Though its forests, lakes, and wildlife are well known, not all of Minnesota’s natural resources are fit for human consumption. Certain fruits that grow well in the state are extremely dangerous to people’s and animals’ health. Here, we’ve highlighted five of the riskiest fruits in Minnesota and discussed why it’s best to avoid them.
The elderberry is a shrub that grows in damp places such as fields, ditches, streams, and roadsides. It has clusters of small, dark purple berries. The majority of the plant is toxic because of a glycoside that causes cyanide in the roots, stems, leaves, and seeds, even though the fruit can be used to make jam, pies, and wine. Poisoning someone can result in death, coma, vomiting, or diarrhea. It’s advisable to stay away from elderberries entirely if you’re not sure how to recognize and handle them securely.
Round, red or yellow fruits are produced by the wild plum, a shrub or small tree that grows in thickets, alongside roadsides, pastures, riverbanks, and abandoned farmsteads. The fruit is good for sauce, pies, jam, and preserves, but if eaten in large quantities, the amygdalin in the seeds, leaves, and bark releases cyanide. Poisoning can cause nausea, vomiting, headaches, dizziness, and even death.
The wild grape is a vine that grows high into trees and is found in grasslands, swamps, and wooded areas. Although the sour, spherical, purple fruit can be eaten raw or prepared into juice, jelly, or wine, care must be taken because the oxalic acid in the leaves and stems can irritate the skin and mucous membranes. Tannins found in unripe fruit and seeds can damage kidneys if ingested in excess. Wild grapes need to be harvested and prepared with caution and moderation.
Juneberry, sometimes referred to as saskatoon or serviceberry, grows along the margins of valleys, damp ravines, and woodlands. The fruit, which has purplish-black fruits that resemble blueberries and white blooms, can be used to make sauce, jam, drinks, and jellies. But when chewed or broken down, juneberry seeds’ substance, sambunigrin, releases cyanide. Large-scale consumption can cause cyanide poisoning, which can cause unconsciousness, disorientation, convulsions, coma, or even death.
Highbush Cranberry, despite its name, is a shrub that grows in swampy places, thickets, and chilly woodlands; it is not a true cranberry. Its berries range in shape from round to oblong, yellow to dark red, and contain viburnine, which when consumed uncooked or in excess can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Although the fruit’s toxicity is reduced when cooked, eating should still be done carefully.
The wild and edible fruits of Minnesota have a variety of tastes and health advantages, but they can also be dangerous. Certain fruits have poisons in them that, if taken in excess, can be dangerous or even deadly. It’s crucial to recognize, gather, and prepare these fruits properly. When in doubt, it’s best to stay away from them completely and just eat fruits from the store.
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