Mahleb is the aromatic kernel of black cherry pits/stones. The scientific name of the tree is Prunus mahaleb. It is a small beige-colored oval seed, mainly used ground to flavor breads and pastries. The seeds are soft and have a nutty chewy texture. They taste a little bitter and sour when tried by themselves. In medieval times, they were an important component in hand-washing compounds, recipes for which are given in al-Warraq’s tenth-century Baghdadi cookbook.
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