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Really dangerous to infuse apricot or loquat kernels?

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OK, I've read various things about loquat seeds being toxic in a similar way to apricot kernels... and I also see instructions around the web for making vodka infusions or jams using the kernels, for an almondy result.

How safe is it, relatively, to infuse sliced loquat and seeds in vodka for a week?

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  1. Apricot kernels are the key ingredient in Amaretto.

    1. The seeds of both fruits contain trace amounts of cyanide. This sounds bad, but you would have to consume an enormous amount to do yourself any harm.

      3 Replies
      1. re: pikawicca

        Not really an enormous amount. A handful would be dangerous to a child.There was a post on this s few months ago and I think I listed the full info. on the amounts that can dangerous / deadly.

        1. re: JMF

          Actually the cyanide in Apricot kernels is not free. It needs to bind with a specific enzyme in the body for this to happen... Healthy cells do not contain this enzyme, however cancerous ones do, which is why laetrile (the medicinal component) is used in other countries as a cancer therapy. Its illegal in the states cuz apparently it would cut into the Cancer Industry/Pharmaceutical company profits! Also, its a good idea not to just eat the pits, but to consume the whole fruit which provides protection as well.

        2. re: pikawicca

          Similarly, I believe Apple Seeds and Peach Seeds contain cyanide as well. Cyanide is a pretty simple organic molecule so I would bet that many seeds have them.

        3. I can't comment on infusing vodka with apricot kernels, but here is some general information I've gathered in my own search for answers:

          For a while, alternative health experts recommended that all cancer patients consume 15-20 apricot kernels a day. However, following one or two cases of cyanide poisoning resulting from overconsumption of kernels (I can't remember the numbers exactly, but it was more than 20 kernels!) health experts altered this to a recommendation of 2 kernels a day, maximum.

          However, kernels are still used in cooking, especially French (google 'noyau'). Some recipes recommend toasting them in a medium oven for 8 minutes to 'denature' the cyanide, but I have found this also kills their delicate flavour! So I cook with the kernels in small doses, and have had no problems.