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

Returned US Peace Corps Volunteer (Armenia 17-19). Permanent address in Washington DC. Deep roots in Northern Ireland and persistent Belfast accent. Blogger, cook, painter, mother, grandma, Scrabble-player and enthusiastic world traveller.
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