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By Medlar

United Kingdom Gb

Feedback: I have just made a load of spicy chutney with medlars from this tree. I did not take out the seeds and now read they are toxic! Do you know if the chutney will be OK to eat or should I throw it away?
It tasts very good!
I'd be glad of your advice.
Jennifer Bell mespilus germanica medlar



Well, a lot of websites say that the seeds are toxic! How about straining the chutney and just having a sort of sauce? This would get all the bits out. Or, invite the mother-in-law round for lunch!! LOL!!

27 Oct, 2010
The above link is from a question on Garden Organics' site about using medlars. They make no mention of the seeds being toxic or straining them out.

27 Oct, 2010


Just don't chew on them. They're quite chunky and not difficult to miss, and the occasional one swallowed won't affect you. l love medlars, just as they are, a spicy apple taste, although I accept the appearance isn't magazine cover! Phil

27 Oct, 2010


Like many members of the Rosaceae, I suspect that the seeds contain cyanine (a closely related chemical to cyanide). You would have to eat a heck of a lot of them to have any adverse effects though. Just eat it and spit out any obvious seeds.

27 Oct, 2010


None of my books lists Mespilus as poisonous and it isn't included in the Kew Gardens/St Thomas' poison plant CD-ROM.

28 Oct, 2010


The seeds contain the toxic hydrocyanic acid (the substance that gives almonds their flavour) and should not be eaten in quantity. Taken from the Plants for Future Use Web site.

Actually I am rather interested in knowing at what stage of 'ripeness' you used the fruit. I grow the tree for its lovely whiteflowers, but the fruit to us is a most disgusting taste, tried when it has been bletted. Picked now and stored unti they begin to rot is the norm procedure, but unless you live somewhere different to me, this does not happen until the middle of next month at the earliest.

28 Oct, 2010


I posted before that none of my books mention Mespilus. I've looked at more of them after reading Owdboggy's comment.

Frohne & Pfander in 'A Colour Atlas of Poisonous Plants' do have one reference to it where, based on a 1962 German paper by R Hegnauer, they say it contains no cyanogenic glycosides.

It's worth remembering that many seeds contain toxins but the seed casings are indigestible so the toxin passes through the body without being released.

28 Oct, 2010


And there I go basing blindly basing my input on a program I saw years ago about Prunus laurocerascus containing as they said Cyanine. I'll remember Hydrocyanide from now on!

This brings to mind the case of a gentleman who liked the "almondy" taste apple pips had so he used to save them up until he had a cup full and would then eat the lot in one go. Killed him!

28 Oct, 2010

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