar-coated shell. They look like miniature Easter eggs, with the sugar-coated shells varying in white or pastel colors.
Traditionally, there has been many variations of Jordan almonds. Instead of almonds, other nuts or dried fruits are used. Now, the term “Jordan almond”, or dragée, describes any color-coated almond candy.
They have a smooth texture and a solid crunch when you bite into them. The combination of almond and sugar gives this treat a bittersweet flavor. Because of their bright colors, they resemble confetti and are used to celebrate many of life’s greatest moments in some cultures.
What Are Jordan Almonds Used For?
In Middle Eastern countries, Jordan almonds are gifted as wedding favors. A newlywed couple would receive Jordan almonds to represent the bittersweet parts of marriage, like the flavor of the candy. The treats come packaged in groups of five, representing happiness, health, longevity, wealth, and fertility.
Outside of weddings, Jordan almonds make a sweet treat. What’s not to like about chocolate-covered almonds?
Jordan Almonds Ingredients
With any food item you find on the shelf, there is usually a slight variation between the ingredients lists. A few of the most commonly found ingredients include:
- Dark chocolate
- Cane sugar
- Artificial Colors and Flavors
- Corn syrup
- Tapioca dextrin
- Carnauba or Beeswax
- Confectioner’s glaze
- Natural flavor
Are Jordan Almonds Vegan?
If you’re familiar with non-vegan ingredients, you can see that there are quite a few vegan offenders on the list. Some vegans make exceptions for certain ingredients that other vegans won’t include in their diets. Make it a habit to read the ingredients list on your favorite Jordan almonds because manufacturers can change the ingredients list at any time.
The kind of chocolate in Jordan almonds varies between milk and dark chocolate. Some of the dark chocolate in Jordan almonds contains cow’s milk. Be sure to glance through the ingredients list to see if there’s milk inside.
Knowing how a brand sources their chocolate is also important to many vegans. The chocolate industry is notorious for child labor, human trafficking, and slavery. Keep an eye out for brands of Jordan almonds that ethically source their chocolate.
Refined Cane Sugar
Made using bone char, refined cane sugar is not vegan friendly. Vegan-friendly sugars include unrefined, raw, or organic cane sugars. Depending on your personal definition of vegan, you may allow non-organic sugar in your diet.
Jordan almonds use sugar in both the chocolate and the color coating. Check the type of sugar used in the ingredients list.
You’re likely more familiar with confectioner’s glaze than its non-vegan ingredient: shellac. Made from the secretions of lac bugs, this ingredient clearly isn’t vegan. Frequently used in the beauty industry, shellac is also an ingredient in food and as a coating on some fruits to extend shelf life.
Natural and Artificial Flavors
Natural flavors are anything that has a “natural origin” and is approved for use in our food system. These ingredients range from fruits, herbs, meat, and everything in between. On the other hand, artificial flavors do not have natural origins, even if they have the exact same chemical makeup as their natural counterparts.
These labels make it impossible to tell based on the ingredients list if a product is truly vegan or not. But why do food companies use labels like natural and artificial flavors? It can make their ingredients lists shorter or hide a recipe from competitors.
These ingredients in the food industry are controversial amongst vegans. Some of the artificial colors used may be free from animal ingredients, but it doesn’t excuse the ethical component to veganism. In the food industry, some dyes are tested on animals.
Carmine comes from cochineal beetles and found in some food dyes. Not all brands will use non-vegan dyes in Jordan almonds but keep an eye out for this coloring agent in other food products.
Vegan Jordan Almonds
While traditional Jordan almonds are not vegan, there are a few brands that make a similar vegan-friendly product.
While they aren’t available in the fun, bright colors, Good Sam has Dark Chocolate Candy Coated Almonds that are Certified Vegan. They source their organic almonds and dark chocolate through direct trade while promoting consumers to “be an ally for small farms” on every package. These goodies are available on their website and Thrive market.
A Certified Vegan Logo on a packaged good means that the item has been tested by a third party, Vegan Action. This means no animal products or by-products are included in the product. Additionally, these products won’t include ingredients that use animal testing.
If you’re in need of white Jordan almonds, you’re in luck. Oh, Nuts! has a mostly vegan-friendly Super Fine White Jordan Almonds. They do contain non-organic sugar in the ingredients list but are otherwise vegan. Check the dyes on their other colors of Super Fine Jordan Almonds, as they may not meet your vegan needs.
Make Your Own
It may be hard to find Jordan almonds that are complete vegan friendly. If this is the case, it may be in your best interest to make your own. Find a recipe and substitute the non-vegan ingredients with a plant-based alternative.
Unrefined, raw, coconut, beet, or organic cane sugars are a vegan-friendly swap for refined cane sugar. Ethically sourced chocolate, or at least one free from milk products, will be another ingredient to consider.
Learn more about Are Malt-O-Meal Cereals Vegan?
Jordan almonds are gifts in some cultures or as a treat outside of these celebrations. As delicious as they are, Jordan almonds are usually made with several non-vegan ingredients. It may be hard to come across, but there are a couple vegan Jordan almond brands out there.