Apricot Kernel Information
These are fresh, high quality, naturally-dried, California-grown apricot kernels which have not been steamed or cooked and, thus, retain their full compliment of natural nutrients. Because of their unusual flavor, many of our customers consider them to be a spice. As with most spices, however, the flavor may not be pleasing when consumed alone or in large quantities. One would not expect to eat a handful of pepper corns, for example, without experiencing an adverse reaction. Likewise, one should not expect to enjoy eating apricot kernels straight out of the bag - although we are informed by many customers that they do not mind the taste that way and even have come to like it.
For most, however, this is not the case, and we recommend that the kernels be ground in a blender, placed into a grated-cheese shaker, and then sprinkled lightly over main-course foods. When used in this fashion, they take on an almond-like flavor that, to most people, is quite pleasing. They are especially tasty on hot vegetable dishes, fruit, baked potatoes, and soup, and also when mixed into cold cereal or granola. They really add to the flavor of almost everything. Many customers also like to chew the kernels, whole or chopped, along with something sweet, such as a trail mix of carob chips, unsulfured raisins, peanuts, and coconut flakes. A delicious candy roll can be made from this mix by adding a little honey and coating with melted carob. Some of our customers tell us they purchase empty gelatin capsules at their health-food store or drug store and then fill them with ground-up kernels. This is a convenient way to carry the kernels as seasoning for use away from home.
Apricot Kernel Caution
It is important to remember that, like with most spices, enough is good, but more is not necessarily better. There is a natural limit to the proper number of kernels that can be safely consumed at one sitting or within a day's time. Generally that limit is the number that one would eat if he or she were also eating the whole apricot. That, of course, depends on a person's size. A large man might eat eight or nine apricots at a time before becoming full; a small woman might eat five or six; a child probably would eat but two or three; and this could be repeated three or four times a day so long as the stomach was given several hours between times to digest the last meal. A further complication is that there is a great variation between the strength of Apricot Kernels depending on their size, the tree from which they come, and the part of the world in which they are grown. We believe it is a good idea, therefore, to follow this rule:
Take no more kernels than half the number you likely would eat if you also were consuming the entire fruit.
Cutting the number in half, as suggested above, will provide an extra safety margin. Nevertheless, pay attention to your body's signals. Three of the signs of toxicity from too many kernels are dizziness, blurred vision, and nausea. If any of these occur, then remember how many kernels you ate at one time and simply make sure you don't repeat that experience. If the symptoms persist or if they are severe, see a physician immediately, because cyanide poisoning is a serious matter. But, really, none of this is likely to happen if you practice moderation and common sense. People who swallow a whole can of pepper or an entire bottle of aspirin should expect to become ill. All we are saying is that the same is true of Apricot Kernels.
When grinding kernels in a blender, process only a half-cup at a time to avoid having them compact and become butter-like. The usual shelf life of Apricot Kernels at room temperature is four months but, if kept under refrigeration, it is about a year. We recommend storing them in the refrigerator or freezer to keep them fresh and to prevent infestation. These kernels have been shelled by machine, and every effort has been made to make sure that the shards have been removed. No process is 100% perfect, however, so please be on the lookout for occasional small pieces of hard shell.
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