Kernels of doom!
August 7, 2007 8:39 PM   Subscribe

Culinary uses for apricot kernels... is it worth the trouble of saving my pits?

So, I've been saving my apricot pits and now have quite a few I've been shelling them, and from some googling it seems they are quite healthy but also contain some cyanide... so, I'm wondering if I can use some of these for baking purposes, I've heard they're added to marzipan. A co-worker told me her mother used to grind one or two and add it to pastries and cookies.

If anyone has any recipes that use them, I'd give it a go.
posted by glip to Food & Drink (11 answers total)
Is it worth the trouble? No. If you've got such wonderful creativity, definitely put it to use. Good use.
posted by kch at 8:56 PM on August 7, 2007

This japanese restaurant near me serves an apricot kernel tofu. Google results confuse me so I'm not really sure if it's apricot and soybean kernel tofu or apricot kernel flavored jelly (leaning towards the latter)... But it tastes really good!
posted by spec80 at 9:02 PM on August 7, 2007

Run the husks in a coffee mill, medium grind, mix with brown sugar and olive oil, use on skin as exfoliating scrub.
posted by hortense at 9:05 PM on August 7, 2007

Under no circumstances should you consume apricot pits. They are poisonous.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 9:19 PM on August 7, 2007 [1 favorite]

I have seen a number of French recipes for apricot jam that include the stones and I've always thought it sounded delicious.

Here's one!

(Of course, I also would have the eaten the questionable pulled pork mentioned a few threads ago, so maybe I just have a flagrant culinary death wish.)
posted by mostlymartha at 10:32 PM on August 7, 2007

"FSA alerts consumers about possible risk from eating bitter apricot kernels:

The Agency's scientific committee, the Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COT), expressed concern that, when ingested, bitter apricot kernels can produce cyanide.

The COT therefore considered a safe intake is equivalent to one to two kernels a day."

Wikipedia: "Apricot kernels are strong-tasting and bitter, and are known in culinary contexts as bitter almonds or apricot almonds. They feature in recipes for apricot jam, marzipan and Italian amaretto cookies and liqueur."

See also.
posted by iviken at 11:02 PM on August 7, 2007

Trader Joe's carries "fig cake with apricot kernels" and it is delicious. They are mildly toxic, so don't overdo it.
posted by BrotherCaine at 11:47 PM on August 7, 2007

In the UK several major Ameretti biscuits are made entirely from apricot kernels rather than ground almonds. They may be poisonous, but (from personal experience) the risks of getting fat seem much greater...
posted by twine42 at 12:31 AM on August 8, 2007

COT Statement 2006/15, December 2006:

"As well as bitter apricot kernels, low levels of cyanide are also present in almonds, sweet apricot kernels and in the stones of other fruits such as cherries and consequently cyanide is present in some foods. (...) Case reports suggest severe toxicity arising from the consumption of approximately 30 bitter apricot kernels in adults, fewer in children. The cyanide concentration of the kernels is known to be variable and is not included in published reports, making precise comparisons difficult. (...) Taking the available evidence together, consumption of 1 kernel per day would result in a cyanide intake of 0.5-mg/day(equivalent to 8 μg/kg bw for a 60 kg adult) which is in the region of this nominal ARfD and the TDIs proposed by others and would be unlikely to be of concern. This level of intake represents a threshold above which, increasing intake becomes increasingly hazardous."

"Small amounts of cyanide in the form of the cyanogenic glycoside amygdalin are also present in sweet almonds and sweet apricot kernels and stones of other members of the genus prunus eg cherry. Bitter almonds and bitter apricot kernels contain very much higher levels. The flavour of sweet almonds and apricots kernels results from amygdalin hence the scientific name for almond is Prunus amygdalus.

We test every consignment of our sweet apricot kernels for presence of cyanide and find the presence to be consistently <4mg/kg (which is the limit of accuracy of the test). Hence you would have to eat at the very least 725 of our sweet apricot kernels in a day to approach a dose which the committee currently consider the to be the (TDI) tolerable daily intake."
posted by iviken at 1:09 AM on August 8, 2007

You are not trying to cure or prevent cancer are you? (1, 2, 3)

These pits are potentially dangerous as everyone has said.
posted by caddis at 4:26 AM on August 8, 2007

Response by poster: No, not trying to cure cancer, but thanks for the tips... I guess I will stick to amaretto extract.
posted by glip at 11:31 AM on August 8, 2007

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