10 Awesome Ways to Preserve the WHOLE Peach
by Daisy Luther, The Organic Prepper
Over the past two weeks, I’ve had my hands on 100 pounds of them.
There’s a large orchard just down the road from me, where I buy “seconds” for canning. However, their seconds are about a kabillion times better than the hard, tasteless orbs you pick up at the grocery store, and they aren’t doused in pesticides and then sprayed with preservatives.
We are in sweet-smelling, luscious peach heaven right now.
And we’re using the whole darned peach. Not one drop of juicy peachy goodness is going to waste.
My clever daughter refers to this as “using the whole buffalo.”
We have managed to use the lush fruit, the peel, and the pits and we’ve preserved these goodies so that we can have a taste of sunshine during the cold months.
Some of you are probably saying: “Peach pits! Is she nuts? Doesn’t she know there’s cyanide in peach pits?”
Yes, I did know that. And I was likewise horrified when I saw the idea to use them to make food. But after reading several different articles, I feel very confident that the cyanide is reduced to a completely non-toxic level. Don’t take my word for it! Do some research on your own, and only proceed with the peach pit recipes if it feels right for your family.
In the interest of presenting both sides of the argument, this segment from the NY Times strongly warns against consuming the kernels.
Compounds containing cyanide can be found in some fruit pit kernels and some other foods as well, said Dr. Rodney Dietert, professor of immunogenetics and director of the Institute for Comparative and Environmental Toxicology at Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., and his wife, Dr. Margaret Dietert, associate professor of biology at Wells College, Aurora, N.Y.
Even cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower contain cyanide compounds, but not enough to make them unsafe, Dr. Margaret Dietert said. In fact, Dr. Rodney Dietert said, “toxic compounds can now be detected at a lower level than was possible when laws were passed making anything above zero risk unacceptable for externally applied toxins and carcinogens.”
Fruit pits can add up to a real risk, however, said Dr. Margaret Dietert, who teaches a course in medicinal botany. Apricot pits, for example, contain a compound called amygdalin, the supposedly active ingredient in laetrile, the discredited cancer drug, said Dr. Rodney Dietert. Amygdalin is a member of the class of chemicals called cyanogenic glycosides, meaning that it can be broken down into cyanide, glucose and benzaldehyde by an enzyme, he said.
A study of the toxicity levels of peaches and apricots clearly shows that 13 to 15 raw peach pit kernels would get you into the lethal range for adults, Dr. Margaret Dietert said.
For apricots, the toxicity varies widely in a tenfold range, depending on variety, she said. . The wild apricot is highest, and some are quite low, but for a variety in the middle level of toxicity, about 17 to 20 kernels would get you into the lethal range. No one has survived eating more than 38.
For children, around 15 percent of the adult level could be lethal, because they are extremely susceptible.
Based on centuries of people who survived after regularly consuming extracts and liqueurs from stone pit fruits, many cooking blogs strongly disagree with the Dietert’s assessment. There’s even a cookbook called The Little Cyanide Cookbook that is filled with recipes using the kernels of stone fruits. It’s from a credible source, too. The author is a former toxicologist and pharmacologist for the Food and Drug Administration.
BraveTart, another “waste not, want not” kind of person, explains in a blog post: