What Are Apricot Kernels?

Buying, Cooking, and Recipes

apricot kernels

 

Aleksandr Kuzmin / Getty Images

Hidden inside the small, golden orange apricot is a kernel that when harvested can serve as its own healthy snack or star in jams, granola, and more.

What Are Apricot Kernels?

Apricot kernels are found inside the hard pit at the center of the apricot. You can safely eat apricot seeds raw, but they can also be cooked into a snack or added to other dishes.

How To Cook With Apricot Kernels

While you can eat raw apricot kernels, toasting them adds a nice crunchy, rich flavor. Set your oven to 350 F, place the raw apricot kernels on a silicone mat on a sheet pan, and cook for 5 to 10 minutes. From there, you can also eat the kernels plain as a snack or use them in recipes.

If you’re making a fruit jam you can also add one or two raw kernels while cooking the jam for added flavor.

Fast Facts

  • Roasted they have a neutral almond-like taste.
  • The edible seed is found inside the pit of an apricot.
  • There are two varieties: sweet and bitter.
  • Commonly as is, they are also a nice addition to trail mix.
  • Store for up to 2 years in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

What Do They Taste Like?

Much like almonds, apricot kernels have a neutral, taste. They are bland, a little bitter, sometimes with a touch of sweetness. 

Apricot Kernels vs. Bitter Almonds

Apricot kernels are sometimes substituted for bitter almonds, however, the apricot kernels have a slightly grassy taste compared to bitter almonds.

Varieties

Apricot kernels come in two varieties: sweet and bitter. Often, one sweet and one bitter kernel will be found in each apricot pit. When purchasing apricot kernels, though, you’ll find them sold as either sweet or bitter. While the sweet kernels are naturally sweeter than the bitter kernels, the taste difference between the two isn’t significant, especially when adding them to recipes. 

Apricot Kernel Recipes

Eat apricot kernels plain as a snack, add them to your favorite trail mix or granola recipe or add one or two to a jam recipe.

Where To Buy Apricot Kernels?

Look for apricot kernels near the nuts, trail mix, seeds aisle of your grocery store or in the natural foods aisle. If they’re not available in your market, they’re readily available online from places such as Amazon, and more.  

It’s also possible to harvest and cook with the apricot kernels from apricots. It takes a bit of work but if you save the pits from apricots, use a hammer to hit and break open the pit to get the kernel.

Storage

Apricot kernels will keep for up to two years in an airtight container if stored in a cool, dry place such as a refrigerator or pantry.

Nutrition and Benefits

Consuming apricot seeds are controversial. Apricot ciders contain oils, proteins, including essential amino acids, carbohydrates, and fiber. 

Some people consider apricot kernels a superfood. There are claims that a compound called amygdalin found in the seeds can help fight cancer, but so far no scientific studies support eating apricot kernels to combat cancer. As amygdalin is converted into cyanide some health agencies warn about consuming large amounts of apricot seeds