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Mar 26, 2011 06:02 AM

10 Everyday Fruits and Vegetables that are Poisonous

Interesting article. I had no idea nutmeg, kidney beans, and lima beans could kill you.

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  1. Water can kill you, too, if you drink enough of it. Just a thought....

    1. the kidney beans poison is news to me. you have to boil them for 10 minutes even if you're going to slow cook them over hours? i'd like to follow up on that information to see what exactly is the required temperature to deactivate the poison.

      i mean, they can be poisonous even from the can...if ya know what i mean. har de har har.

      5 Replies
      1. re: alkapal

        Yep. Slow cooking takes place at simmering temperatures, which won't reliably inactivate the phytohaemagglutinin in red kidney beans. Boiling works, as does pressure cooking (either at home or in a cannery).

        1. re: alanbarnes

          wowee!!!! thank you, alan (and al b., of course)!

          """Several outbreaks have been associated with "slow cookers" or crock pots, or in casseroles which had not reached a high enough internal temperature to destroy the glycoprotein lectin. It has been shown that heating to 80°C may potentiate the toxicity five-fold, so that these beans are more toxic than if eaten raw. In studies of casseroles cooked in slow cookers, internal temperatures often did not exceed 75°C."""""

          here's is my little alert, for what it is worth:

          this kidney bean topic needs an alert or something....because it is really dangerous. did you see the way it operates?

          from the same fda government source: """"Phytohaemagglutinin (Kidney Bean Lectin
          )This compound, a lectin or hemagglutinin, has been used by immunologists for years to trigger DNA synthesis in T lymphocytes, and more recently, to activate latent human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1, AIDS virus) from human peripheral lymphocytes. Besides inducing mitosis, lectins are known for their ability to agglutinate many mammalian red blood cell types, alter cell membrane transport systems, alter cell permeability to proteins, and generally interfere with cellular metabolism.""""

          1. re: alanbarnes

            I wonder, would cooking kidney beans in a rice cooker count as boiling them? That's how I usually make my beans (I don't have a range, and I like this method best anyway). It does bubble and steam, and usually you leave beans on for about an hour, so it seems like it should do the trick. It's pretty scary, so I make an exception for kidney beans and buy them in tins.

            1. re: ellecue

              My "dumb" rice cooker boils its contents, so kidney beans would be safe. A "smart" cooker with computer chips and neuro-fuzzy logic might be a different story, though.

              1. re: alanbarnes

                One other odd thing. Whoever did the photos for the article must have gotten their produce from a bulk store (or else live in the Carribean/Spice Islands.) The nutmegs in the picture still have thier shells on.

        2. Chaya is a leafy shrub that ranges from the Yucatan to Honduras, and is said to be toxic unless cooked, but I have had fresh chaya leaves in licuados with no ill effect, so if anyone can weigh in on this one I would appreciate a clarification.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Veggo

            Another one worth mentioning is/are hyacinth beans (Dolichos Lablab). These beans are usually said to be safe enough as green beans (or given the type most people like to grow, as purple beans) but every gardening site mentions the fact that mature seed should never be eaten as it is poisonous. However a white form of the bean (the seeds of the purple kind are usually brown to black) is sold dried in bags at most to all Indian and Chinese Grocery stores (where it is called Van Dal) so that statment may only apply to the colored type (in many beans dark color in seeds often means a lot more of substances in the seed that make the plant dangerous. The white seeded ones also produce green plants with white flowers so the plant lacks several substances as well) and the white ones are probably safe under the same strictures as lima beans, which are often used interchangably for the same recipes (though someone did say that whne cooking these beans it is best to discard any that have colored dots on the back or a brown or black hilum (seed scar) just to be safe.

          2. APPLE SEEDS ARE POISONOUS? I didn't know that, and I have been throwing the whole apple into the juicer. F

            4 Replies
            1. re: cutipie721

              I think you'd have to eat mouthfuls of apple seeds -- popping them in like jelly beans -- to overdose on the cyanide.

              1. re: ipsedixit

                Yeah you need to eat about a cupful of seeds at one sitting for there to be enough cyanide to be dangerous. I mean tecnically, Almonds have some cyanide in them as well (they are also members of the rose family, the same as apples, pears, cherries, apricots, plums etc.) In fact, bitter almonds (which are used in many soaps and fragance products (the cyanide in rose family members is in the form of a compound called amygdalin which your body digests (and can be artificially processed into) glucose, hydrogen cyanide and a aromatic called benzaldahyde which is what gives that characteristic "almond" odor. So more amygdalin=more benzaldehyde) are dangerous to eat, 10 or so would kill you.

                1. re: jumpingmonk

                  So does apple seeds contain some kind of nutrients which outweigh the cyanide factor? I guess I'll just core it meanwhile.

            2. about nutmeg, which needs to be consumed in fairly large doses (i'd guess that goes for most of the things mentioned, save perhaps for the lima beans):

              "but lately there has been a fad by teens to get high on nutmeg... with very unhappy results."

              what is this, the 60s? teens getting high on nutmeg? hilarity.

              2 Replies
                1. re: alanbarnes

                  kids these days can't handle 12+ hour-long trips. frankly, neither can i, nor would i want to. holy crap.