En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

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

QUESTION:

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.

ANSWER:

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

More Edible Plants Questions

Grafting Pecan Trees
July 05, 2013 - I have planted two pecan nuts and now they are about 4 feet tall trees, they have not been grafted but can I graft one of the trees to the other and vice versa and expect pecans from then, they are he...
view the full question and answer

Books on edible wild plants for Michigan
September 10, 2009 - What book do you recommend to find edible wild plants in Michigan? I've found several books on edible plants, but they are all centered on the western states.
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on edible and medicinal native plants
October 06, 2004 - I would like a list of edible & medicinal native plants for the San Antonio area.
view the full question and answer

Water requirements for fruit trees in California
January 15, 2013 - Dear Sir; In which of these options (fruit trees) the need for watering in irrigation process is higher than the others: -Olive tree -Nectarines and peaches trees -Hazelnut trees -Pistachios and ...
view the full question and answer

Raspberries in KS
April 28, 2012 - A friend told me that when he planted golden raspberries next to red and black-raspberries that the golden raspberries did not produce any fruit. He was told that when planted near each other, the go...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center