woods - eating and cooking

Cyclingrelf

Mod
Mod
Jul 15, 2005
1,160
17
45
Penzance, Cornwall
Found this information on Holly
http://www.inchem.org/documents/pims/plant/ilexaqui.htm

All parts of the plant contain active principles (F. Alikaridis, 1987). Ilex aquifolium contains several toxins: saponin, phenolic compounds, terpenoides, sterols, alkaloids, anthocyanines (Thomas, 1980, Alikaridis 1987).

Phenolic derivatives: vanillic acid, p-hydroxybenzoic acid (fruit); Anthocyanines: cyanidin-3-xylosylglucoside (fruit); pelargonidin-3-glucoside (fruit); Flavonoids: quercetin-3-rutinoside (leaves); Terpenoids: alpha-amyrin (bark, leaves, fruit); ursolic acid (leaves, fruit); oleanolic acid (leaves); ilex lactone (fruit); Sterols: ergosterol (leaves); beta-sitosterol (fruit); Alkaloids: theobromine; Fatty acids: pentadecanoic acid (leaves); palmitic acid (leaves); stearic acid (leaves); arachidic acid (leaves); oleic acid (leaves); linolenic acid (leaves); Alkanes: (leaves, fruit) Cyanogenic glucosides: 2 beta-D-glucopyranosyloxy-p-hydroxy-6,7-dihydromande-lonitrile (fruit, leaves, bark). (Alikaridis, 1987; Budzikiewicz, 1979; Willems, 1988)
 

robin wood

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Oct 29, 2007
3,054
1
derbyshire
www.robin-wood.co.uk
Found this information on Holly
http://www.inchem.org/documents/pims/plant/ilexaqui.htm

All parts of the plant contain active principles

Excellent finally something like a scientific report. Still no test result or ref to one showing presence of toxin in wood and below the comment saying toxin occurs in all parts we have

3.2 Poisonous parts of the plant
Leaves, bark, berries contain active principles; no information available on roots.

Among 46 children who had ingested berries of Ilex aquifolium,
only three showed symptoms:

10 month-old child hypersalivation
17 month-old child vomiting and diarrhoea
2 year-old child vomiting and abdominal cramps

Intoxications are almost exclusively seen in children after
ingestion of berries from Ilex aquifolium cultivated in parks,
gardens, or when branches with berries are used ornamentally in
homes.

7.2 Toxicity

7.2.1 Human data

7.2.1.1 Adults

No data available.

7.2.1.2 Children

3 - 5 berries may cause gastrointestinal symptoms.
Although 20 to 30 berries are estimated to be a
"lethal dose" no recent references or cases confirm
this data.

This is a whole different level of toxicity to yew say and I personally am totally happy eating from a holly spoon.
 

Laughoutlouder

Forager
Jun 21, 2009
144
0
Dublin
Thanks Colin.W,
think the Robinia was fresh too.

So I have a question/couple of questions for you guys I just cant find the answers to.......

Can you bbq over elder when green?
Can you bbq over elder when dead and dry?

For a little more info see;
http://www.springerlink.com/content/r87y790brkc6gle4/

This site also seems quite robust with some references I must have a look at when I get a chance;
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/patient-elder.html

So parts of elder contain toxins. I cant find out whether burnging elder will transfer these to food? If the toxins are reduced or absent when wood is dry and dead?

Little help please,

LOL
 

Laughoutlouder

Forager
Jun 21, 2009
144
0
Dublin
Come on guys and girls.
I need help.
Been searching and cant find the info to make the leap between toxicology and bbq!

Need the voices of experience.....
 

robin wood

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Oct 29, 2007
3,054
1
derbyshire
www.robin-wood.co.uk
Come on guys and girls.
I need help.
Been searching and cant find the info to make the leap between toxicology and bbq!

Need the voices of experience.....

I don't have any toxicology info to back this up but from the little anecdotal stuff I read it appears anything involving smoke, smoked foods etc will be to a greater or lesser degree carcinogenic. The quantities of toxin in any British wood other than yew are sufficiently small that you would need to eat a very large quantity of the wood to do yourself any harm. If you inhale the smoke from an elder fire I am sure it would do you no good but that would not be down to any toxin in the wood, just the fact that inhaling smoke is bad for you.

I personally would be entirely happy eating food cooked on any BBQ wood including yew. I don't know if the taxin in yew is flammable or if there is any chance of it traveling in the smoke and depositing itself still in toxic condition on the food but even if it was capable of the latter the quantities we are talking about are not going to be at a level worth worrying about. If you live in a house with UPVC double glazing, open new plastic packaging or paint your house with gloss paint the off-gassing from all that, all day every day and night is (in my opinion) much more likely to do you damage than any level of toxin you are likely to ingest from food cooked over any particular type of wood on a BBQ. Life is not risk free but we live with levels of risk and toxin around us all the time.
 

Laughoutlouder

Forager
Jun 21, 2009
144
0
Dublin
Thanks Robin,

thats helpful. I tend to go off on these little tangents, keeps it interesting though. Burdock is the latest one. Why does it help with nettle stings? It is basic which should help neutralise the formic acid but am wondering whether it also contains some form of antihistamine. Fun fun fun...

I don't have any toxicology info to back this up but from the little anecdotal stuff I read it appears anything involving smoke, smoked foods etc will be to a greater or lesser degree carcinogenic. The quantities of toxin in any British wood other than yew are sufficiently small that you would need to eat a very large quantity of the wood to do yourself any harm. If you inhale the smoke from an elder fire I am sure it would do you no good but that would not be down to any toxin in the wood, just the fact that inhaling smoke is bad for you.

I personally would be entirely happy eating food cooked on any BBQ wood including yew. I don't know if the taxin in yew is flammable or if there is any chance of it traveling in the smoke and depositing itself still in toxic condition on the food but even if it was capable of the latter the quantities we are talking about are not going to be at a level worth worrying about. If you live in a house with UPVC double glazing, open new plastic packaging or paint your house with gloss paint the off-gassing from all that, all day every day and night is (in my opinion) much more likely to do you damage than any level of toxin you are likely to ingest from food cooked over any particular type of wood on a BBQ. Life is not risk free but we live with levels of risk and toxin around us all the time.
 

Harvestman

Bushcrafter through and through
May 11, 2007
8,656
4
51
Pontypool, Wales, Uk
My understanding of the nettle sting question is very simple - it is the cool leaf surface of whatever plant you apply that reduces the pain. Not because it is in any way neutralising the acid, or applying anti-histamines, or whatever, but simply because it is cool. The lowered temperature reduces the rate at which nerve impulses fire, so pain is reduced, and slightly reduces the inflammatory response, which again reduces pain.

Big-leaved plants like dock and burdock are popular because they give you a large area of leaf to apply to the pain area, not because they have any special properties. A handful of grass would have exactly the same effect, as would applying some cold water.
 

dasy2k1

Nomad
May 26, 2009
299
0
Manchester
I regually burn rodi (gret wood for scout camp fires as it burns very bright) never had any issues with it or heard that you shouldent burn it before
 

Laughoutlouder

Forager
Jun 21, 2009
144
0
Dublin
My understanding of the nettle sting question is very simple - it is the cool leaf surface of whatever plant you apply that reduces the pain. Not because it is in any way neutralising the acid, or applying anti-histamines, or whatever, but simply because it is cool. The lowered temperature reduces the rate at which nerve impulses fire, so pain is reduced, and slightly reduces the inflammatory response, which again reduces pain.

Big-leaved plants like dock and burdock are popular because they give you a large area of leaf to apply to the pain area, not because they have any special properties. A handful of grass would have exactly the same effect, as would applying some cold water.

Also, burdock is apparantly basic which would help neutralise the effect of the formic acid present.
 

joe.ford

Forager
Apr 8, 2004
133
0
38
Essex
great and hugely useful thread.

Just 2 more woods I'm curious about as I have 2 logs sat in the shed.

Would Small Leaved Lime be the same as other limes?

And how about Cedar of Lebanon
 

Eragon21

Full Member
May 30, 2009
253
0
Aberdare
Brilliant thread, been looking at the recent carvings completed by the members on here and the pictures posted and now I think I can be confident in atleast picking a wood which is food safe. Will have a go at making a few wooden foodie stuff out of the sycamore I have in my shed. I had to fell a tree last year in my garden as it was gettind a bit too big, so got plenty of it!!
 

dasy2k1

Nomad
May 26, 2009
299
0
Manchester
Ivy is great for getting the fire going as you say but I have never got much in the way of embers from it.

So one of those woods that's not really suitable for cooking over regardless of toxicity

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