10 things you eat all the time that could poison you
Some foods can totally transform you from a cold-addled snot monster to the picture of health. But there's a surprising number of everyday foods that, if you're not careful, could straight-up wreck your day. Or slightly worse, end your life! Don't worry, getting poisoned by them is gonna take some effort. And most of them are veggies anyway, and we all know you don't eat those.
Just to be on the safe side, however, tread lightly around these 10 foods:
That cherry orchard your family used to go to during cherry season? Death trap! Well, not really, unless somebody manages to chew through a bunch of cherry pits and swallow them. And if anyone could do it, it's your idiot cousin Stu. Like the worst cherry cordial ever, those pits are loaded with hydrogen cyanide. Yep, that cyanide. Luckily, the pits are so thick and hard you can swallow one and it'll come out intact, which is its own punishment.
Scientists recently discovered that people who snack on almonds throughout the day eat less at mealtime. Probably because THEY'RE DEAD. Not really. We eat sweet almonds, not wild almonds, which are bitter. They're also loaded with cyanide and could totally drop you. Luckily, you're not gonna see them around. But if you find yourself in the wild and see some green almonds, maybe don't eat them.
That castor oil crap Granny gave you to make you puke back in the day is derived from the castor bean. Which, it turns out, is also an excellent source of ricin when it's raw. Your Grandma is also a psychopath and, quite possibly, the mastermind behind an international meth operation.
It's unlikely that you're gonna do much damage to yourself if you eat the seeds out of an apple or two, but keep it up and you're in trouble. Your body's enzymes tend to morph compounds in the seeds into -- yup -- cyanide. That could explain why the old Johnny Appleseed story just kind of trails off. Kids would probably freak if they knew he was dead somewhere with a tree growing out of his greedy stomach.
Until the 1800s, most people in the U.S. thought tomatoes were outright poisonous. They also thought powdered wigs looked good, but they were kind of right about the 'maters. Tomatoes are part of the nightshade family, and that whole "poisoning people" thing apparently runs in the family, since their leaves are laced with toxic tomatine.
Popular in wine and as a medicinal tea, elderberries can be found and picked all over the place. Just don't eat the green parts. They contain cyanogenic glycoside sambunigrin, which, in non-science-speak, roughly translates to "thing that will have you exploding from both ends until it's all out of your system".
Wanna make some chili that'll leave your guests resembling Left Eye (too soon?!?)? Well, T-Boz, the best way is to undercook your kidney beans, which'll season your sauce with a toxin called phytohaemagglutinin. Vigorously boiling them will neutralize it, but just to be safe, get the canned ones.
Not that you actually wanted to eat these nasty little bastards in the first place, but if you want to get your mom off your back, tell her you're terrified of cyanide poisoning and point out that the uncooked legumes are loaded with it. Then request a side of Cheetos instead. For health.
You shouldn't eat green potatoes. Mainly because they're gross. But they'll also seriously mess you up because they're packed with solanine, which will make you puke and, if you for some reason just keep eating, will cause cardiac arrest. Which is also gross.
Rhubarb's stalks are the perfect way to add a little tartness to a strawberry pie. Its leaves, on the other hand, are the perfect way to add a little "Oh my God I can't stop puking and when I puke it burns!" to your life. That's because they contain oxalic acid, which is in bleach, which you also shouldn't consume. Unless you want to go into shock and die.
Andy Kryza is Thrillist's National Eat/Drink Senior Editor, and has proudly lived vegetable-free since 2001. Follow his adventures/slow decline via Twitter at @apkryza.