A few days ago I saw Tartelettes post about cherry pits, I was intrigued. I checked out Egg beaters post about stone fruits and their pits. I read that almond extract is made from apricot pits. I think I knew this at one time but I had forgot. I was totally stoked about buying some apricots and making some jam but now was I going to include the kernels or not? Supposedly the heating process denatures the toxicity of the kernel. I read many pros and cons on the internet and some jam books I have about including the kernels. Some people include the kernel but then take it out right before they jar it. I decided I would go for the kernel in the jam. Luckily, I found some fresh, local apricots at the market.
If nothing else my house smelled so good while making this jam. It is delicious. I ate a kernel. I am still alive.
When I was 19 I decided I wanted to take some English riding lessons. I paid for them myself and took a class. They told us we could feed the horses apples but we would have to core them before we did so. What? Well, their explanation was that the pits have cyanide and it was cumalitive in the horses body. So while the pits may not kill them from one apple, after 100 apples it may just be the bit that did. I have no idea if this is true or if this is even true for humans. I wonder, does anyone know if it is stored in the fat cells of our body? As you can see I am still intrigued and will investigate this further.
*Certainly leave the kernels out if you do not want to live on the edge. And just in case you are wondering I won't let the kids eat the kernels. You know, just in case I am wrong.
Apricot Jam with the Kernel
Yield: a little over 5 half pints.
1 kg (roughly five or six cups) apricots, chopped into small pieces
1 kg sugar*
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1. Sterilize jars in boiling water. Let them dry.
2. Wash and clean the apricots, reserving the pits.
3. Crack the pits with a nut cracker, discard shell. Blanch the kernels and place in cold water. Remove the skins.
4. In a non reactive pot, combine apricots, sugar and lemon juice. Cook until it begins to boil. It will foam up pretty high. Keep the mixture at a simmer until the liquid reaches gel stage. Test for gel stage (use a small dish that you have placed in the freezer prior to starting this process).
5. Place two kernels in each jar before ladling in the jam.
6. Once you have filled the jars (leaving a 1/4 inch head space, clean rim of jar, place lids on and screw the bands on. Turn them upside down for ten minutes and then right side up. Making sure that the tops have depressed into the jar. Wait a while if one or two have not depressed you can turn the jars upside down and try again for ten minutes. This should do the trick.
*If you do not have a scale you can measure the apricots out and use equal sugar amount.