There are two types of almonds: sweet and bitter.
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Sweet almonds are frequently used in cooking or can be eaten as a snack. Bitter almonds are frequently used for food flavorings or in oils. Bitter almond trees are found in the Middle East and Asia.
The bitter almond has distinct differences to the sweet almond, besides taste. The bitter almond contains traces of prussic or hydrocyanic acid in its raw state, which can be lethal to animals and humans.
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The toxicity of the poison is destroyed by heat and processing. The sale of raw bitter almonds is prohibited in the United States. Seven to 10 unprocessed bitter almonds can be lethal to a human, according to "Encyclopedia Brittanica.
Bitter almonds are boiled or baked, which drains out most of the hydrocyanic acid. Usually the oil is extracted from the bitter almond and used to make almond butter, flavored liqueurs or almond extracts.
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The bitter almond has a stronger almond scent, which is why it is often used to make almond soaps, lotions or fragrances. Bitter and non-bitter almonds are similar in appearance. They both have brown skin and off-white colored insides. As with all of the foods on this list, proper cooking is the key to making bitter almonds safe to ingest.
What Are Bitter or Lethal Almonds?
Blanching or roasting destroys the hydrogen cyanide in bitter almonds, but there doesn't seem to be any solid research on what temperatures you need to reach or for how long [source: PICSE ]. If you're planning to cook with bitter almonds, your best bet is to follow a tried-and-true recipe.
Prev NEXT. Bitter almonds, which differ from the sweet almonds more common in grocery stores, contain hydrogen cyanide. Related " ".
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