[nafex] [nafex ibiblio list] Apricot kernels

Melissa Kacalanos mijwiz at yahoo.com
Mon Jan 16 10:24:20 EST 2012

Now that I'm googling apricot kernels, I'm finding lots of vendors (including Americans) selling ordinary, bitter, poisonous apricot kernels as if they were a health food. That may have been the case with these Pakistani imports, with someone trying to make money selling what's otherwise a useless agricultural waste product. There's much less regulation and enforcement of this sort of thing than we think there is.

However, there are some cultivars of apricot that do lack the genes that would enable them to make cyanide. Kernels from these cultivars are safe and delicious. I see 'Harcot' listed as one of these sweet-pit varieties, so they should be safe to eat in quantity. I'm having trouble finding a more complete listing of sweet-pit apricot cultivars, though. I see mention online that these have sweet pits: 'Chinese,' 'Hunza,' 'Robada,' 'Montrose,' 'Canadian White Blenheim'... There must be a list online somewhere, but I'm not finding it.


-----Original Message----- 
From: David Consolvo
Sent: Monday, January 16, 2012 6:17 AM
To: nafex ibiblio mailing list
Subject: [nafex ibiblio list] Apricot kernels

I find that kernels of the apricot "Harcot" are delicious, very almond-like. 
I limit
myself to five at a time, though, since apricot kernels have cyanide.

Wikipedia says that despite being used/eaten in central Asia and around the

"In 1993, the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets tested 
cyanide content of two 220 gram (8oz) packages of apricot kernels that were
imported from Pakistan which were being sold in health-food stores as a 
The results showed that each package, if consumed entirely, contained at 
double the minimum lethal dosage of cyanide for an adult human. The apricot 
were recalled and removed from stores.[3] In spite of this, there were no 
deaths and only one serious toxicity from apricot kernels reported from 1979 
1998.[4] On average, an apricot kernel contains about 0.5 mg of cyanide."

~David Consolvo
Hungrytown, Virginia

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