Death by Apricots

I bought them in the Ararat supermarket. The packets of what I thought were almonds were displayed beside the boxed dates.

Bianca and I had new potatoes, asparagus and salad for dinner, eased down by butter, lemon juice and half a liter of homemade wine.

At dessert time I put out a bowl of apricots, the box of dates, and what I thought were the almonds. “Help yourself to the nuts” I said, for I am worried that Bianca is protein deficient.

“Not almonds” said Bianca who had bothered to read the label “Apricot kernels”.

We both ate a few along with the fruit, fresh and dried. We liked them.

Tonight I poured myself a glass of the leftover wine and took a handful of the kernels to enjoy as a snack. They have a crisp bite and a slightly damp chewiness. They taste mildly of amaretto. I took another handful.

By glass of wine number two I was on my third handful and feeling pretty mellow. I began to think about salads in which I could incorporate this new foodstuff. Or perhaps they belonged in a dessert? A crunchy topping? A healthful base?

I googled Apricot kernels and was surprised to learn that, while vitamin- packed, these seeds carry a safety warning. They contain Cyanide. 6-10 a day are ok. 60+ can kill you.

I tried to calculate the number I had consumed. Maybe an 8th of the bag, including those we ate last night? Maybe 15 in each handful? Phew. A total of 45 and let’s not forget I am bigger than the average nut-cruncher and seed-chewer…

But no need to be rash: i am flushing my system with the rest of the wine and have checked the bag (about the size of a large pack of peanuts, or enough to kill a family of five) for a health warning. There isn’t one. I expect it will be all right. There are worse ways to go if not…

About Liz Barron

US Peace Corps Volunteer in Armenia. Permanent address in Washington DC. Deep roots in Northern Ireland and persistent Belfast accent. Blogger,cook, mother, grandma, Scrabble-player and enthusiastic world traveler.
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