Almond trees occasionally carry bitter almonds, which are almost indistinguishable from the sweet almonds on the outside. This natural proportion is around two percent and is completely harmless to health. The exclusive cultivation of bitter almonds on special plantations is used to extract the bitter almond essential oil, ( Prunus amygdalus amara kernel oil). This is freed from hydrogen cyanide compounds (“bitter”).
The almond tree (Prunus dulcis) is a species of flowering plant in the Rosaceae family. Its seeds, the almonds, also called almond kernels, are used as food and cosmetics. The species name dulcis “sweet” refers to the sweet core – with the bitter almonds Var. Amara, from Latin amarus “bitter”.
Bitter almonds are mainly used for alcoholic beverages (Amaretto). They give it the specific taste note and also the bitter almond oil, as a baking ingredient is known. The content of hydrogen cyanide in bitter almonds is up to 3,000 milligrams per 100 kilos.
Extraction of bitter almond Essential oil:
The ground seeds are first freed from the fatty oil by pressing and then the bitter almond oil with water vapor is distilled from the pressed cake macerated with water.
The main component of the uncleanoiled oil is benzaldehyde with approx. 95 benzaldehyde, in addition it contains 2 to 4 hydrogen cyanide and almond acid nitril, benzoin and aldehyde resin. If you mix the distillate with wine spirit, bitter almond water is produced; Almond acid nitril dissolved in water and wine spirit- Essential water.
Hydrogen cyanide-free bitter almond oil is produced by shaking with lime milk and iron sulfate, which forms calcium iron(II) cyanide. This is followed by further steam distillation.
It is used as spice oil in the pastry shop and bakery, in liqueur production, also generally for food additives and perfume. Good also for seasoning (sparsam!!).
This hydrogen cyanide-free bitter almond oil consists of benzaldehyde to over 99 and contains other proportions only in traces; therefore pure benzaldehyde is also referred to as “artificial bitter almond oil” (Oleum Amygdalarum aethereum artificiale).