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May 22, 2008

Cyanide ice cream?

This recipe for cherry pit ice cream sounds profoundly ill-advised. You're supposed to pulverize the pits with a hammer and steep the "noyau" in cream before freezing.

The recipe calls for 1.5 cups of smashed cherry pits heated in 4 cups of dairy and steeped for 1-2 hours. As you strain the steeped mixture, you press the cherry pits against the sieve to extract even more flavor from the kernels.

The fact that the end product is described as tasting like marzipan or bitter almonds is not confidence-inspiring.

Cherry pits contain cyanide.


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Oh jeeze, next thing, we'll see a recrudescence of the laetrile nonsense.

It does sound like the ice cream equivalent of eating fugu. On the other hand, some finches crack cherry pits to eat the seeds, so either cherry pits don't have enough cyanide to hurt a smallish bird, or finches just aren't affected by cyanide.

fwiw, my grandmother made a traditional italian liqueur by soaking choke cherries in Everclear (she watered it down before serving - I imagine back in the day they used vodka) for a year which tasted very much like amaretto. It's not unheard of.

Hello Ms. Lindsay Beyerstein,

I am a bit taken aback by your attack on my I am a bit taken aback by your attack on my judgement.

In this follow up piece I talk about ALL the facts concerning how and why and how stone fruit pits and interior kernels/ noyaux can, and have been for centuries, be used for food and liquids.

Hi Shuna. For centuries, people used lead as a sweetener, going back to Roman times. Beethoven apparently went deaf and eventually died as a result of lead poisoning from using it as a condiment.

While it's improbable that someone would ingest toxic levels of cyanide from your recipe, that doesn't mean that there isn't a risk.

Cherry pits contain cyanide, but so do almonds, yet we can eat them. In both cases, I believe heating the nuts is what detoxifies the compound. I'm not sure what temperature is required to inactivate the chemical. It could be that the dose is low enough that the pits don't cause a problem even if the cyanide is intact.

Seeds of Most, Fruits have cyanide in them, in small amounts it is not harmful... And it is water soluble depending on the type of cyanide you are talking about... Even some unripe fruits and vegitables has this as well

Here is a site I found that explains that...
But if you are worried about it, and are using this recipe or wondering about the cyonide content. Look up the nutrition information, learn what all is in the product.. and of course...

If you question anything, it is better to be safe than sorry, Call Your local poison control center, or ask as nurse, and find out from there..

http://www.inchem. org/documents/ cicads/cicads/ cicad61.htm

Take care,
- Dana C. L.

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