Bitter Almonds
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Wild Almonds are known as Bitter Almonds (Prunus dulcis var. amara) because the kernel contains bitter Prussic Acid which will produce poisonous cyanide when it comes in contact with water, even the water in saliva. Eating even a handful (un-leached) at one sitting can be deadly.

Visually, the Bitter Almond is slightly broader and shorter than the Sweet Almond. Bitter Almonds contain half of the fixed Almond Oil that occurs in Sweet Almonds. Bitter Almonds also contain the enzyme emulsin which, in the presence of water, acts on a soluble glucoside, amygdalin, yielding glucose, cyanide and the essential oil of bitter almonds, which is nearly pure benzaldehyde.

The cyanide must be removed before consumption for the Bitter Almonds to be safe.

Culinary Uses

Raw Bitter Almonds are made safe for cooking by leaching out the prussic acid. Bitter Almonds can be processed into slivers, chopped or used as whole pieces in Salads, Casseroles and Desserts.

Extracts from Bitter Almonds are used to make the Italian Liqueur Amaretto.

Nutritional Value USDA
Amount Per 100g
Calories 579
%Daily Value*
Total Fat 49g
Saturated Fat 3g
Polyunsaturated Fat 12g
Monounsaturated Fat 31g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 1mg
Potassium 733mg
Total Carbohydrate 21g
Dietary Fiber 12g
Sugars 4g
Protein 21g
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Bitter Almonds may yield from 4–9 mg of hydrogen cyanide per almond. Extract of bitter almond was once used medicinally, but even in small doses, effects are severe, and in larger doses can be deadly. The cyanide must be removed before consumption for the Bitter Almonds to be safe.

Gluten Free


Low Fat


Low Calorie