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Thursday - June 20, 2013

From: Seymour, IA
Region: Midwest
Topic: Seeds and Seeding, Edible Plants, Poisonous Plants, Trees
Title: Can poisonous seed of wild plum be safely removed after steaming from Seymour IA
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I read on a related questions that you said the pit/seeds of all wild plums are poisonous. My question is this, can I juice the entire fruit for making jelly without removing the pit first? I have a steam juicer and would like to put the entire cleaned fruit into it to process rather than pitting them first. Thank you.


There are 35 members of the Prunus (plum) genus native to North America, 11 of which are native to Iowa. Of those, the one that grows closest to Wayne County is Prunus americana (American plum) which the USDA shows as growing in Clarke County, next  door from you on the southern border of Iowa. We always check for this sort of information to be sure the climate, rainfall and soils are right in the area in which the plant in question is being grown.

While nearly everything we read in our research mentioned the fact that everything on the Prunus plant, twigs, leaves, seeds, was poisonous except the fruit, no mention was made of removal of the seed before cooking. We found numerous recipes for wild plum jelly, including this one from GardenGuides.com How to Make Wild Plum Jelly. None of the recipes mentioned removing the seed first, but all specified draining the "mush" after cooking through several layers of cheesecloth, and discarding what was left in the cheesecloth mesh. That would certainly be a step not to be missed, because the fruit itself is small and the seeds smaller, so you need to be sure they are gone. We read several recipes from reputable sources and no mention of poisoning was made, so we think you are safe. The third picture from our Image Gallery, below, is the seed of the fruit with attached pulp.


From the Image Gallery

American plum
Prunus americana

American plum
Prunus americana

American plum
Prunus americana

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