Sweet Apricot Kernels

Move over California, with your water-hungry almonds. 4.5 litres of water to grow one almond? Ridiculous! We have apricots with sweet kernels here in the north, that can grow in the shrub steppe off of a bit of rain and a snowdrift. Are they currently food safe? No. There are issues with poisons in bitter pits and the potential of toxic amygdalin in sweet ones.

These ones are plump and sweet. Sure, most apricot kernels are bitter (as my friends point out below), but I take heart, because there  is an apricot breeder in the valley working on this right now. As you can see above, he has shared his initial success. The world can be remade one seed at a time. Next, some close testing and, I’m sure, a lot of fine tuning, but we’re on an inspiring path here.

1 reply »

  1. Hi Harold,

    I hope the breeder is testing them for amygdalin/cyanide content. Bitterness is certainly an indicator of toxicity, but I would be cautious eating them if I didn’t know. As I’m sure you’re well aware from your orchardist days, almost all fruit stock are cultivars of one or a few ancestral parents. This is also the case with almonds. Wild almonds are known to be toxic. A handful can potentially kill an adult. Same with apricot kernels since they’re both Prunus spp. The edible cultivars originate from a few parents that didn’t have this toxicity. I’m sure I’m telling you something that you already know, but I thought it important for your readers to be aware too.

    Having said all that, I hope the breeder is successful in developing edible apricot kernels! It could be a nice two for one; fruit and nut. I’d plant one in my yard.


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