Hall's Hardy Almond Tree #431579

Asked October 16, 2017, 4:22 PM EDT

We have two Hall's Hardy Almond Trees and for the first time have a large harvest this fall. We noticed that the nuts have a little bit of a bitter almond or almond extract-like flavor. I bought these assuming they were an edible variety and most of my research on-line seems to indicate they produce an edible nut. But we were concerned because we always thought that that flavor indicates a high level of cyanide in the nut. My question is whether this variety is truly safe eat or is there a level of consumption at which there is concern about toxicity?

Jackson County Oregon

Expert Response

Wow congratulations on your crop! We have some almonds (including Hall's) in a trial and we produced just one nut this season. The Hall's is not known for its kernel quality (but is highly regarded for its blooms). There is no doubt that the bitterness of Hall's indicates an elevated level of amygdalin. Bitter almond contains a lot of amygdalin as do peach and apricot pits. Amygdalin releases cyanide when eaten. Hall's is actually a peach almond hybrid.

I spent some time looking for the amygdalin content on Hall's but didn't come up with anything. There are many other Hall's owners out there asking the same question. No reports of poisoning were found so hopefully that is a good sign!

Amygdalin is destroyed by heat so if you are concerned about toxicity you could roast or boil your nuts. Some regard boiling as mandatory for this variety.

An Ask Extension Expert Replied October 17, 2017, 8:04 PM EDT

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