Whether you're making a summer salad or baking a sweet treat, you may come in contact with a few ingredients that have a connection to harmful or deadly chemicals and compounds. In this article, you will learn why you should be aware of the preparation of foods with tomatoes, rhubarb, nutmeg, cherries and almonds.
Unlike other fruits and vegetables, eating the leaves and other parts of the tomato plant is detrimental to your health. The leaves and stems contain a chemical called glycoalkaloid, which can cause a person to experience nervousness and an upset stomach. However, some people still use these plant parts when cooking, as it can enhance the flavor of dishes. They must be removed before someone eats the meal.
Rhubarb is a versatile plant that has been used to flavor desserts, as well as offer home remedies. For more than 5,000 years, the roots of the plant have been used as a stool softener and laxative. However, the leaves are not to be eaten, as they contain an unknown poison. In addition to the poisonous leaves, the plant is known to produce a corrosive acid that when mixed with water and soda – becomes even more powerful.
Adding flavor to pies, soups and other desserts, nutmeg is a popular spice in the American kitchen – especially when Thanksgiving rolls around. The spice is native to Indonesia and also possesses a lesser-known secret. In small doses, the spice is fine to consume, but in large doses – one can experience hallucinations that are followed by convulsions, nausea, and even death. Pregnant women are also warned to stay away from nutmeg because large quantities could affect their pregnancy.
The delightful color and flavor of the cherry has found its way into a multitude of dessert recipes, but the popular fruit harbors highly poisonous compounds in its pits. When the seed of a cherry is crushed, chewed or even slightly injured, they generate prussic acid (or hydrogen cyanide). This is why you should not suck on or chew the pit of a cherry when eating them raw. Interestingly, the cherry belongs to the same family as apricots, plums, and peaches, where they all contain poisonous compounds in their leaves and seeds.
Contrary to popular belief, an almond is not a nut, but instead, a seed. For many years, almonds have found a place in the world of cooking that includes pastries, cookies, and even main entrees. The almonds that contain the strongest flavor are called bitter almonds. They possess a strong scent and are quite popular across the world. However, they are full of cyanide. Before you can eat these kinds of almonds, they must undergo a process to remove the poison. Even though this is required, some countries have outlawed the sale of bitter almonds. In the United States, you cannot sell raw almonds – it is now illegal. The almonds that are sold in the U.S. are now treated with heat so that traces of the poison and any bacteria can be removed.
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