Are my fig cravings over?


Agreed, with the rich experiences from this forum, I don’t have to try 100 varieties to determine the best half dozen, I go for the best right away…


We had SWD two years in a row, yet not this year. We still had lots of fruit that they did not attack those two years. It seems like to me the more the weather makes the figs crack and split the more SWD go after the figs, seems to be true of any pest that attacks figs actually.

I have never heard of this before, there was no bitterness in the one almond that someone in my family managed to get from the tree, I am not sure how the almond was gotten, I am surprised by this because some almond varieties have apricot in their DNA, and the nuts on them are not bitter.


I was too, but it makes sense. Well their is that one apricot people consume the seeds.
I know peaches don’t have as much cyanide as bitter almonds,so I’m not sure how dangerous it is? Most guides mention peaches should not be grown nearby to prevent bitter almonds. I only read one guide that mentioned the cyanide. I do know the bitter taste is associated with cyanide.


Here is a little more information about Almonds.This came from Brady

The Difference Between a Bitter and Sweet Almond

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. 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. 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. Bitter almonds are usually smaller and more pointed than sweet almonds. They also have an astringent and bitter flavor.


Products containing bitter almonds are usually perishable because of the high unsaturated fat content. Store your almond products in a cool, dry place, away from heat. In addition, avoiding prolonged exposure to direct sunlight. If you want to extend your almonds’ shelf life, keep them in vacuum-sealed containers or freeze them in airtight bags.


Good info Brady. With crosses with peaches I don’t think you have to worry about consuming a lot of toxin, It’s more about ruining your almonds as far as taste. Cyanide must be fairly low as some cold hardy almonds are actually peach-almond crosses. I looked for more info, and only saw one out of about 20 sites that mentioned crosses could be harmful. When we eat seeds, it does have the genetics of both parents. Corn is another example, beans too.
Peaches do not have as much cyanide as bitter almonds, but enough the seed is not used in any foods. Cherries have as much as peaches Do don’t swallow those pits! :slight_smile:


Smith is a terrific fig, it was the best I had last year. Great flavor and early to ripen which is important for me. Not the prettiest, though…


You should check your sources for their competence before spreading this sort of information. Do you have any scientific/academic source claiming this? From the information I have, this is untrue. For example, read this document from Utah State University. It says:

Almonds are not self-fruitful. Pollen must come from a different almond cultivar. Peaches may be a suitable pollen source for almonds. However, almonds tend to flower earlier than peaches, but if almond and peach flowering coincide, peach can provide pollen to almonds.

If pollination by peach could produce bitter kernels in almond, I’m sure it would be mentioned.


I can find some when i have time. their is people on both sides, Some say it doesn’t matter, like what you quoted. Others advise against it. I would never just make stuff up. It is well known, or at least I thought it was that crossing with peaches will make your almonds bitter.
Peach pits contain about 204 milligrams of hydrogen cyanide. Do you want that in your almond seed? Just enough to make them bitter. I don’t have to prove that half the genetics of the peach will be in almond seed pollinated by peaches right?
So looking at some info bitter almonds has the most cyanide. But illegal to sell raw. Next is apricot followed by peaches. I myself would not grow both almonds or peaches or even worse apricots.for obvious reasons. Their is a chart about how much cyanide peaches have. I will try to find references about cross pollination when I have the time. I seen many of them last time I was researching this subject. Though the info presented in this article is enough for me.


The paper that you linked has zero info about the effect of pollination by peach on bitterness/sweetness of sweet almond, and thus is completely irrelevant to this discussion.

If it’s well known, then give us a link to a serious academic source that claims it. Otherwise it’s just an old wives’ tale.

The fact that the seed will carry both peach and almond genes does not mean that the seed will have a mixed phenotype; if the fruit is produced by a sweet almond tree the phenotype of its seed will be 100% sweet almond, it will not contain half of hydrogen cyanide that the seed of the pollinator (peach) contains. The same happens, for example, in apricots — some varieties have sweet kernels and some varieties have bitter kernel; the kernel of the fruit produced by a sweet-kernel variety will always be sweet regardless of the pollinator.


Well I guess we have to agree to disagree. I could not find any reference, but I’m short on time. I only found one reference from a blog, so it’s not academic. I will look in the coming days.

We must be having different discussions because it is proof peaches produce cyanide, almost as much as apricots, which i would not plant near your almonds either.

Could you show some academic evidence that this gene in peaches is not expressed when crossed with almonds? You show nothing to back your claim. otherwise it’s just another garden myth.

You obviously don’t like me, you could have approached this discussion in a friendly way instead of accusing me of making things up or spreading myths. Like asking nicely for links, not going on the attack from the get go. That behavior is not warranted, necessary or needed.

You made an excellent point that it might not be true, but to come at me like you did was really poor. We all make mistakes, and why we are here is to learn. I never claimed to be an expert.
The link in this post shows me I’m not the only one who thinks it’s bad idea to plant them together. I will try and find other reference in the next few days. I may fail as the search engines these days suck!

I asked the MSU extenstion service ask an expert. I asked him
Will peach pollen cause almonds to be bitter?

As this is the question. I would not be concerned about the amount of cyanide, just that it may ruin almond flavor. Let’s see what he says…


OK, he didn’t really answer the question directly but the last sentence says it all.
Here is the answer
Almonds require cross pollination as they are self infertile. Almond will hybridize with peach and several other members of the Prunus genus and peaches have been used in breeding to bring self compatibility genes into almonds.

I see that bitterness in almonds is caused by a single recessive gene and many almond cultivars are heterogeneous for the trait. That means the pollen and the ovule would carry either the dominant gene or the recessive gene and if both the pollen and ovule had the recessive gene the kernel would be bitter. So about one quarter of the kernels would be bitter due to have two copies of the recessive gene and 75% would be sweet having one or 2 copies of the dominant sweet gene.
I doubt the bitter kernels are due to cross pollinating with peach unless most of the kernels are bitter

I think that backs my statement, as MSU is a renowned agricultural institution. Has developed multiple cultivars of fruit and veggies, including Red Haven Peach and about 7 blueberry cultivars. They are the dominant cultivars grown where northerns are grown commercially. It doesn’t mean they are right, but I think it proves I had good reason to state what i did. I also presented academic evidence that peach kernels have high levels of cyanide. Do you want those genes in almonds you’re going to feed your kids with? I myself would not.


Genetics and academic papers aside, I dont think anyone is going to be too eager to eat a handful of cyanide containing bitter almonds / peach kernels. I mean, nobody is too worried about getting poisoned by cucubrit in bitter cucumbers, right?


you say that, but I used to buy bags of “alpricot” seeds and would munch on them heavily. I liked them so much that I would go though a 3-4 ounce bag a couple times a week.

I’d still be eating them, except the supply dried up about a decade ago when the big scare occurred regarding such semi-bitter apricot seeds…



A few of you make positive mention of Smith fig…, do you think it can fruit inground in z6b-7a after dieback like CH and RDB etc?


I am frequently shocked by how prematurely people pick their figs. They have no clue what incredible candy a fig can ripen to when you pick it at full ripeness. People pick them at the watery vegetable stage, perhaps because the junk at markets have trained them to judge ripeness incorrectly. This picture illustrates what a fig should look like. Pure jam!


From what I’ve read Smith is a mid season fig that is only slightly cold hardy. But it might do okay in ground in zone 7a with some protection as it does appear to produce fruit after die-back. I am in the process of rooting some Smith fig cuttings and will grow them out in a 10/15 gal container for their first year before trialing them in the ground.


Thank you Joe. I was confused by this thread. It hadn’t occurred to me that the OP could be picking them unripe like at the stores.

I prefer foregoing fruit to eating unripe figs.

But in their window, they are exceptional.


Which variety is this fig? Looks amazing…


Col de Dame Blanc


i agree, there will always be folks who just won’t(and will never again) touch figs after a few tries, or even several tries. But that is ok, since taste is subjective. But it wouldn’t be ok for any of them to be so negative about figs towards folks who actually have few or zero problems growing figs, and who actually enjoy them.

figs are at least as nutritious or more nutritious than conventionals, typically don’t need much water and hardly need pesticides, if at all. All people(including those who hate figs) and the environment will benefit immensely, if more people grew figs instead of water-guzzling and pesticide-needy conventionals.