Common Fruits that are dangerous to ferment

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bearpaw8491

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Just ran across a YouTube video on this topic. I can't vouch for the accuracy of any of this information but wanted to pass along just in case someone finds it useful. Rick mentions pear and apple seeds in the video. I have make wine from both fruits without incident but you be the judge.

Here's the link:

 
People have been fermenting pear and apples for millennia without a problem. There is a bit of an arsenic related compound in the seeds, but according to my understanding it is only released if you crush the seeds. I think that you would need to eat hundreds of seeds before it became a problem.
 
Just ran across a YouTube video on this topic. I can't vouch for the accuracy of any of this information but wanted to pass along just in case someone finds it useful. Rick mentions pear and apple seeds in the video. I have make wine from both fruits without incident but you be the judge.

Here's the link:


I’m a big fan of this guy. He has a whole slew of videos on almost any subject of wine making.
 
I have read several articles talking about theoretical possibilities and potential dangers of fermenting various stone fruits and apples on the seeds/pits. None of them have any numbers. One would think that with all the concern, surely food safety regulators would have funded actual studies measuring cyanide concentration in these wines. But I haven’t seen them.
 
Agreed. He's usually spot on but I have fermented apples, pears and even Bradford pears without any ill effects. I might question fruits with larger pits such as peach and paw-paw. Always best to err on the side of caution.
 
* When taking food processing classes we are informed that many foods contain toxic compounds. Cyanide is a nitrogen compound which will clear out of the body. ie Unless one consumes an acute dosage it isn’t too bad. The acute situation that gets pointed to is someone collecting apple seeds then roasting like a nut and eating them. Having your six year old wild child eat the seeds from one apple won’t push him into the toxic level. Cup fulls of apple seeds are toxic. If I had access to the Borden Foods library I could pull out research articles where some grad students are testing cyanide levels. A LD50 (lethal dose for 50 percent of a rat test population exists based on Kg body weight). ,,, Best practice standards exist to keep the risk of toxic chemical exposure in the US food supply down. ,,, Imported foods tend to be where the news releases about food safety recalls occur.
* Arsenic as referenced by @Raptor99 is a mineral which will accumulate in the body. ( much like lead does) There is monitoring of arsenic by the FDA. There are news releases which are published which tell processors that there is an issue. The current arsenic concern is that the soil in some rice producing areas has enough arsenic that it accumulates in the grain. When we make baby food from rice we might be feeding high levels to a low body mass infant.
* Standards such as ppm of lead or ppm of nitrate in a water supply where one has to treat the ingredient and / or conduct a food recall are published in the federal register. Corporate legal has to read the Register, not R&D folks.

The video which @bearpaw8491 referenced is well done.

The USDA does not have an infinite budget. They set standards and food processors are expected to monitor the levels of toxic compounds. Data that the corporate food lab generates is considered secret. Tech folks get reprimanded if they release data. All food safety issues have to be run through the legal department.
 
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I have read several articles talking about theoretical possibilities and potential dangers of fermenting various stone fruits and apples on the seeds/pits. None of them have any numbers. One would think that with all the concern, surely food safety regulators would have funded actual studies measuring cyanide concentration in these wines. But I haven’t seen them.

I have read several articles talking about theoretical possibilities and potential dangers of fermenting various stone fruits and apples on the seeds/pits. None of them have any numbers. One would think that with all the concern, surely food safety regulators would have funded actual studies measuring cyanide concentration in these wines. But I haven’t seen them.
Referring to "theoretical possibilities", many years ago there was an effort to remove the commercial use of Urea in "yeast nutrient" due to the "potential" dangers to health. I had to do lots of digging to find the studies and the EPA publications. Many of the studies require memberships, log in info, or $$$ to view the results. The combination of Urea and DAP is still sold for home use, but there are no "warnings" on the label. Just because the numbers are not readily seen doesn't mean they don't exist.
 
Some interesting info in this. I do disagree with some of it. Peach pits, for example. I learned several years ago to put one or 2 pits in a quart of peaches when canning. The pits give a more intense flavor to the peaches. I'm sure the same effect would be achieved in winemaking by adding several pits per gallon of must and the amount of potential cyanide would be negligible.
 
* When taking food processing classes we are informed that many foods contain toxic compounds. Cyanide is a nitrogen compound which will clear out of the body. ie Unless one consumes an acute dosage it isn’t too bad. The acute situation that gets pointed to is someone collecting apple seeds then roasting like a nut and eating them. Having your six year old wild child eat the seeds from one apple won’t push him into the toxic level. Cup fulls of apple seeds are toxic. If I had access to the Borden Foods library I could pull out research articles where some grad students are testing cyanide levels. A LD50 (lethal dose for 50 percent of a rat test population exists based on Kg body weight). ,,, Best practice standards exist to keep the risk of toxic chemical exposure in the US food supply down. ,,, Imported foods tend to be where the news releases about food safety recalls occur.
* Arsenic as referenced by @Raptor99 is a mineral which will accumulate in the body. ( much like lead does) There is monitoring of arsenic by the FDA. There are news releases which are published which tell processors that there is an issue. The current arsenic concern is that the soil in some rice producing areas has enough arsenic that it accumulates in the grain. When we make baby food from rice we might be feeding high levels to a low body mass infant.
* Standards such as ppm of lead or ppm of nitrate in a water supply where one has to treat the ingredient and / or conduct a food recall are published in the federal register. Corporate legal has to read the Register, not R&D folks.

The video which @bearpaw8491 referenced is well done.

The USDA does not have an infinite budget. They set standards and food processors are expected to monitor the levels of toxic compounds. Data that the corporate food lab generates is considered secret. Tech folks get reprimanded if they release data. All food safety issues have to be run through the legal department.
Excellent explanation Rice_Guy - thanks. A friend had an experience with morel mushrooms that was probably in the "accumulated"category. She had eaten morels many times without incident and then after a particularly good forage, she became violently ill. Her mother, point contact individual for the local poison control center informed the ER doctors of the accumulation possibility. I'm not sure what measures were taken in her treatment but she made a full recovery. She doesn't consume any mushrooms now but still enjoys our forays.
Thanks again for sharing your knowledge.
 
There is a bit of an arsenic related compound in the seeds
I meant to say cyanide, not arsenic. As @Rice_Guy points out, arsenic comes from contamination in the soil

Having your six year old wild child eat the seeds from one apple won’t push him into the toxic level. Cup fulls of apple seeds are toxic.

I think that the problem with many of these warnings is that they don't pay attention to scale. If X has a small amount of a harmful chemical, they conclude that X is dangerous. But, (1) if the seeds are not crushed, they won't release cyanide, and (2) if the seeds are crushed, you would need to drink a lot of cider, all at once, to get a harmful does of cyanide.

This article concludes that you would need to eat the seeds of at least 85 apples, all at once, to have a harmful effect. https://culinarylore.com/food-science:are-apple-seeds-poisonous-should-you-avoid-eating-apple-cores/ So maybe that would translate into drinking at least 2 gallons of cider, all at once, before you would have a harmful effect.
 
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