Mahleb is a dried kernel of the St. Lucie Cherry tree, or Prunus mahaleb, that contains some important acids like the oleic and linoleic acids. These are part of the Omega-3 family of fatty acids, which are necessary for heart and brain health as well as the reduction of inflammation of any part of the body.
This spice finds it popularity in Greek breads and Easter cookies. It is not typically used in the United States except for by Greek-Americans and people who have a special interest in the Mediterranean way of eating.
30% oil can be extracted from the seeds. This oil is primarily comprised of the previously mentioned oleic and linoleic acids.
Mahleb has a name in a menagerie of languages. In Arabic it is ‘halub;’ in Mandarin it is ‘ma ha li ying tao;’ in Japanese it is ‘Maharibu;’ in Portuguese it is ‘abrunheiro-bravo;’ in Russian it is ‘vishnya makhalebka;’ while in French, German, Hindi, and Spanish it is called ‘mahaleb.’ It may also be marketed as St. Lucie’s Cherry or St. Lucie’s cherry kernels. Sometimes it is spelled “mahlab.”