Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Chinese Almonds - The Incidental Forage

I finally got around to starting my seeds for the garden this year. It has been rotten cold here in the Cleveland area. It is the 5th of April and we are staring at highs in the 40's and 50's for the upcoming week (at least.) As I was going through my seeds I found a few questionable looking sweet peas. I planted them out next to the garage, where I discovered a pile of discarded pits. I wracked my brains where the pits came from. I t turns out they were discarded from our apricot adventures during the last challenge.
I took a few of the sprouted pits and put them in the empty pots I had lying around. There was still a sizable amount of sprouted pits left. They looked curiously like almonds. I did some brief research on the subject - the apricot shares the same genus with almonds in fact. The apricot and 'bitter' variety of almonds share a common problem with edibility - a chemical called amygdalin. When amygdalin is processed in the small intestine produces cyanide. From what I have read heat treating (either boiling or roasting) will dissipate the amygdalin and render the nuts edible. They are referred to as 'Chinese almonds.'

Do not take the following as an endorsement for eating apricot seeds, either raw or cooked. I am no scientist, doctor, or expert on this subject.

I gathered up a small pile of them and shelled them. As they started to sprout they were already cracked. They were very easy and quick to shell. In no time I had 3 ounces of raw meats.
I am taking no chances (well, aside from eating potentially deadly seeds.) Many of these seeds had sprouted and I don't know what wierd chemical plant things have happened on the inside. I boiled them for 15 minutes, rinsed them thoroughly, then roasted them for 30 minutes (20 minutes @ 325, then 10 minutes @ 275.)
The yield was 1-1/2oz of roasted nuts. I tried one - it tastes like a toasted nut, more like a peanut than almond with a bit of a bitter finish. I'll try a few tomorrow and a few more the day after that, to make sure there are no negative effects to eating them before I add them to our stores for the challenge.


  1. ate 7 nuts without negative effects - it seems my treatments will suffice.