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sweet pit stone fruits

 
tel jetson
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Location: woodland, washington
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as per paul's request, let's talk about sweet pit stone fruit.

the only one I'm familiar with is the one I'm growing: Montgamet apricot.  edible fruit and an edible seed inside the pit that's similar to an almond.  mine hasn't fruited yet, so I can't speak to the quality of the fruit or nut, but it should be a great source of good food.

I've heard that both crops are tasty, but they aren't going to knock your socks off like fruit or nuts from a single-purpose tree might.

anybody have any experience with this or any other sweet pit fruit?

safety notice: before you go cracking open your peach and plum pits to see if the seed is tasty, you should know that Prunus varieties that haven't been developed for edible seeds may contain a significant amount of cyanide.  probably not enough cyanide to hurt you, but don't do anything stupid.
 
                                    
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I have one tree, sold as a Sweet Pit apricot, although not a named variety, I believe it was probably seedling grown, not grafted.

The fruit is fine, those few years (I'd say one out of three) that apricots bear here - frost gets the blooms most seasons.

The flavor of the kernel is fine, similar to an almond after it's properly cured, dried, and/or roasted.  However, the shells of the pit are so thick and hard to crack that they really aren't worth the effort.  They are one of the toughest nuts to crack I've encountered.  The only way is with a hammer, since they are too small for my mechanical nut cracker, and when they do finally open, the force required tends to be enough to smash the kernel into a paste of small pieces and shell particles.
 
tel jetson
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Denninmi wrote:
The flavor of the kernel is fine, similar to an almond after it's properly cured, dried, and/or roasted.  However, the shells of the pit are so thick and hard to crack that they really aren't worth the effort.  They are one of the toughest nuts to crack I've encountered.  The only way is with a hammer, since they are too small for my mechanical nut cracker, and when they do finally open, the force required tends to be enough to smash the kernel into a paste of small pieces and shell particles.


I have a Reliable almond tree that's been producing well for the last few years.  I think it's actually an almond/peach cross.  anyhow, same problem: the shell is really difficult to crack.  we have a couple of nutcrackers that can handle them, but shells fly everywhere.  fortunately, the almonds are ridiculously tasty so the trouble pays off.  really intense and sweet almond flavor in a smaller nut.  it's a beautiful tree in bloom, too.  I'll definitely be propagating that one and looking for a better nutcracker.
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Location: Oakland, CA
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I bought a small bag of apricot nuts from Trader Joe's a few months ago, to make sure it would be worth growing them.

They are tasty: much more intense flavor than almonds, maybe a little bitter. And they're smaller.

As I learn more, it seems like culinary types prefer them over almonds for some types of pastries etc.

I wonder what sort of apparatus commercial producers use to get them open?
 
Brenda Groth
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have a baby almond tree, have thought about a sweet pit apricot, but haven't gone there..will be watching this thread
 
                                    
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I have had the same experience with my Hall's Hardy Almond tree (which is a peach-almond hybrid, actually).  The nuts are actually very tasty (they are high in prussic acid and MUST be boiled before roasting), but they are just so hard to shell that I haven't bothered picking them up for years.  I've noted that even the squirrels must think so, because they never bother with them until late into the winter, when the other food sources are running low.  Then, they will go after them and clean them all up.
 
tel jetson
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Denninmi wrote:
I have had the same experience with my Hall's Hardy Almond tree (which is a peach-almond hybrid, actually).  The nuts are actually very tasty (they are high in prussic acid and MUST be boiled before roasting), but they are just so hard to shell that I haven't bothered picking them up for years.  I've noted that even the squirrels must think so, because they never bother with them until late into the winter, when the other food sources are running low.  Then, they will go after them and clean them all up.


we've never roasted our Reliable almonds, or boiled them.  we just eat them raw, and they're great.
 
Jennifer Smith
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Location: Zone 5
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I too will be watching this thread.  I would like to hear more of Tel's tree... maybe get one like it ... but then again have to find something hardy to my zone (5)

I have a brother in CA who could graft a twig into a teee for me....  He and my father are putting together things for me now for when I pick up my truck.  They will fill it with all kinds of stuff (including tools) for me to bring home.

I just have to keep reminding my bro of how cold it gets here...he forgets. 
 
Pat Maas
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Location: McIntosh, NM
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My Halls Hardy Almonds produced for the first time last year and the shells are very thick, haven't tried to do anything other than stratify them- anything that makes here gets planted again!
 
Have a Nikita's Pride going and it seems to be doing well. Will try the Reliable almond  and a few others this year.
Like almonds too much not to try. With California radiating their almond crops, figured I need to grow my own.

Thank you for the tips on the almonds Denninmi.
 
                          
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I just put two sweet-pit apricot trees from Stark Brothers into containers today and was wondering whether, down the line, I could grow more from their seeds or I will have to graft onto the child rootstock to insure sweet pits.

 
Jonathan Teller-Elsberg
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Location: Norwich, Vermont
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I don't have experience with sweet-pit stone fruits, but w/r/t the question of how to crack the shells, I recommend using a screw-type nutcracker, such as at https://www.etsy.com/search/vintage?q=screw+type+nutcracker or http://www.easycrackin.com/index.htm. This slowly increases the force on the shell so that when it finally cracks, you don't have any inertia going to keep smashing through the kernel.
 
William Bronson
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Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
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I know nothing of growing said trees, but I will add that apricot kernel oil is a great salve for skin and hair, and is known to not spoil at all.
Used to be able to get it at reasonable prices , now not so much.
Pressing for oil could bypass the hard shell issues, yet still obtain a yield.
 
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