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I know how to remove the pits from stone fruit. I want to remove the seeds from the pits. Every attempt I keep damaging the seeds. Trying pliers or a knife i could get hurt. is there a safer way to get the seeds out? .

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  • I’ve never done it, but have you tried a nutcracker and nut picks?
    – Joe
    Oct 24, 2023 at 0:08
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    How is this about cooking? The seeds aren't edible. Oct 24, 2023 at 1:26
  • A number of recipes are made with the kernels. They're not terribly wise, given what those seeds contain, but they do exist.
    – FuzzyChef
    Oct 24, 2023 at 5:35
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    @DebbieM. The kernels can be used similar to bitter almonds. Others consume them because they believe in some (questionable) health benefits. As long as they are used as food ingredient, the question is valid in my opinion. It may warrant a warning/disclaimer, though.
    – Stephie
    Oct 24, 2023 at 5:48
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    Apricot kernel paste is a standard confectionary ingredient, though the processing of it to deactivate the cyanide is something that appears to be very poorly documented, or left as an industrial secret (I expect it's application of heat, but how much for how long I can't find information about.)
    – Ecnerwal
    Oct 25, 2023 at 3:10

2 Answers 2

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It's a nut, nutcrackers work. Assuming you don't have and don't want to buy a suitably large and controllable nutcracker, (the long-lever type would be suitable) the next best option is probably compound leverage locking pliers - UK Mole Grips® or USA Vise Grips® or their copy-cats.

Because of the way they operate, the jaws can be set to not close all the way, so they can be set larger than the kernel is wide, and then used to crack the shell with no risk of pinching you, and less risk of damaging the kernel. Set the pit in the jaws so the seam is touching the jaws (you want to allow it to pop open, not crush the shell in a way that holds the seam closed and requires brute force and fragmentation to break the shell.)

As it happens I have some peach pits I was simply going to plant, but some sources do suggest cracking the pit off first, so I'll make some pictures:

Pit and opened Vise-Grips

Direction to hold the pit.

Broken pit, undamaged seed

You could also attempt to use a C-clamp, but that's likely to be frustrating as it's hard to keep a nut in the clamp.

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  • Rather than a clamp, I'd use a bench vice, one with grooves in the the jaws. But mole grips should work
    – Chris H
    Oct 25, 2023 at 15:43
  • They worked quite well, and a few of my pits were double-seeded, as it turns out. Holding the pit and grips in a paper bag helps to control flying fragments. (even popping it on the seam, breakage and fragments are involved.)
    – Ecnerwal
    Oct 25, 2023 at 15:55
  • I've resorted to the tool kit for nutcrackers a few time, but normally just combination pliers because they're in the house and the mole grips are in the garage. But that means I know they work well.
    – Chris H
    Oct 25, 2023 at 16:27
  • A very elegant solution, @Ecnerwal and probably much safer than my brute force suggestion. For reasons of pride I refuse to downvote my own answer though!
    – Greybeard
    Oct 25, 2023 at 17:05
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If you leave the stones out to dry out for 24-48 hours or so, if you use a blunt knife (e.g. butter knife) you should be able to split the pits without too much effort. If you have a bradawl you can start spitting the husk with that. The outside needs to be completely dry though.

As others have suggested you could also try nutcracker pliers when the pits are dry but you run the risk of crushing the seed inside.

(I successfully used the butter knife technique with peach stones in an attempt to grow a tree).

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