- Ask Dr. Gourmet
- Cyanide, Arsenic, and Other Toxins in Fruit: Apple Seeds, Peach Pits, Cherry Pits, etc.: Facts, Mythes and Old Wive’s Tales. Find Out ther Truth!
- Cyanide in Apple Seeds, Cherry Pits, Peach Pits and Apricot Pits
- The Bottom Line
- Cyanide Toxicity in Fruit Seeds
- Why is cyanide present in these fruit seeds?
- So, is organic juice better?
- More detail:
- What is peach seed?
- Peach seeds benefits
- Peach seeds side effects and contraindications
- Cherry, Peach, and Apricot Pits Could Kill You
- Storing fresh peaches for a long time
- The Easiest Way to Peel Peaches
- Preserve Peaches – Canning – Cold Pack Method
- Drying Peaches in a Dehydrator – One of the Simplest Ways to Preserve Peaches
- Freezing Peaches
- Peach Jam Recipes
- Preserve Peaches – Freeze Dry Peaches
- Saving Peach Seeds – How To Store Peach Pits For Planting
- Saving Peach Seeds
- How to Store Peach Pits
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At Vong, the apricot pit ice cream is called bitter almond ice cream so customers are not wary. Fruit pits contain cyanide.
”It’s the plant’s way of protecting its young, making the seeds poisonous to animals, so the animals don’t choose it as a tasty snack,” said Shirley O. Corriher, a biochemist and the author of ”Cookwise” (William Morrow, 1997). But she said that using the kernels as an aromatic is much less risky, and that it would take a lot of kernels to harm an adult. (A derivative of bitter apricot kernels called laetrile was actually once touted as a curative for cancer, but was proved useless.)
Apricot pit ice cream is not a flavor children would appreciate. It is best served in small amounts. The ice cream is powerful but one-dimensional and comes to life only with other flavors. Ms. Shere serves it with lemon ice cream, berries, fruit pies and chocolate or caramel desserts.
The recipe seems ridiculous at first. It calls for about 45 apricots. But you can mix apricot pits with those from plums, nectarines and peaches. And you can save them in the refrigerator or freezer until you have enough.
Just be sure to taste as you cook: seeds vary widely in strength. Ms. Shere said that when substituting fruit kernels for almonds in a recipe, she usually uses one-eighth the volume of the almonds. But when I tried her recipe for biscotti, half the volume was just enough.
”If you have a good almond extract,” Ms. Shere said, ”you get that flavor, but you don’t get any of the roundness of flavor that you get from the pits themselves, because with them you get a nutlike flavor.”
It is a subtle difference. But one worth cracking 45 pits to discover.
APRICOT PIT ICE CREAM
Adapted from Vong
Cyanide, Arsenic, and Other Toxins in Fruit: Apple Seeds, Peach Pits, Cherry Pits, etc.: Facts, Mythes and Old Wive’s Tales. Find Out ther Truth!
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With the popularity of juicers and food grinders, some people seem to think that grinding up entire fruit (skin, seeds, pits, stems and all) is somehow healthier than tradition methods. This is not always the case. Some parts of some fruit are not only unpleasant to eat, they can even be dangerous. Here are the facts about toxic parts of fruit.
Cyanide in Apple Seeds, Cherry Pits, Peach Pits and Apricot Pits
Apple and crabapple seeds (and seeds of some other fruits, like cherries, peaches, apricots) contain amygdalin, an organic cyanide and sugar compound that degrades into hydrogen cyanide (HCN) when metabolized. Cyanide itself is a poison that kills by denying blood the ability to carry oxygen and thereby causes its victims to die. It’s not an urban legend that apple seeds contain cyanide; even Snopes.com has an article about it. “The Dr. Oz Show” did an episode in which they talked about the amount of arsenic in children’s apple juice.
Apple seeds also have a tough protective coating seals the amygdalin inside, unless the seeds are crushed, chewed or otherwise ground up. Whole apple seeds have hard, durable shells that allow them to pass intact through the digestive systems of people and animals.
The National Institute of Health says:
“The edible portions of dietary plant species commonly used in the United States contain relatively low levels of cyanogen glycosides, although some pits and seeds of common fruits, apple, apricot, peach, contain significantly higher concentrations.”
The Bottom Line
Don’t worry: It would take a bushel’s worth of ground up apple’s seeds (about 1 cup of seeds) to create enough cyanide to poison someone. Grinding apples and pressing them for apple juice or apple cider wouldn’t release enough cyanide to be a problem. Neither does cooking apples and straining them to make a sauce. Richard E. Barrans Jr., Ph.D. Assistant Director PG Research Foundation in Darien, Illinois says “About the only way you can actually run into a problem with the toxicity of apple seeds is if you save the seeds from about a bushel of apples, grind them and eat them all at once.”
Still, I don’t think I would intentionally group up the seeds and include them in foods. When we make homemade applesauce or juice, the seeds are exclude in the process and most are not even broken nor ground.
Cyanide Toxicity in Fruit Seeds
According to The Guardian, :
Cyanide toxicity is experienced by humans at doses of around 0.5-3.5 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. Symptoms of cyanide poisoning include stomach cramps, headache, nausea and vomiting, and can culminate in cardiac arrest, respiratory failure, coma and death. A fatal dose for humans can be as low as 1.5 milligrams per kilogram of body weight.
Cherry, peach, and apricot pits, on the other hand, also contain amygdalin, a form of cyanide. Peach and apricot have it in potentially harmful amounts. Of course, few people intentionally swallow or chew them. This NY Times article explains more.
The UK newspaper, The Guardian, reports the following levels of cyanide in various fruit:
Amygdalin in other fruits, in mg/g of seeds:
- Greengage: 17.5
- Apricot: 14.4
- Red cherries: 3.9
- Black cherries: 2.7
- Peaches: 2.2
- Plums: 2.2
- Pears: 1.3
- Nectarines: 0.1
Why is cyanide present in these fruit seeds?
Organic and inorganic forms of arsenic can be found in soil, both naturally occurring and due to the use of cyanide-containing pesticides prior to the 1970’s. As a result, small amounts may taken up by the plans and become found in certain food and beverage products. See the FDA article here.
So, is organic juice better?
Logically, yes. But there are not yet credible and objective, independently conducted studies to prove this. And a certain amount of cyanide is normally present in the seeds anyway, as discussed in the first paragraph. You could argue that homemade applesauce and apple juice is safer, because you can ensure the seeds are excluded and not ground up.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has conducted their own research and proposed a maximum limit for arsenic levels in apple juice. The FDA proposal limits the level of inorganic arsenic to 10 parts per billion. That is the same level as is allowable in drinking water under the Environmental Protection Agency rules. This is the first time the FDA has set limits for arsenic levels in commercial food or drinks.
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry says
Compounds that release cyanide are naturally present in plants. The amounts are usually low in the edible portion but are higher in cassava. Pits and seeds of common fruits, such as apricots, apples, and peaches, may have substantial amounts of cyanide-releasing chemicals, so people should avoid eating these pits and seeds to prevent accidental cyanide poisoning. Parents should teach their children not eat fruit pits and seeds. People should be aware that taking high levels of vitamin C may increase the danger of cyanide poisoning from fruit pits, because more cyanide is released from the pits.
Questions and Answers
- A visitor writes on September 04, 2017: “Hi, with regards to the toxicity of apple seeds – can you tell me if this reduces with cooking? I forage for wild apples then cook them whole, crush them and extract the juice to create pectin for jam making. I then use the pulp, crushed bits of seed included, to make an apple paste – this involves cooking with sugar to a temperature of at least 104%c. I\’ve eaten the results – very nice – but I\’m worried about passing samples to others in case there might be some risk from the seed content. Thanks. Cheryl”
No, arsenic is inorganic, so ordinary cooking would not destroy it. And crushing, if it results in the seeds being broken, would likely increase the amount of arsenic. I use an apple slicer/corer, the kind you just push down over the apple, that has a circle that avoids the core; that way the seeds are unlikely to be broken. Of course, the question is really, how much risk does this pose? It might still be trivial, or not. With out testing your product, it would remain unknown.
- Centers for Disease Control – Facts about Cyanide
- AMA Handbook of Poisonous & Injurious Plants by Dr. K. F. Lampe & M. A. McCann, Chicago, IL 1985.
- FDA website
- Nutrition Facts Label..
- CNN did a news story about cyanide in apple juice in 2014
- Richard E. Barrans Jr., Ph.D. Assistant Director PG Research Foundation in Darien, Illinois www.newton.dep.anl.gov/askasci/bot00/bot00208.htm (page is now gone)
Illustrated Canning, Freezing, Jam Instructions and Recipes
Peach seeds, also known as Tao Ren in Pinyin, are clearly the kernel of peach pits. So, what do peach seeds look like? As a matter of fact, they not only look like almonds, but also taste like almonds. As a result, many people often get them mixed up and think they are the same thing. Of course they are not. And just like almond, it is also edible and has long been loved and eaten since ancient times, thanks to its special taste and flavor. In view of its great contribution on health benefits and high nutritional value, it is also listed as one of top 10 precious healthy foods by holistic diet regimen experts. As one of frequently-used Chinese herbs, it is suitable for general population, especially patients who suffer from high blood sugar or diabetes. As you can see now, what we are going to talk about next is its medicinal uses, instead of how to germinate and plant a peach seed, or something like it.
What is peach seed?
When used as a Chinese medicine, it mainly refers to the ripe seeds of Prunus persica (L.) Batsch or Prunus davidiana (Carr.) Franch. Both of them are plants belonging to the family Rosaceae. Other common names of this herb include seeds of peach, Semen Persicae, Peach Kernel, Semen Pruni Persicae, peach tree seeds, peach pits, peach fruit seeds, and the like. Prunus persica seeds are produced all over China and most of them are cultivated; Prunus davidiana seeds mainly grow wild in provinces of Liaoning, Hebei, Henan, Shandong, Sichuan, and Yunnan. They are usually picked from June to July when the fruits are ripe. The following steps are to remove the flesh and pit shell, take the seeds, peel them, and dry in the sun. Medicinally it is normally used raw or fried.
Prunus persica seed is ovate, flat, long, 1.2 to 1.8cm long, 0.8 to 1.2cm wide, and 0.2 to 0.4cm thick. Surface is from yellowish brown to reddish brown and densely covered with granular protrusions. One end is pointed; the central part is enlarged; the other end is blunt, slightly oblique and flat, and with thin edge. The pointed end has shortly linear hilum while the blunt end has slightly darker chalazas that are less obvious and many longitudinal vascular bundles radiating from chalazas. Seed coat is thin, off-white, oily, and with 2 cotyledons. It is nearly odorless but slightly bitter. Prunus davidiana seed is nearly oval, smaller but thicker, about 0.9cm, about 0.7cm wide and about 0.5cm thick.
Peach seeds benefits
Traditional Chinese medicine thinks it is of neutral nature. That’s to say, as a food the ingestion of it won’t let you risk suffering from internal heat. Instead, consuming peach seeds is good for you no matter you are of cold or heat habitus since it plays a certain restrain dilution role.
The most valued healing properties of peach seed in TCM are its effect of promoting blood circulation. Given the fact of backward medical technology in ancient times, dietary therapy or herbs was one of the few available ways that could count on once people suffered from stagnant movement of Qi and blood. And peach seed nut is that one commonly used medically to invigorate the circulation of blood. It is said that it was once so expensive and rare that few people then could afford it. Likewise, it can be applied to treat scarce menstrual flow or even absence of menstruation in women.
Besides, it is also a good aperient since it contains certain of fatty oil, which can help obstructed bowel or indigestion. Eating peach seeds on daily basis can lubricate the intestine, keep the intestine smooth, and improve bowel function. It is worth noting that obstructed bowel is very likely to cause the proliferation of bacteria, and thus lead to intestinal inflammation. That’s to say, appropriate consumption of it is beneficial to intestinal discharge of waste, prevention of intestinal inflammation, and even the treatment of intestinal inflammation.
Modern pharmacological actions of peach kernel
1) Its extracting solution can significantly increase cerebral blood flow, enhance the blood flow in canine femoral arteries, reduce vascular resistance, and improve the hemodynamics;
2) Peach seed extract can improve the animal’s liver surface microcirculation and promote bile secretion;
3) It can obviously prolong the bleeding and clotting time in mice;
4) Its decoction can promote fibrosis and in vitro inhibit thrombosis;
5) It contains 5% fat oil, which can lubricate the intestine and then help defecation;
6) It can promote the uterine contractions and bleeding in woman who has been delivered of a child for the first time;
7) Its decoction and extract have analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-allergic effects;
8) Amygdalin contained has antitussive, anti-asthma, and anti-liver fibrosis effects.
Sample peach seed recipes on herbal remedies
The Chinese Pharmacopoeia believes that it is bitter and sweet in flavor and neutral in nature. It goes to meridians of heart, liver, and large intestine. Basic functions include activating blood to remove blood stasis and relaxing bowel. Essential peach seed uses and indications are amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, mass in the abdomen, injuries, and constipation caused by intestinal dryness. Recommended dosage is from 4.5 to 9 grams in decoction. Other relevant medicinal products also include peach seed supplement, powder, pills, and the like. What’s more, it is used in making carving, basket, beads, and other artwork. Want more tips on how to maximize the health benefits of this herb? Here are the most famous formulas for your reference.
1) Tao Hong Si Wu Tang from Yi Zong Jin Jian (Golden Mirror of Orthodox Medicine). It is formulated with Hong Hua (Safflower), Dang Gui (Dong Quai), Chuan Xiong (lovage), Chi Shao (Red Peonies), etc. to treat amenorrhea and dysmenorrhea caused by blood stasis.
2) Sheng Hua Tang from Fu Qing Zhu Nu Ke (Fu Qing-zhu’s Gynecology). It is combined with Pao Jiang (Prepared Dried Ginger), lovage, etc. to cure postpartum abdominal pain due to stagnation.
3) Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan from Jin Gui Yao Lue (Essential Prescriptions of the Golden Coffer). It works with Gui Zhi (Ramulus Cinnamomi), Mu Dan Pi (Tree Peony), Red Peonies, etc. to heal abdominal mass in women due to the accumulated stasis.
4) Tao He Cheng Qi Tang from Shang Han Lun (On Cold Damage). It is equipped with Da Huang (rhubarb), Mang Xiao (Glauber’s Salt), cassia twig, etc. to treat severe abdominal mass due to stagnation.
5) Fu Yuan Huo Xue Tang from Yi Xue Fa Ming (Illuminating the Science of Medicine). It is matched with Dong Quai, Safflower, rhubarb, etc. to cure wound, bruises, and pains.
6) Wei Jing Tang from Qian Jin Fang (Thousand golden essential prescriptions). It is used together with Wei Jing (Phragmites Communis Stem), Dong Gua Ren (Winter Melon Seeds), etc. to treat pulmonary abscess.
7) Da Huang Mu Dan Pi Tang from Essential Prescriptions of the Golden Coffer. It is joined with rhubarb, Tree Peony Bark, etc. to cure acute appendicitis.
8) Run Chang Wan from Pi Wei Lun (Treatise on the Spleen and Stomach). It is compatible with Dong Quai, Huo Ma Ren (Hemp Seeds), Gua Lou Ren (Semen Trichosanthis), etc. to heal constipation caused by dry intestine.
9) Shuang Ren Wan from Sheng Ji Zong Lu (Complete Record of Holy Benevolence). It is coupled with Xing Ren (Apricot Seed) to treat cough and asthma.
Medical research on peach pits
Clinically peach seed based remedies are widely used in various conditions, such as schistosomiasis cirrhosis, thrombosis, appendicitis, vasculitis, acute renal failure, acute and chronic nephritis, mental illness, pneumonia, coronary heart disease, and so on.
a) 20 cases of schistosomiasis cirrhosis have been treated with amygdalin, the active ingredients extracted from peach seeds, by 500mg intravenous injection, once every other day. And the significantly improved or improved indicators included fatigue, physical power, weight, hemoglobin, red blood cells, platelets, serum albumin and others; liver reduced more than 3cm in 11 cases (55%); the enlargement of the left lobe of the liver was significantly reduced.
b) 46 cases of cerebral thrombosis caused by Qi deficiency and blood stasis have been treated with Tong Mai Chong Ji, consisting of peach kernel, safflower, angelica root, Szechwan Lovage, etc. And 29 cases were basically cured, 14 cases markedly improved, and 3 cases improved. In addition, 23 cases of patients were found with hypertension and blood pressure was lowered in more than half of them after the treatment.
c) 83 cases of appendicitis have been treated with Er Ren Yi Pi Tang, including peach Kernel, Lindera, Tree Peony, etc. And 76 cases were cured, 6 cases effective, and 1 case invalid. The total efficiency was 98%.
Peach seeds side effects and contraindications
Are peach seeds safe to eat? Actually it won’t kill you easily but a few things still require your special attention before the use. Amygdalin in peach seeds can be broken down into hydrocyanic acid in the body, which first excites and later paralyzes the central nervous system. After all, respiratory paralysis is the main reason responsible for death. In addition, hydrocyanic acid has local anesthetic effect on the skin and has a stimulating effect on the mucous membranes.
Main clinical manifestation of peach seed poisoning are the central nervous system damage, including dizziness, headache, vomiting, palpitations, irritability, followed by unconsciousness, convulsions, and life-threatening respiratory paralysis. In addition, it was also reported to cause skin irritation and skin allergies like rashes. According studies, the poisoning symptoms are mainly caused by improper use or overdose. Hence, controlling the dosage is a must and meanwhile it shouldn’t be taken by children. Besides, use it with care during pregnancy and in cases of blood deficiency, blood dryness, and body fluid deficiency.
Cherry, Peach, and Apricot Pits Could Kill You
It’s actually pretty frightening that we’re putting these things so close to our mouths. Cherries, peaches, and apricots are harboring a dark secret buried in their flesh. Each pit, big or small, contains potentially dangerous levels of a harsh chemical: cyanide.
If you’re wondering where you’ve heard that name before, it’s the chemical used in chemical weaponry, to kill pests, and to dissolve metals during mining of gold and silver. If it serves all of those purposes, it must be kind of corrosive, right?
The cyanide in fruit isn’t the same compound as the hydrogen cyanide found in chemical weapons; in small doses, the cyanide in stone fruits can be handled by the body’s natural processes. The body takes the harmful substance and transforms it into thiocyanate — an innocent compound that gets excreted through your urine. In large doses however, cyanide of any kind can do some real damage. It prevents your cells from using available oxygen, resulting in cell malfunction and death.
How much cyanide constitutes a “large dose”? We looked it up, and were a bit shocked: It seems that a single cherry pit contains enough cyanide to be potentially lethal for a 160-pound human. A potentially lethal dose of cyanide is just 0.1 grams. A cherry pit carries approximately 0.17 grams in a single seed.
Don’t rush to the hospital if you swallow a cherry pit, though. The cyanide is contained inside the pit’s sturdy exterior. You can’t digest the outside of the pit — so if you swallow it, the chemical is just passing through you, safe and sound inside the pit’s hard shell. But if the pit shatters somehow — or if you bite it open — do not swallow. (You likely won’t anyhow since it will taste abominable.) Spit the broken pit out and never do that again.
Who knew that fruit was one of the most dangerous things in your kitchen?
Storing fresh peaches for a long time
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Each year I preserve peaches in a variety of ways, stashing some for us to enjoy and some to use as gifts. (I have yet to find someone who does not appreciate homemade peach jam.) In this post I’ll cover the easiest way to peel peaches, as well as canning, dehydrating, freezing, peach jam and freeze drying peaches.
My youngest loves peaches, so we stock up every year. We’re still working on trying to get peach trees to survive as part of our permaculture food forest. We’re right at the edge of peach friendly territory, but our place gets a lot of wind, which the trees don’t like very much.
Which peaches are best for which use?
For canning and freeze drying peaches, use those that are ripe but still firm. Softer peaches are better for jam or dehydrating. Clingstone peaches (where the flesh sticks to the pit) are easier to use for jam, because it’s tough to get clean slices.
Once the skins are off your peaches, you need to work fast. Even with lemon water or commercial anti-browning products, the clock is ticking as soon as the skins come off. I prep my preserving equipment before I start peeling. That way, the peaches can go immediately into the canner, dehydrator or freeze dryer as soon as the skins are off.
The Easiest Way to Peel Peaches
Before canning, drying or freeze drying peaches, I remove the skins. I highly recommend this step. The skins get really chewy after drying, and strangely slimy after canning. You can use a knife or peeler to remove the skins, but blanching is much easier.
What you need to blanch/peel peaches:
- Large pot of boiling water
- Slotted spoon or other large scoop to remove the peaches from the boiling water
- Bowl to move the peaches from the stove to the cold water
- Large basin of cold water/ice water to stop the blanching
- Large bowl with acidified water for peeled peaches (to prevent browning) – use roughly 2 tablespoons lemon juice or 1 teaspoon citric acid per gallon of water
To peel the peaches:
- Bring water to rolling boil.
- Place 6-8 peaches in water (depending on pot size).
- Keep peaches in boiling water for one minute.
- Remove peaches from boiling water. Place peaches in chilled water until cool enough to handle.
- Slip off skins and place peaches in acidified water.
- Repeat until all peaches are done, then proceed with additional processing.
When blanching, you want to work quickly, so no peach is in too long. Too much time in the pot and they will cook and get soft. Similarly, once skinned and in the acidified water, they will absorb water and get soft and brown. If you’re processing a lot of peaches, get help if you can, or work in small batches.
I demonstrate how to remove peach skins via blanching in the video below. (Make sure your ad blocker is off for video to display.)
Put child labor to work peeling peaches if you have lots of peaches.
My best kitchen helpers, circa 2011.
I usually let the boys finish peeling while I prep everything else for canning. I remove the pits and either half or quarter the peaches, depending on the jar size (I use wide mouth quart jars for peach halves) and make sure the cut edges are exposed to the lemon water to prevent browning.
Preserve Peaches – Canning – Cold Pack Method
I prefer to cold pack peaches, which means the fruit is loaded in the jars at room temperature and then boiling syrup is poured over the top. I think the peaches stay firmer and more attractive using this method, even though they float more in the jar.
Canning Equipment You Will Need:
- hot water bath canner
- clean and sterilized quart jars (I run mine through the dishwasher and time it so they are hot when I’m ready to can)
- lids and rings in hot (not boiling) water
- jar lifter
- tongs or lid lifter to grab rings
- clean cloth to wipe jar rims
- wooden spoon for stirring
- chopstick to remove air bubbles
- Light syrup (recipe below)
I like to work from left to right on my stove. Fill on the left side, process center, unload finished jars on a waiting cloth next to the right side of the stove.
Light Sugar Syrup Recipe
- 2 1/2 cup sugar
- 5 1/4 cups water
To prepare syrup, while heating water, add sugar slowly, stirring constantly to dissolve. Bring to a gentle boil.
Sugar acts as a preservative by binding up free water in the fruit (see The Natural Canning Resource Book). You may use less sugar, substitute honey for the sugar, or can in fruit juice. Using less sugar will give your product a shorter shelf life and quicker discoloration.
I have found that the light simple syrup proportions strike a good balance between extending storage time and not being too sweet. Note: The juice from the peaches also makes a great flavoring for homemade water kefir.
To Can the Peaches
Drain peaches in a colander. Fill jars to 1/2 inch headspace. Ladle on hot syrup.
Run your chopstick or small non-metallic spatula between the peaches and the jar to remove air bubbles. (Metal may scratch the inside of the jar). Add extra syrup if needed to have fruit and syrup level 1/2 inch from lid. Wipe rim clean, screw on lid (not too tight – air must escape during processing).
Place jars on rack in canner. When canner is full, lower jars into water. Make sure jars are covered by 1-2 inches of water. Bring to boil, process (boil gently) – pints 20 minutes, quarts 25 minutes.
When the cooking time is up, remove jars and place on a towel away from heat and any drafts.
After 12-24 hours, check lids for seal. Standard lids should be concave in the center and held down tightly. I love listening to the “ping” as the jars seal!
For long term storage, remove rings, wipe up any spills. Label and date (I write on the lids with a Sharpie marker). Store in a cool, dry location out of direct sunlight for best shelf life. (See top photo for finished peaches.)
Drying Peaches in a Dehydrator – One of the Simplest Ways to Preserve Peaches
Dehydrating is an easy way to preserve peaches. I dry whatever I can’t easily fit in the canner, or peaches that are too soft to can or bruised. You can also dry whole peach halves with the skin on (like commercial dried peaches), but they take much longer to dehydrate.
These peach slices dehydrate overnight. The finished slices are light and slightly chewy, not gummy like peach halves.
To Dehydrate Peaches:
- Thinly slice your peeled peaches
- Dip peach slices in the lemon water to prevent browning (optional)
- Drain the slices in a strainer
- Place peach slices on a dehydrator tray or a mesh insert
- Dry at around 135-140 °F until leathery or crisp (about 8-12 hours), depending on thickness of slices. I usually dry mine overnight.
I highly recommend using the mesh inserts (default option for the Excalibur, optional in the Snackmaster). The peaches are very sticky and are hard to remove from the trays without the inserts. With the inserts, you just bend them and the dried fruit pops right off.
Store in an airtight container out of direct sunlight. If I have a lot of a particular dried fruit, I vacuum seal it in mason jars with the vacuum sealer attachment. These make great snacks and can also be added to homemade granola or fruit and nut mixes. If you’ve got a LOT of dried fruit, Mary Bell’s Dehydrator cookbook has some good recipes for pies and other baked goods using dried fruit.
Freezing is one of the simplest way to preserve peaches. As with the other methods, I start by peeling my peaches. After peeling, I slice them and dip them in acidified water to prevent browning. Drain well.
Spread peaches in a single layer on a baking sheet covered with a silicon mat or reusable parchment paper. Freeze several hours or overnight. Pack the frozen slices into freezer containers, or vacuum seal for best storage. Freezing on trays before packaging makes it easy to take a little or a lot of peaches from a package when you are ready to use them.
Peach Jam Recipes
I enjoy making low sugar peach jam with Pomona’s Pectin. You can find my favorite recipes in the post “Peach Jam Two Ways – Peach Vanilla and Fuzzy Navel” and “Peach Raspberry Jam – “Blushing” Peach Jam is a Wonderful Summer Treat“. Peach jam is wonderful on toast, Brie cheese or ice cream.
Preserve Peaches – Freeze Dry Peaches
Peaches are our favorite food to date from our Harvest Right home freeze dryer – pure ambrosia. Everything we’ve dried has been good (although I wouldn’t do breakfast sausage again), but the peaches are exceptional.
Properly stored freeze dried products can be stored up to 25 years. This is hands down the best long term storage option to preserve peaches.
Freeze dried peaches melt in your mouth with intense peachy goodness. They rehydrate with a texture that is very similar to fresh peaches.
To freeze dry peaches, peel, slice, dip and drain as you would for dehydrating. Place in a single layer on freeze dryer trays, preferably lined with reusable parchment paper.
Process in freeze dryer until completely dry (there should be no cold spots in the center of the slices). Peaches are high moisture and high sugar, so the cycle will likely take over 24 hours. Store in a vacuum sealed mason jar or Mylar pouch with oxygen absorbers.
Click on the Image Above to Learn More About Home Freeze Dryers
So there you go! Lots of ways to preserve peaches to enjoy all year long. If you’ve enjoyed this post, please consider Sharing or Pinning.
You may also enjoy:
- 12 Ways to Preserve Strawberries – Plus Tips to Keep Berries Fresh Longer
- Preserving Apples – Making Applesauce, Apple leather and Dried Apple Slices
- 25+ Asparagus Recipes + 4 Ways to Store Asparagus
Originally published in 2011, last updated in 2019.
Saving Peach Seeds – How To Store Peach Pits For Planting
Can you save peach pits for planting next season? This is a question asked by perhaps every gardener who has just finished a peach and is looking down at the pit in their hand. The easy answer is: yes! The slightly more complicated answer is: yes, but it won’t necessarily reproduce the peach you just ate. If you’re looking to eat more of your beloved peaches, go buy some more. If you’re looking for an adventure in gardening and a new variety of peach that may be even more delicious, then keep reading to learn how to store peach pits.
Saving Peach Seeds
Storing peach seeds may not be necessary, depending upon where you live. In order to germinate, peach pits have to be exposed to prolonged cold temperatures. If your climate experiences long, reliably cold winters, you can just plant your peach pit directly in the ground. If you don’t get hard winters, or just want the more hands-on approach, saving peach seeds makes sense.
The first step to storing peach seeds is washing and drying them. Run your pit under water and scrub away any flesh. If your peach was especially ripe, the hard outer husk of the pit may have split open, revealing the seed within. Extracting this seed will greatly increase your chance of germination, but you have to be careful not to nick or cut the seed in any way.
Store it out in the open overnight to dry it out. Then put it in a slightly opened plastic bag in the refrigerator. The inside of the bag should be slightly damp, with condensation on the inside. If the bag seems to be drying out, add a tiny bit of water, shake it around, and drain it. You want to keep the pit slightly moist, but not moldy.
Make sure you don’t store apples or bananas in the refrigerator at the same time – these fruits exude gas, called ethylene, which could cause the pit to ripen prematurely.
How to Store Peach Pits
When should peach pits be planted? Not yet! Saving peach seeds like this should be done until December or January, when you can begin germination. Soak your pit in water for a few hours, then put it in a new bag with some moistened soil.
Put it back in the refrigerator. After a month or two, it should start to sprout. Once a healthy root begins to show, then it’s time to plant your pit in a pot.