bitter apricot kernels
Apricot kernels are the seeds of the apricot, that means the kernels contained in the stone fruit. As with almonds, there are sweet and bitter apricot kernels. Wild apricot trees have sour fruits and bitter apricot seeds - they are usually heart-shaped and have a rippled surface. Sweet-tasting apricots come from grafted trees that also contain sweet apricot kernels that are bulbous and more almond shaped.
The main growing area for bitter apricot kernels is China in the provinces of Hebei and Shanxi. Other supplier countries are Turkey, Syria, Iran, Uzbekistan, Greece and South Africa. The largest amount of sweet apricot kernels comes from Turkey from the Malatya area. Other countries of origin are Tajikstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and China.
Bitter apricot kernels contain a relatively high proportion of the cyanogenic glycoside amygdalin, which constitutes its typical taste. Excessive consumption can lead to symptoms of intoxication. By watering the product - the so-called debittering - the concentration of hydrogen cyanide is reduced to a consumable level.
In the confectionery industry, apricot kernels serve primarily as a raw material for the production of persipan, a marzipan-like raw material. The most well-known sweets in which persipan is used are persipan dominoes as well as in Amarettini and similar pastries.
Apricot kernels contain about 35% vitamin and mineral rich apricot kernel oil, which is mainly used in the cosmetics industry. Apricot kernels are also said to have health-promoting effects, such as a healing effect in alternative cancer prophylaxis, which, however, has not yet been scientifically proven.