Skip to content

Do cherries have seeds

Did you know that cherries, those juicy and vibrant fruits, come with a hidden surprise? Nestled within their flesh lies a small stone-like structure known as the cherry pit. But here’s the burning question: are these cherry pits, along with peaches, apricots, and plums, safe for consumption? It’s a topic that has intrigued many, sparking debates and curiosity among fruit enthusiasts.

Caution is advised when consuming cherries, both sweet and sour, as the whole cherry pits can be a hazard. The safety of consuming cherries depends on various factors, from understanding how to navigate around the pits using a chopstick to exploring the antioxidants they contain. We’ll shed light on all aspects surrounding this intriguing topic.

So, if you’ve ever wondered about munching on sour cherries, sweet cherries, cherry pits, or apricot kernels, or simply want to learn more about these fascinating fruits and rice, keep reading! We’ll uncover the secrets behind these little stones and help you make an informed decision about incorporating them into your diet.

Cyanide Content in Cherry Pits: Is it Harmful?

Cherry pits, also known as cherry stones, contain amygdalin, which can release cyanide when metabolized. This compound is found in both sweet cherries and sour cherries. It’s important to be aware of this when enjoying these fruits. Additionally, apricot kernels also contain amygdalin.

The Role of Amygdalin

Amygdalin is a naturally occurring compound found in various fruits and nuts, including cherries, apricot kernels, and whole cherry pits. It acts as a defense mechanism for the plant, deterring animals from consuming its seeds. When ingested, amygdalin is broken down by enzymes in the digestive system and releases hydrogen cyanide. The amount of amygdalin varies depending on the fruit or nut, ranging from 20 to 60 mg per 100 grams.

Small Amounts Are Generally Safe

While the thought of consuming cyanide from chewing or swallowing cherry pits, whether they are sour cherries or sweet cherries, or even apricot kernels from stone fruits, may sound alarming, it’s essential to note that the amount of cyanide released is typically minimal and not harmful to humans. In fact, our bodies have natural detoxification mechanisms that can handle small doses of cyanide without causing any adverse effects.

Potential Risks of Large Quantities

The real concern arises when large quantities of crushed or chewed sour cherry pits or sweet cherry pits are consumed. This can result in an excessive release of cyanide into the body, leading to potential poisoning. Symptoms of cyanide poisoning include dizziness, headache, nausea, vomiting, rapid breathing, and even loss of consciousness. Additionally, it’s important to note that consuming rice does not have the same risk of cyanide poisoning.

To put things into perspective, it would take quite a substantial amount of sweet cherries’ pits to reach toxic levels. However, it’s crucial to exercise caution and avoid regularly consuming large quantities of rice or intentionally crushing/chewing sweet cherries’ pits.

Understanding the Risks

It’s essential for individuals who enjoy cherries with their pits intact, including the cherry seed, to be aware of the potential risks associated with excessive consumption. While accidental ingestion of the cherry seed may not cause harm due to our body’s ability to process small amounts of cyanide effectively, intentional consumption or repeated exposure to the cherry seed could pose serious health risks.

To minimize any potential dangers, consider the following guidelines:

  • Enjoy cherries in moderation: Eating a few cherries with their pits occasionally is unlikely to cause any harm.
  • Discard damaged or crushed pits: If you notice any signs of damage or crushing in the cherry pits, it’s best to discard them rather than risk accidental cyanide exposure.
  • Educate children about the risks: Ensure that young children understand the importance of not chewing on cherry pits et al and avoid leaving them within their reach.

By understanding and respecting these potential risks, you can continue to savor the deliciousness of cherries without compromising your well-being. Cherries are a delightful summer treat, and as long as we consume them responsibly, there’s no need to worry about the small amount of cyanide they contain in their pits.

Effects of Cyanide Poisoning and Lethal Amounts

Cyanide poisoning is a serious condition that can have severe consequences if not treated promptly. Symptoms of cyanide toxicity include dizziness, headache, nausea, and difficulty breathing. In more severe cases, high levels of cyanide can be lethal and may lead to coma or even death.

The likelihood of experiencing cyanide poisoning from consuming cherry pits is relatively low. However, it’s crucial to exercise caution and moderation when ingesting these seeds.

Cyanide is naturally present in certain foods, including cherries. It is found in the form of cyanogenic glycosides, which are compounds that release hydrogen cyanide when metabolized by enzymes in the body. Although cherry pits contain small amounts of these compounds, they usually pose minimal risk to humans.

The Missouri Poison Center advises that swallowing a few cherry pits is unlikely to cause any harm. The human body can tolerate very low amounts of cyanide without adverse effects. In fact, studies have shown that it would take consuming an extremely large quantity of cherry pits (around 1-2 cups) at once to reach potentially lethal levels.

If someone were to ingest a significant amount of cherry pits or experience symptoms such as vomiting, low blood pressure, rapid breathing, or decreased oxygen levels after consumption, it is essential to seek medical attention immediately.

It’s worth noting that cooking or baking cherries, including the cherry pit, typically breaks down most of the cyanogenic glycosides present in the fruit and reduces their potential toxicity. So enjoying cooked or processed cherries, including those with the cherry pit, poses an even lower risk compared to consuming raw ones.

While there have been rare cases reported where individuals experienced adverse effects from consuming large quantities of cherry pits or other sources containing higher concentrations of cyanogenic glycosides (such as bitter almonds), these instances are exceptional and not representative of typical consumption patterns.

Furthermore, research suggests that cyanide derived from natural sources like cherry pits may even have potential health benefits. Some studies have shown that cyanide can inhibit the growth of cancer cells and has been explored as a possible treatment for certain types of cancer.

Do Cherries Have Seeds? Growing Cherry Trees from Pits: Methods and Tips

Growing cherry trees from pits is an economical way to propagate new trees. Instead of buying saplings or grafted plants, you can start your own cherry tree orchard by planting the seeds found within ripe cherries. It’s a rewarding process that allows you to witness the growth and development of these beautiful fruit-bearing trees right from the beginning. Here are some methods and tips to help you successfully grow cherry trees from pits.

Start by selecting ripe cherries with healthy-looking seeds for planting. Look for cherries that are fully matured, plump, and have a vibrant color. These characteristics indicate that the seeds inside are more likely to be viable for germination. Remember, it’s essential to choose several pits as not all of them will successfully sprout into trees.

Once you have gathered several pits, it’s time to prepare them for planting. Begin by removing the flesh surrounding each pit carefully. You can use your fingers or a small knife for this task. Afterward, soak the pits in water for a few days. This soaking process helps to soften the hard outer shell of the seed, making it easier for germination to occur.

After soaking, it’s time to plant the cherry pits in well-draining soil. Choose a sunny spot in your garden or use containers if space is limited. Make sure that the soil is loose and fertile enough to support root growth. Dig holes approximately 1 inch deep and place one pit in each hole.

Watering is crucial during the early stages of growth for pit cherries. While it’s important not to overwater, make sure that the soil remains consistently moist but not saturated. Avoid letting the soil dry out completely as this can hinder germination of cherry pits.

As your cherry tree begins to grow, it requires adequate sunlight for optimal development. Ensure that it receives at least six hours of direct sunlight daily to pit cherries.

Be patient throughout this process as it takes time to pit cherries and for the cherry tree to establish itself. Germination of the cherry pits can take several weeks or even a few months, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t see immediate results. Remember to continue watering and providing sufficient sunlight for the pit cherries.

Once your cherry tree has grown into a sapling, it’s important to care for it properly. Regularly prune any dead or damaged branches, and provide additional support if needed. Protect the young tree from pests and diseases by using organic pest control methods.

Types of Cherry Trees and Caring Instructions

Sweet Cherries vs Sour Cherries

There are two common types that you should know about: sweet cherries (Prunus avium) and sour cherries (Prunus cerasus). These two varieties have distinct characteristics and uses.

Sweet cherries are the type you typically find at the grocery store. They are enjoyed fresh, right off the tree or in various culinary creations. Their juicy flesh and mild flavor make them a popular choice for snacking. Some popular sweet cherry cultivars include Bing, Rainier, and Stella.

On the other hand, sour cherries have a more tart taste that adds a delightful tanginess to dishes. These cherries are often used for cooking and baking purposes due to their lower sugar content. Sour cherry pies, jams, and preserves are just a few examples of how these fruits can be utilized in the kitchen. Common sour cherry varieties include Montmorency and Morello.

Growing Conditions for Cherry Trees

To ensure healthy growth and abundant fruit production, cherry trees require specific growing conditions. These trees thrive in areas with full sun exposure, so choose a location in your garden that receives at least six hours of direct sunlight each day.

Well-draining soil is crucial for cherry tree cultivation as they dislike waterlogged conditions. If your soil tends to retain moisture or has poor drainage, consider amending it with organic matter such as compost or well-rotted manure to improve its structure.

Caring for Your Cherry Tree

Caring for cherry trees involves several essential tasks such as pruning, fertilizing, and protecting against pests.

  1. Pruning: Regular pruning helps maintain the shape of the tree while promoting airflow within its canopy (et al). It is best done during late winter or early spring before new growth begins.
  2. Fertilizing: Providing adequate nutrients is important for the overall health and productivity of your cherry tree. Apply a balanced fertilizer in early spring, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  3. Pest Control: Cherry trees are susceptible to various pests such as aphids, caterpillars, and fruit flies. Monitor your tree regularly and take appropriate measures to control these pests if necessary. Organic insecticides or natural predators can be used for eco-friendly pest management.
  4. Disease Prevention: Cherries are prone to diseases like brown rot and powdery mildew. To prevent these issues, ensure good airflow around the tree by pruning properly and avoiding excessive crowding with other plants.

Remember to water your cherry tree regularly during dry periods, especially when it is young and establishing its root system.

Starting Indoors or Outdoors: Planting Cherry Seeds

Cherry seeds, also known as pits, can be successfully planted both indoors and outdoors. Each method has its advantages and considerations to keep in mind. Whether you choose to start your cherry seeds indoors or directly sow them outdoors will depend on various factors such as your climate and personal preferences.

Indoor Starting for Better Control

Starting cherry seeds indoors provides you with better control over the germination conditions. This method involves a process called stratification, which mimics the natural winter dormancy period that cherry seeds experience before sprouting. To stratify the seeds, begin by cleaning them thoroughly and removing any leftover fruit flesh.

Next, dampen a paper towel or place the seeds in a container with moistened peat moss. Seal the container and store it in the refrigerator for about 10 weeks. This cold stratification process helps break down the seed’s hard outer shell, enhancing germination rates.

Once the stratification period is complete, remove the seeds from the refrigerator and plant them in seedling trays filled with a well-draining potting mix. Make sure to plant each seed at a depth of approximately one inch (2.5 cm) below the surface.

Outdoor Planting Mimicking Nature

If you prefer to follow nature’s course more closely, directly sowing cherry seeds outdoors is an alternative option. This method allows you to take advantage of natural processes while requiring less intervention on your part.

To get started, choose a suitable location in your garden bed that receives ample sunlight throughout the day. Prepare the soil by removing any weeds or debris and loosening it up using a garden fork or tiller.

Fall or early spring are ideal times for outdoor planting as they provide optimal conditions for germination. Simply scatter the cleaned cherry seeds across your prepared garden bed and lightly cover them with a thin layer of soil.

Considering Climate and Personal Preferences

When deciding between indoor or outdoor planting, it’s essential to consider your climate and personal preferences. Indoor starting is particularly beneficial if you live in an area with a short growing season or harsh winters. By giving the seeds a head start indoors, you can ensure they have enough time to germinate and develop into healthy seedlings before transplanting them outside.

On the other hand, if you reside in a region with mild climates and longer growing seasons, direct sowing outdoors may be a viable option. This method allows the seeds to experience natural temperature fluctuations and stratification processes without the need for artificial intervention.

Ultimately, the choice between starting cherry seeds indoors or outdoors depends on your specific circumstances and gardening goals. Experimentation can be an exciting way to discover what works best for you.

So whether you opt for indoor control or outdoor mimicry of nature, planting cherry seeds is an enjoyable activity that can yield beautiful trees laden with delicious fruits.

Safety Precautions when Consuming Cherry Pits

To ensure your safety while enjoying cherries, it is important to be aware of the potential hazards associated with consuming cherry pits. While cherries are a delightful and nutritious fruit, their pits contain compounds that can pose risks if not handled properly.

Avoid Crushing or Chewing Cherry Pits

One crucial safety measure is to avoid crushing or chewing cherry pits. The pits of cherries contain amygdalin, a compound that can release cyanide when metabolized by the body. By refraining from crushing or breaking the pits, you minimize the risk of releasing harmful amounts of cyanide into your system.

Swallow Whole Pits without Breaking Them

Swallowing whole cherry pits without breaking them is generally safe as they pass through the digestive system intact. The hard outer shell protects the inner kernel from being exposed to digestive enzymes that could potentially release cyanide. However, it’s important to note that even though swallowing whole pits is usually safe, moderation is key. Excessive consumption should be avoided to prevent any potential complications.

Seek Medical Attention for Ingested Crushed Pits or Symptoms of Cyanide Poisoning

If you accidentally ingest crushed cherry pits or experience symptoms of cyanide poisoning such as dizziness, headache, rapid breathing, or confusion, seek medical attention immediately. Prompt medical intervention is essential in such cases to ensure proper evaluation and treatment.

Educate Children about the Potential Dangers

Educating children about the potential dangers associated with consuming cherry pits is crucial in preventing accidents. Children may not be aware of the hazards posed by these seemingly harmless fruit seeds. Teach them not to chew on or crush cherry pits and emphasize the importance of swallowing them whole if they choose to consume them.

By following these safety precautions and educating yourself and others about the potential risks, you can enjoy cherries without compromising your well-being. Cherries are a delicious and nutritious fruit, but it’s essential to exercise caution when dealing with their pits. Remember, moderation is key.

So next time you indulge in these delightful fruits, remember to handle the pits with care and savor the juicy goodness while keeping yourself safe from any potential hazards.

Stay safe and happy cherry eating!

Note: The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be considered as medical advice. If you have any concerns or questions about consuming cherry pits, please consult a healthcare professional.


In conclusion, cherries do have seeds, commonly known as pits. These pits contain a small amount of cyanide, which raises concerns about their safety. However, the cyanide content in cherry pits is generally not harmful unless consumed in large quantities.

While cyanide poisoning can be lethal, it is highly unlikely to occur from eating cherry pits alone. The human body can tolerate small amounts of cyanide, and the quantity found in cherry pits is usually too minimal to cause harm.

If you are interested in growing cherry trees from pits, there are methods and tips you can follow to increase your chances of success. Starting indoors or outdoors depends on your preference and available resources. Regardless of where you choose to plant the seeds, proper care instructions for different types of cherry trees should be followed.

It’s essential to take safety precautions when consuming cherry pits. Avoid biting or crushing them while eating cherries to prevent accidental ingestion. If you prefer eating cherries with the pit intact, be cautious and remove the pit before swallowing.

In summary, while cherries do have seeds (pits), they are generally safe for consumption when handled properly. Growing cherry trees from pits can be an enjoyable project for gardening enthusiasts. Remember to follow recommended care instructions and take necessary safety measures when handling cherry pits.


Q: Are all varieties of cherries suitable for growing trees from seeds?

A: Yes, most varieties of cherries can be grown into trees from seeds with proper care and conditions.

Q: Can I start growing a cherry tree indoors?

A: Yes, starting indoors is a viable option if you provide adequate sunlight and meet the temperature requirements for seed germination.

Q: How long does it take for a cherry seed to grow into a tree?

A: It typically takes several years for a cherry seedling to develop into a mature tree capable of producing fruit; patience is key!

Q: Can I eat cherries with the pits?

A: While it is possible to eat cherries with the pits, it is advisable to remove them before consumption to avoid any potential risks.

Q: Are cherry trees easy to care for?

A: Cherry trees require regular maintenance and care, including proper watering, pruning, and protection against pests and diseases. However, with the right knowledge and effort, they can thrive in your garden.

Remember that cherries are not only delicious but also offer various health benefits. Enjoy this delightful fruit responsibly while appreciating the beauty of growing your own cherry tree!