The kernels inside these roasted apricot pits (about a pint, $3.99) were accessible, but just barely. I needed more leverage than a half-pit could provide, as you might guess from the photo below; the fold-out file from my metal nail clippers did the trick.
Some say this is for the best. Apricot pits, like those of almonds, contain a precursor to hydrogen cyanide (also called prussic acid). Professional literature offers admonitions that one shouldn't eat too many shurdanak too quickly, and, indeed, when they're sold in unpitted form one can't. The Oxford Companion to Food offers additional reassurance, stating that the prussic acid is "destroyed" by the roasting process. The flavor of the kernels, should you make it so far, is similar to that of almonds, and sometimes strong to the point of bitterness.
Previously: Dried aluche (about $5 per pound) are a sort of sour plum, for flavoring stews and other long-cooked dishes. (Mind the pits.) The bin identified their origin as Samarkand; might they also be used in the manufacture of tkemali sauce? The counterman, whose first home was the Middle East and not Central Asia, couldn't say.
Among its other virtues, this tidy and well-stocked shop carries noklod chi and many other sweets from Tabrizi Bakery of Watertown, Massachusetts, delivered each week. Thursday, I think.
Queens Bazaar Food
94-02 63rd Dr. (at Booth St.), Rego Park, Queens