To get an 8-ounce glass of cherry juice, you’d need at least a hundred cherries, leaving you with many cherry pits. Swallowing one whole now and then while snacking on them isn’t deadly, but what do you do with the rest of your pits? We certainly cannot recycle them, so we must consider other environmentally conscious options.
Of all the uniform waste disposal methods, many people believe composting cherry pits is the most reasonable way to dispose of them properly. However, they’re also strong, so will they break down in a compost pit?
This blog post will explore your environmentally friendly waste disposal options for cherry pits. You’ll also discover how poisonous these tiny rich-brown seeds are. So, don’t stop reading!
What are Cherry Pits?
Nature offers us many fruits to choose from, enabling our cravings and tastes. Cherries are among our diverse options. Their seeds are called cherry pits and are the focal point of this piece.
Cherries are “stone fruits” because of the rigidity of their seeds. The center of these tasty red bits contains a hard shell. Now, swallowing this part without crushing it isn’t problematic.
However, the small nut you’ll discover when you break it open is loaded with a poison called cyanide. You’ve probably heard one or two things about the potency of this substance.
Fruits of this category are more rampant than you think and are called drupes. Plums, peaches, pecans, walnuts, and cherries are common examples. The hard shell at the center of these fruits is called a pit.
Although it’s typically poisonous, it goes through the digestive system and emerges as human waste when we swallow it whole. Since the shell is quite sturdy, it won’t break during digestion.
However, we cannot say the same when the pits are crushed. They expose the body to amygdalin, a substance that develops into a poisonous chemical after ingestion occurs.
Animals in the wild rely on stone fruits. After all, their tasty, nutritious, and easily accessible. Only the fleshy part of mangoes, plums, cherries, and peaches are eaten. However, the shell around the seed has adapted to become strong and will remain protected even after passing through an animal’s digestive system.
After emerging, the pit finds a portion of the soil it can germinate properly. Then, the hard shell weakens to allow growth. So essentially, a cherry pit is a sturdy protective layer that encases the seed until it’s ready for germination.
But again, if these cherry pits are deliberately consumed, keep reading to find out what happens!
Can You Compost Cherry Pits?
How familiar are you with composting? General knowledge is that the pile is made of rotten materials that benefit plants. However, not just any decomposable material can go in a compost pile, even though you can technically compost all organic matter. We’ll tell you why.
Some wastes, particularly from the kitchen, attract vermin. Rodents will easily detect their potent and attractive smell, and you can guess what happens next!
Unless you employ some common tactics to keep pests away, they’ll destroy your compost pile or attack your bin. If your region is prone to such attacks, you may consider investing in a compost bin instead of a pile because it provides more resistance.
So, it’s not uncommon to stop to consider if a material can go in the compost pile before putting it there. The more prevalent items found in most compost piles are kitchen waste, but backyard waste that can decay is acceptable.
Now, you can compost cherry pits seamlessly, but the decomposition process is slightly slower. The seeds are so fascinating. If you recall, the hard shell houses a small nut, which is highly selective about the soil it grows in. This is because it has adapted to pass through the digestive system of wild animals and can be excreted anywhere.
Thus, their adaptation makes them fiercely resist decomposition, but it eventually happens. Regardless of how strong a material is, the activity of microbes, oxygen, moisture, and heat will finally break it down. It may take ages, but biodegradation will occur.
The same can be said about cherry pits. They won’t break down fast but leave them for a while, and they’ll be pliable compost material. If the pits are much larger, you must be willing to wait for a significant period for decay to occur.
Because of the small size of these seeds, it’s almost impossible to determine how long it takes for them to decompose. But if you keep turning the compost contents weekly, there’ll be an appropriate distribution of the materials required to speed up the process.
How Long Do Cherry Pits Take to Decompose?
All the materials in your compost pile can’t decompose at once. Because of their varying decomposition processes, you may have to leave your compost until the longest-standing material breaks down.
Now, the biodegradation rate is dependent on the rigidity of the material. Naturally, leftover rice will decompose much faster than grass clippings.
So, how long do cherry pits take to decompose? Well, the answer is highly varying. And there have been several claims that a large one can take up to a decade for biodegradation.
However, your composting conditions also play a role in it. Again, some microbes are required for biodegradation. There must also be a balanced portion of moisture, heat, and oxygen.
If you keep rotating the materials as experts recommend, who knows if your seeds will break down faster? Just remember, it’s all dependent on the pits’ size, the pile’s temperature, adequate moisture content, and regular turning.
What is the Best Way to Compost Fruit Pits?
Composting is now a go-to method for environmentally safe waste disposal. It also helps that the nutrients in this pile are highly beneficial to plants.
Instead of buying fertilizers from the store, backyard composting is how every farmer cuts back on cost. Of course, it also offers the satisfaction of turning household waste into black gold.
It’s not uncommon to avoid composting cherry pits, potato peelings, and easily sprouting materials. Many people also believe they can’t prevent the lengthy period pits required before decomposition.
But again, green thumbs have found a way around this; there are some hacks you can incorporate to better compost cherry pits.
First, you can soak them in some water overnight; this weakens the external shell and makes it easy for the next step. However, it sometimes takes longer when the pits are larger and more resistant. Afterward, add enough water to pulverize them and add it to your compost pile.
Alternatively, you can leave them in water for many days until they soften noticeably. This means you may sometimes have to change the water because it gets smelly. Then, sieve out the pits and spread them around your compost.
Another option is to boil some water or use wastewater from pasta or rice. Heat application is an excellent way to weaken the resistance of the shells, which will give in after several repetitions.
You can also crush them manually to make it easier for microbes to break them down. Finally, you can burn the cherry pits in your yard and scoop the ash over the compost pile. This method is popular because the ash contains all the nutrients required.
But again, gardeners sometimes wonder what happens when uncrushed cherry pits find their way into garden soil. This isn’t uncommon, but it doesn’t mean it’ll germinate in the end. These seeds are pretty particular about their growing conditions.
On the other hand, if you find whole seeds in your ready compost, you can simply re-compost them. Remember that crushing compostable items into smaller pieces makes decomposition easier, so you can break the pits into smaller pieces before composting them again.
Can You Throw Cherry Pits Outside?
Roman soldiers had to feast on cherry pits in Ancient Rome, and they had a habit of spitting the pits around. The seeds germinated and became plenteous throughout the empire. A common saying was that you only had to follow the wild cherry trees to find all the old Roman roads.
Perhaps this is where the widespread belief that throwing cherry pits out would result in cherry trees years later. Of course, many people have also complained about not finding trees in their wake.
Well, you can throw cherry pits outside. We can’t promise that a tree will sprout in a few years. However, this isn’t the best method for the environment. Instead of throwing them away, you can use them to enhance the flavor of your meal, make decorative pieces, and serve as a tasty barbecue glaze.
Are Cherry Pits Poisonous?
Have you ever accidentally swallowed a cherry pit before? Common knowledge is that they’re poisonous and should never be ingested. Well, that’s largely true.
However, there’s a caveat. You see, cherries are plants that grow in the wild. They are tasty and aren’t poisonous, so animals feed on them.
Unlike other stone fruits, cherries are too small for most wild animals to painstakingly devour, leaving out the seeds. Since they ingest the whole fruit, the pits have adapted to survive the digestive process.
The fleshy part will break down, and the remains of the cherries would go down the excretory system. Happy cherry pits will burst out and remain encased until they’re ready to germinate.
Now, that’s when you consume the pits without crushing them. Crushed, they become seeds, which contain a deadly poison called amygdalin. It’s a cyanogenic compound that your body processes into cyanide.
It can severely damage the body if it’s ingested in a large quantity. The respiratory system, and organs like the brain and heart, are direct victims of its immediate attack. Cyanide is particularly deadly because of the manner it poisons the body. It begins by blocking airflow, which results in the loss of consciousness.
There have been live occurrences of people consuming large quantities of cherry seeds. Because of the high concentration of amygdalin in each pit, sometimes you only need to digest four or five for cyanide poisoning to set it.
That’s why it’s dangerous to consume them in any form. However, because of the respective quantities of amygdalin in each cherry pit, your body weight also determines how affected you’ll be.
Here’s another point of note – keep cherry pits away from children! Even though the cherries are also a choking hazard for children under eight years, the pits can be chewed alongside the fruit. Soon after ingestion, intoxication occurs, and nausea, convulsions, and headaches equally set in.
Difficulty breathing may also indicate that your child has ingested a substantial amount of cherry pits. This requires an immediate visit to the hospital!
Composting is most suitable for cherry pits of all the available waste disposal methods. Although they don’t decompose immediately, you can improve the conditions to accelerate the process.