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trinda storey
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i have bags full of pits from plums, peaches necterens and apricots. i usually just compost them but is there a better purpose? are they edible?
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Hi Trinda,
One thing you could do with those pits is germinate them, and select for a pest resistant, disease resistant variety of plum peach, nectarine... a la Mark Shephard. With the apricots, before you decide what to do with them, you might want to research laetrile aka vitamin B17, which is considered by many to be an effective cancer treatment.

Also, the kernel inside the pits can be ground and used in skin care products as an exfoliant. And you might be able to extract (non food probably) oil from the kernels. Possibly they would make good fuel, depending on whether you use fire to cook or heat.

Thekla
 
John Wolfram
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Since those trees are closely related to almonds, some of them may have edible pits. For example, this apricot is advertised as having an edible pit:
http://www.starkbros.com/products/fruit-trees/apricot-trees/stark-sweetheart-apricot

Doing a quick search, it appears that almonds are basically just peach/apricot/plum pits that had a mutation that caused them to produce much less amygdalin (the thing that makes bitter almonds bitter). Amygdalin digestion produces cyanide, so you don't want to be eating many of the bitter almonds or bitter apricot seeds.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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I have an apricot orchard, and have eaten a pit or two through the years. The ones I ate weren't bitter, but that's not speaking of every apricot pit. Cyanide is a common substance, with a low lethal dose, so I like to stay aware of where it might lurk.

http://nordicfoodlab.org/blog/2013/8/hydrogen-cyanide

has a chart of amounts of cyanide in foods we eat every day. A lot of them are seeds and pits.

might be worth a look!

I had several buckets of apricot pits one year, and planted them en masse, wanting a few vigorous seedlings. At the time I was planning to graft the seedlings with the ancient variety I have. Alas, I had wwoofers without brains, and when given an adjacent area to hoe, and despite boundary marker and explanation, they chopped out the seedlings.

Maybe if you decide to germinate yours, you won't get the same wwoofer blight!

Thekla

 
Bill Erickson
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Thekla McDaniels wrote:I have an apricot orchard, and have eaten a pit or two through the years. The ones I ate weren't bitter, but that's not speaking of every apricot pit. Cyanide is a common substance, with a low lethal dose, so I like to stay aware of where it might lurk.

http://nordicfoodlab.org/blog/2013/8/hydrogen-cyanide

has a chart of amounts of cyanide in foods we eat every day. A lot of them are seeds and pits.

might be worth a look!

I had several buckets of apricot pits one year, and planted them en masse, wanting a few vigorous seedlings. At the time I was planning to graft the seedlings with the ancient variety I have. Alas, I had wwoofers without brains, and when given an adjacent area to hoe, and despite boundary marker and explanation, they chopped out the seedlings.

Maybe if you decide to germinate yours, you won't get the same wwoofer blight!

Thekla



Thekla, that is a really good paper.

The prurient thing to the OP's question is that the possible cyanogens are broken down at 25.7C or about 78F so roasting the pits for a bit of time (probably 150F or so for an hour at a guess) would make them all safely consumable. I've avoided eating raw pits my whole life, but do love the roasted ones, almonds especially.
 
trinda storey
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thekla
reall informative artical thank you. i did eat a few raw they were very good, i shall not do that often. i think that the plum seeds would be really tasty roasted.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Trinda, I thought the article was worth sharing, and as Bill says, it's good to know how to drive the cyanide off.. And once you're done that, then they're not dangerous. What I learned was not to grind cherry pits when juicing...

Oh that's funny, Bill, did you mean to say pertinent? was that spell check that "helped" you just a little more than you needed? Spell check can be like that. I'm sure there's a good pun in there somewhere, what with "the pits' and "seedy" and "prurient". "He took a prurient interest in the seediness of the place. Who knew what kind of person might be found hanging out in such a pit, perhaps...?"

Thekla
 
Rose Pinder
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Google peach pit liqueur. It's delicious. I don't think there are any issues with the cyanoglycosides as the pits are used intact. Peach pits also make good medicine, you can make tincture or dry them for tea (there's a process, you can google it). Very good in a hot dry climate or for health conditions that that need cooling.
 
Bill Erickson
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Thekla McDaniels wrote:Trinda, I thought the article was worth sharing, and as Bill says, it's good to know how to drive the cyanide off.. And once you're done that, then they're not dangerous. What I learned was not to grind cherry pits when juicing...

Oh that's funny, Bill, did you mean to say pertinent? was that spell check that "helped" you just a little more than you needed? Spell check can be like that. I'm sure there's a good pun in there somewhere, what with "the pits' and "seedy" and "prurient". "He took a prurient interest in the seediness of the place. Who knew what kind of person might be found hanging out in such a pit, perhaps...?"

Thekla


Thekla, that came straight out of my brain the way it went to "paper", and since it is spelled correctly, I didn't even notice it. I'm sure I read the manual at some point, maybe there's a brain feature I need to enable? Hopefully the Lion's Mane I'm taking will update my internal spell check then connect to the thesaurus and dictionary - a body can dream, can't they?
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Hi Bill, It's just the adventure of maturation isn't it? I figure the best thing to do is have fun with it.

T
 
Bill Erickson
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Thekla McDaniels wrote:Hi Bill, It's just the adventure of maturation isn't it? I figure the best thing to do is have fun with it.

T


Absolutely!

Cassie put this thread in the dailyish - hopefully that gets some more inputs on eating pits and others' experience.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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About the pit liqueur.... I don't know that cyanide dissolves in alcohol, but I do think it is possible for a substance to migrate out of the kernel, through the hard shell and into a liquid, if given adequate time. Those pits seem impervious, but I would not count on it. After all, they let water to infuse IN to begin germination.

Just something to think about.

Tehkla
 
Rebecca Norman
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I'm familiar with this, as apricots are the main fruit that grows here, and grows in abundance. If the apricot kernels taste good and are not bitter, then they don't have the amygdalin or cyanide and they are edible like almonds; Ladakh has two varieties of apricots with sweet edible seeds and excellent fruit. This is common knowledge in this region, and I have many years of experience too. If the kernels are bitter, you can eat a few but probably shouldn't eat a big handful. People here grind the bitter ones and express oil. The amygdalin is not oil soluble, so the oil is actually edible, but here people don't eat it, they burn it in little lamps as Buddhist offerings. The oilcake is highly toxic of course, if ingested in large mouthfuls -- my inlaws had two cows die inside the house (a problem to get the bodies out!) because they'd gotten into the corridor where a sack of oilcake was, and each died with some of it in her throat and stomach. Both the oil and residue smell like amaretto, a very delicious almondy smell. However, since cyanide is not a cumulative poison, and because biomass and feed are in very short supply in this desert, people traditionally mix a small handful of dried oilcake into the daily cow slops, as a tonic they say is healthy in small doses. Come to think of it, in winter people here heat up the kitchen slops and water on the woods stove for their cows, so maybe the oilcake gets its amygdalin steamed off.

This is the interesting part: the amygdalin evaporates with heat. So you can take ground bitter apricot nuts, mix them with water, and boil off the bitter and toxic part. Do this outdoors or in a very well ventilated room, because if the room fills up with that steam you can start feeling a bit weird. It boils off faster the more you stir or scramble it up, and in fact people here sometimes get it boiling hot, then run it through the tea churn a minute or two to quickly reduce it. Once the bitterness seems gone, boil it a while more to be extra sure; but once it isn't bitter it's safe. It's a traditional dish here in the apricot-growing regions. People fry up some onions and garlic with it to make sauce for a sort of lumpy pasta; it's like peanut sauce, and very tasty. Me, I like to add some sugar and pinch of salt, for a lovely almond flavored pudding. Yum! But people here think I'm weird for doing that.

I've done this many times, and we have served it at parties for 60 people.

Since amygdalin and/or cyanide are not cumulative toxins, it's really no harm if you eat a few fruit seeds once in a while.
 
John Saltveit
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There is quite a bit of data on apricot and peach pits as a medicine to fight cancer. The Hunza people of Pakistan eat them regularly and no one in the history of their tribe has ever had cancer. There are microbiologists (I am not one) who have analyzed the molecule of the cyanide and how it is unlocked within the body. Their research tells them that the cyanide is only unlocked in the presence of cancer cells. That is how it kills them, but it doesn't harm the person. I only eat them one pit per day then none the next day. Same with apple seeds= nitrilosides. Many common foods have cyanide in them. When big pharma/medicine found out about the laetrile issue in the early 1970's, they had to run a fake pr study with the designed outcome to show that vitamin b17 doesn't really work, so they set up a study to do that. They knew chemotherapy works quickly but mostly just kills people. B17 works slowly (slow food = medicine), so they set their time parameters really short, like 3 months, so ensure the outcome that it had no positive effect. Their marketing / "research" was effective. People didn't understand what they were doing and bought their ploy hook line and sinker. No one could get rich off of natural plants because you can't patent them, so no one had the deep pockets to pay for an extremely expensive counter study, so they won, and we lost. Check out The Truth about Cancer or cancer tutor.
John S
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Peter Ingot
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Interesting, I've often wondered about damson stones, eaten a few, guessed from the taste that they probably contain cyanide and wondered if they could be used for pig feed or pressed for oil. We process vast quantities of this fruit. The stones seem to compost pretty well, if cooked and grow well if planted but there must be a better use for them

I've been warned about apricot pits being sold as almonds. From what Rebecca Norman is saying, the traditional way of preparing them in the Himalayas would remove cyanide and Laetrile/amygdalin.

I can't really agree with John Saltveit on laetrile. All the evidence I can find from peer reviewed journals says that it is ineffective and extremely dangerous. An 11 month old child died from eating only 5 laetrile tablets. It is not a vitamin. According to this paper:

"All prior forms of cancer quackery, however, pale in comparison with the laetrile crusade, unquestionably the slickest, most sophisticated, and certainly the most remunerative cancer quack promotion in medical history."

"It is possibly the most studied drug never to have been approved by the FDA, there have been 23 studies on it to date [1982]".

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.3322/canjclin.31.2.91/epdf I can't see any good evidence since then

It has no effects on cancer in animals, and despite an open letter to doctors and laetrile proponents with a circulation of 455,000 managed to turn up only 68 verifiable cases of laetrile treatment of which only 6 had shown any improvement. As with any illness, some people recover by themselves.

Against that we have some very dubious doctors ("border clinics" ?!!) and a conspiracy theory courtesy of the John Birch society. It would be perfectly possible to patent Laetrile or a synthetic variant and get extremely rich. Scientists would be falling over themselves to do it, IF it actually worked.

The Hunza people live on average 50-60 years, the norm for northern Pakistan, even when they are living traditional lives. Starvation and malnutrition have always been common, they call their territory "the land of just about enough". A lot of nonsense has been written about them. They didn't keep birth records when the claims for their longevity were being made. Reliable data on cancer rates in Pakistan is lacking (so that claim that the Hunzas have never suffered cancer really needs some sources). http://jjco.oxfordjournals.org/content/43/8/771.full

There is a good TED talk on long lived people around the world ("how to live to be 100"). Diets of long lived people were found to be extremely varied, none seemed to eat junk food and none seemed to overeat, beyond that little could be concluded about diet and longevity. Social factors such as strong close knit communities seemed to be a major factor, as well as gentle physical activity in old age (sitting alone in an old folk's home seems to be fatal). Bear that in mind next time you hear that x tribe eats such and such and lives a long time.

I have absolutely no objection to a cancer victim eating apricot pits or even buying laetrile, provided that they understand the risks (they may not have much to lose). Parents who refuse chemo for their sick 5 year old child and give them laetrile instead are another matter.
 
Rebecca Norman
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The region I live in is probably similar to Hunza, and surely has shared the same apricot varieties. There are two varieties of apricot here that have sweet edible seeds, without cyanide. People graft them to seedling rootstock. Nobody eats many of the seedling apricot nuts, because they are bitter and people are aware that if you eat a lot they are dangerous. I'm sure it's the same in Hunza. (These two varieties I know are also grown in Baltistan just over the border from Ladakh, and I'm sure they'd be over in Hunza too, since they have both excellent fruit and excellent nuts).

I would be inclined to agree with what Peter says above. IF people in any region here did have exceptional health, it was most likely because they lived far from sources of pollution and contagious diseases, and because of a life of steady outdoor physical labor and local natural foods. When I first came to Ladakh in the 90s, almost nobody knew their actual age, as they had been born at home without birth certificates. Now all births are recorded and certified.
 
Rose Pinder
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Thekla McDaniels wrote:About the pit liqueur.... I don't know that cyanide dissolves in alcohol, but I do think it is possible for a substance to migrate out of the kernel, through the hard shell and into a liquid, if given adequate time. Those pits seem impervious, but I would not count on it. After all, they let water to infuse IN to begin germination.

Just something to think about.

Tehkla


I think this is unlikely to be a problem. Many people use peach pits for medicine, both contemporary herbalists and traditionally. I would guess the caution about not using cracked pits is about not ingesting the kernals (but then I see stories online of people eating peach kernals too).

The quantity of cyanide contained in peach stones can be different, depending on the variety of the peach, its maturation, etc.

In a study published by Rezaul Hauqe et al. in Food Chemistry , it was reported that 1 kg of dried peach stones contained about the equivalent of 700 mg HCN. This quantity can hardly be dangerous for a human. As reported by the Integrated Risk Information System, a quantity of 10.8 mg a day per kg of weight of a person did not cause any evident adverse effect.

For instance, a person weighting 70 kg could ingest up to 760 mg of cyanide every day without being affected; this would correspond to about 1 kg of peach stones every day – that is a lot of peach seeds.
The ingestion of such high quantity of stones is not very likely for a person; care should be taken, however, for accidental ingestion by small pets.


http://www.decodedscience.com/peach-seeds-cyanide-poisonous/19671/2

Plus what Rebecca says about cyanide not being cumulative. I wouldn't eat a huge amount, but plenty of people are eating smaller amounts with no ill effects.
 
John Saltveit
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I read Peter's article. It spent a lot of time calling the use of laetrile quackery. That is always a red flag for me. Quackwatch is a witch hunt site to destroy alternative medicine. FDA and Big Pharma push chemotherapy which is 2% effective and call much more effective natural treatments "quackery". The article mainly tried to use studies that looked at using laetrile inappropriately. Yes, when used inappropriately, medical treatments are ineffective. Babies die from eating bottles of aspirin too. Laetrile is found in countless regular foods. It is best used as a preventative, not as a cure. A small amount from time to time is better. Big Pharma is threatened by lower cancer rates. US has the highest cancer rates and most expensive treatments. Perfect, that's what they want. When the experiment is intentionally set up to show that laetrile won't work, it will almost always be effective in showing that. Big Pharma has done that with countless other natural medicines. You usually have to go to other countries to find research on mushrooms, plant cures over time, and they're not within 3 months of decreasing tumor size (before killing you) like chemo. Some of their systems arent' controlled by Big Pharma. They're actually run to help the people of their countries!

http://www.cancertutor.com/laetrile/

John S
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Dale Hodgins
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Pits make a good quality fuel, whether intact or with the meat removed. Perfect for smaller masonry stoves.

I like Quackwatch. If something sounds like hocus-pocus, I check it out there to start. This often leads to incredibly damning articles not associated with the site.
 
john mcginnis
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*Why not consider what our ancestors used to do. Take your olive or cherry pits and place them sewn up in a little bag. Put them on top of your rocket stove to get hot. Just before you get ready to retire for the evening throw two or three under the blankets to warm up the bed.

* Making a pie shell that requires it to be prebaked? Don't buy pastry nuggest to hold the shell flat in the pan, use a handful or two of cheery pits instead.

* At one time pits of all kinds were used as fillers for rag dolls. Child safety rules discourage the practice these days.

* If you had a huge pile of pits why not use them as the heat sink for the rocket stove rather than rocks?

* The husks of peach pits have been used as a dye in naturally dyed wool products.

Just a few ideas....
 
Jenna Ferresty
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What color dye do the peach pit hulls make?
 
Rose Pinder
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Jenna Ferresty wrote:What color dye do the peach pit hulls make?


and what is meant by husk/hull? Do you mean the shell and that it's been separated from the kernal?
 
Heather Ahrens
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I make Peach Pit Jam. Whenever I process a lug of peaches. It's proven to be a bigger "hit" than the peaches themselves.
 
Rebecca Norman
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Heather Ahrens wrote:I make Peach Pit Jam. Whenever I process a lug of peaches. It's proven to be a bigger "hit" than the peaches themselves.


Please describe!
 
Heather Ahrens
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DIRECTIONS for Peach Pit Jelly

Place a minimum of 4 qts peelings and seed in heavy pan.
Barely cover with water.
Bring to boil and let simmer for about 30 minutes.
Let stand overnight.
Strain juice through cheesecloth.
Measure 3 cups juice into pan.
Add 1 pkg powdered pectin.
Bring to a rigorous boil and add 3 cups sugar.
Boil juice rapidly until drops sheet off spoon as in jelly testing.
Skim off foam.
Pour into sterilized jars to within 1/2 inch from top.
Band and process in water bath for 5 minutes.
For concern about the aspects of using peach seeds, here is a bit of info about the usage of peach products, Peach Uses & Scientific Evidence For Peach leaves and bark have demulcent, sedative, diuretic and expectorant properties, and work well to relieve bladder inflammation and urinary tract problems. The leaves and bark can also be used to treat whooping cough, ordinary coughs, and chronic bronchitis. Peach seed (kernel) can be used as a mild laxative, and an expectorant for the lungs, nose and throat, and it can help relieve chest pain and spasms. Peach bark is still used to improve blood flow and eliminate blood stagnation caused by amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, postpartum abdominal pain, and pain and swelling due to external injuries.
Since there is only one pit per peach and alot of peel, the recipe should not be altered if the peach seed is left out.
 
Rose Pinder
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Can't say I've ever had spare peach skin (it gets eaten with the peach), so I'm wondering if this will work without the peelings?
 
Heather Ahrens
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I use the pits, skins, and "soft spots" of peaches I am canning. I don't think using just the pits will work very well. For the favor will no be very peachy and I fear it may even be bitter and contain a higher content of cyanide.
 
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