Apricot trees were very popular, and the fruit was eaten raw in season and sun dried for winter. The pits were cracked to obtain the kernel that was crushed to obtain the oil for cooking and lamps. The hard shell was kept for a fire fuel. The kernel and oil could be eaten from the variety of apricots with a sweet kernel, but the bitter kernel variety had an oil containing poisonous prussic acid. Click the picture to see an enlargement.The apricot trees were allowed to grow very large in order to obtain the maximum yield. Picking the maximum amount of fruit was more important than the difficulty in picking. The children would scamper to the higher branches to pick or shake off the fruit. Planting new trees required several years of growth before any fruit was produced. The special garden silt or glacial milk did not contribute to the age or size of the trees as is commonly claimed. Our modern orchards are not managed that way because we have abundant space and picking is expensive. Our trees are cut when the size makes them difficult to harvest, not because they fail to live as long as those in Hunza.