[NAFEX] Choke Cherries, cyanide, etc.
markl at nytec.com
Fri Feb 27 11:15:16 EST 2004
I found this information on Black Cherry (Prunus serotina)...
"Native Americans used cherries fresh, but more commonly dried them,
pulverized the entire fruit (including seed), pressed them into cakes and
cooked them in a fire. Animal fat was added to make pemmican. Cooking
eliminated the cyanogenic compounds in the seeds. The combined pulp and
seeds were much richer in protein than the pulp alone."
From: nafex-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:nafex-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org]On Behalf Of list at ginda.us
Sent: Thursday, February 26, 2004 8:07 PM
To: North American Fruit Explorers; Bill Russell
Subject: Re: [NAFEX] Choke Cherries, cyanide, etc.
Right. If you eat a lot at once, it will kill you. But if you eat a
little at a time, and are otherwise healthy and well fed, you can
metabolize it. (Like alcohol, I suppose, but more toxic.) I think I
once read an article about how cyanide can be a cumulative toxin in
people who are protein-deprived, but that's probably not a problem for
Lots of other animals and beasties can metabolize small quantities, too
- I wonder if fermentation reduces the cyanide levels? I know that
cooking in an open container does.
On Feb 26, 2004, at 1:11 PM, Bill Russell wrote:
> Right. Cyanide is not a cumulative toxin.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Lucky Pittman" <lucky.pittman at murraystate.edu>
> To: "longdistshtr" <longdistshtr at shtc.net>; "North American Fruit
> <nafex at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Sent: Thursday, February 26, 2004 6:36 AM
> Subject: [NAFEX] Choke Cherries, cyanide, etc.
>> At 10:25 PM 2/25/2004 -0500, Doc L wrote:
>>> They are pest trees here, kinda like Sweet Gums which Lucky Pittman
>> Indeed, I do. Would much prefer hawthorns, which I could use as
>> for pears & quinces.
>> I'm neither a chemist nor a toxicologist, but deal with the cyanide
>> in livestock on a regular basis. Cherry leaves are most toxic in the
>> wilted state - I've seen cows eat them fresh and green off the tree,
>> they'll vaccuum up the yellow senescent leaves that drop off from
>> time to
>> time throughout the season - with no ill effects. It may be that the
>> green leaves are toxic as well as the wilted ones, but that the
>> aren't usually able to access them in the large amounts that
>> death like when people inadvisedly pitch big piles of prunings over
>> fence to them or a storm comes through and blows trees over or splits
>> limbs off - at which time the cows/goats/sheep mob around 'em and
>> race to
>> see who can eat the most leaves. Japanese yew prunings do a very
>> job of killing cattle, as well, due to their high cyanogenic
>> Prunus spp. leaves contain cyanogenic glucosides and enzymes which
>> those glucosides, but in normal, undamaged leaves, they're contained
>> separate cells. When the leaves are damaged - freezing, wilting,
>> etc, this allows the chemical reaction to take place between the
>> and the cyanogenic glucosides, liberating cyanide, which can then be
>> up into the bloodstream, where it binds to hemoglobin in the
>> interfering with its capability to carry oxygen.
>> On the subject of cyanide in the seeds or a cherry leaf in my jam or
>> personally, I wouldn't have too much concern about it - wouldn't even
>> concerned with crushing seeds in the process of making jelly or
>> wine. HCN(hydrogen cyanide) is volatile, and any that might be
>> would probably dissipate harmlessly into the atmosphere during the
>> of canning, fermentation, or storage, for that matter.
>> I wouldn't want to sit down and eat a big bowl of cracked chokecherry
>> For more info on prussic acid poisoning, have a look at the following
>> extension bulletin:
>> Lucky Pittman
>> USDA Zone 6
>> Hopkinsville, KY
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