Roadside Pollutants in edible plants


F

Fitz

Ok so this is barely on topic, but...

So I discover we have an Elderflower plant in our front garden. I'd
like to have a go at making some elderflower cordial because it's nice,
so I have found a recipe and it's actually really easy.

The plant is about 4 meters from the road, which is a main residential
road with traffic throughput of about 20 cars/minute peak? (maybe - I
havn't actually counted) dropping to less than 1 car/min off peak.

Now I'm wondering about risk from pollutants in the flowers. The
recipe calls for 30 elderflower heads which makes 6 pints. Given that
this is then diluted will any pollutants in the plants be high enough
concentration to be a health risk?

I remember as a kid being told not to eat berries from roadside because
they were full of lead. Then I remembered that we only had unleaded
petrol these days. Then I found an article saying that benzene is
produced from burning unleaded fuel and it's highly carcinogenic. Does
that sound right?

Given that I cycle 4 miles to work and back every day through traffic
is the extra exposure of the eldeflower cordial going to be worth
worrying about?
 
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T

Tim Mitchell

Fitz said:
Ok so this is barely on topic, but...

So I discover we have an Elderflower plant in our front garden. I'd
like to have a go at making some elderflower cordial because it's nice,
so I have found a recipe and it's actually really easy.

The plant is about 4 meters from the road, which is a main residential
road with traffic throughput of about 20 cars/minute peak? (maybe - I
havn't actually counted) dropping to less than 1 car/min off peak.

Now I'm wondering about risk from pollutants in the flowers. The
recipe calls for 30 elderflower heads which makes 6 pints. Given that
this is then diluted will any pollutants in the plants be high enough
concentration to be a health risk?

I remember as a kid being told not to eat berries from roadside because
they were full of lead. Then I remembered that we only had unleaded
petrol these days. Then I found an article saying that benzene is
produced from burning unleaded fuel and it's highly carcinogenic. Does
that sound right?

Given that I cycle 4 miles to work and back every day through traffic
is the extra exposure of the eldeflower cordial going to be worth
worrying about?
You make it sound like radioactivity!

Personally, I would just wash it and not worry, but you could always go
to some nearby countryside and pick some elderflowers, it's all over the
place at the moment.

The treat in our family used to be "elderflower champagne" which
mysteriously turned fizzy (not alcoholic though!). We made it in glass
bottles (before the days of plastic pop bottles) but it had a tendency
to explode in hot weather...
 
R

Rob Morley

Ok so this is barely on topic, but...

So I discover we have an Elderflower plant in our front garden. I'd
like to have a go at making some elderflower cordial because it's nice,
so I have found a recipe and it's actually really easy.

The plant is about 4 meters from the road, which is a main residential
road with traffic throughput of about 20 cars/minute peak? (maybe - I
havn't actually counted) dropping to less than 1 car/min off peak.

Now I'm wondering about risk from pollutants in the flowers. The
recipe calls for 30 elderflower heads which makes 6 pints. Given that
this is then diluted will any pollutants in the plants be high enough
concentration to be a health risk?

I remember as a kid being told not to eat berries from roadside because
they were full of lead. Then I remembered that we only had unleaded
petrol these days. Then I found an article saying that benzene is
produced from burning unleaded fuel and it's highly carcinogenic. Does
that sound right?

Given that I cycle 4 miles to work and back every day through traffic
is the extra exposure of the eldeflower cordial going to be worth
worrying about?
I was going to make that point, but you beat me to it :)
 
R

raden

Fitz said:
Ok so this is barely on topic, but...

So I discover we have an Elderflower plant in our front garden. I'd
like to have a go at making some elderflower cordial because it's nice,
so I have found a recipe and it's actually really easy.
I made some dandelion wine from some we collected from the central
reservation of the A6 years ago. I got it tested by the Uni chemistry
dept - it didn't show any noticeable level of lead (believe it or not)

Of course, if you're worried, get on yet bike and find a country lane
esp near water. Elder is all over the place, you can hardly get away
from it
 
N

Newshound

The treat in our family used to be "elderflower champagne" which
mysteriously turned fizzy (not alcoholic though!). We made it in glass
bottles (before the days of plastic pop bottles) but it had a tendency to
explode in hot weather...
Er, sorry, I don't think there is really any mystery. Something to do with
sugar, wild yeast. But you don't need much alcohol to get a good fizz if
most of the fermentation is in the bottle. I seem to recall that elderflower
champagne and (real, home made) ginger beer is round 1%.
 
F

Fitz

raden said:
I made some dandelion wine from some we collected from the central
reservation of the A6 years ago. I got it tested by the Uni chemistry
dept - it didn't show any noticeable level of lead (believe it or not)
No I do believe it actually. Thanks for the replies everyone.

I was really approaching the question from the pov that I'd built up
this image in my mind over the years that eating anything grown next to
a road would be seriously bad for you, but thinking about it couldn't
logically justify it. Just wanted to confirm it really.
Of course, if you're worried, get on yet bike and find a country lane
esp near water. Elder is all over the place, you can hardly get away
from it
What's the rules about not picking wildflowers? Is there so much of it
that it's not worth worrying about? I must admit that having not
specifically looked for it before I've never really notcied it. I bet
I'll see the stuff everywhere now.

cheers all
 
K

Kenny of the Fells

Fitz said:
Ok so this is barely on topic, but...

So I discover we have an Elderflower plant in our front garden. I'd
like to have a go at making some elderflower cordial because it's
nice, so I have found a recipe and it's actually really easy.

The plant is about 4 meters from the road, which is a main residential
road with traffic throughput of about 20 cars/minute peak? (maybe - I
havn't actually counted) dropping to less than 1 car/min off peak.

Now I'm wondering about risk from pollutants in the flowers. The
recipe calls for 30 elderflower heads which makes 6 pints. Given that
this is then diluted will any pollutants in the plants be high enough
concentration to be a health risk?

I remember as a kid being told not to eat berries from roadside
because they were full of lead. Then I remembered that we only had
unleaded petrol these days. Then I found an article saying that
benzene is produced from burning unleaded fuel and it's highly
carcinogenic. Does that sound right?

Given that I cycle 4 miles to work and back every day through traffic
is the extra exposure of the eldeflower cordial going to be worth
worrying about?
Definately. Many years ago as a student I drank a load of elderberry wine,
after which I was very ill. It later turned out that the berries were picked
from right next to the M25.

KotF
 
M

manatbandq

Kenny said:
Definately. Many years ago as a student I drank a load of elderberry wine,
after which I was very ill. It later turned out that the berries were picked
from right next to the M25.
Correlation is not the same as causation.

You need more evidence to prove the connection.

MBQ
 
T

Tim Mitchell

Correlation is not the same as causation.

You need more evidence to prove the connection.
Drinking a load of elderberry wine is enough to make anyone ill. I doubt
the M25 had anything to do with it.
 
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U

usenet

Kenny of the Fells said:
Definately. Many years ago as a student I drank a load of elderberry wine,
after which I was very ill. It later turned out that the berries were picked
from right next to the M25.
So if you ate berries from Deadly Nightshade you found by the road
you'd blame your illness (death?) on the pollutants from the road
would you?

If you'd drunk two lots of elderberry wine, made by the same maker
using the same method, one of which made you ill and the other didn't
then I'd be a bit more convinced by your argument, but even then it
would hardly be conclusive.
 
K

Kenny of the Fells

So if you ate berries from Deadly Nightshade you found by the road
you'd blame your illness (death?) on the pollutants from the road
would you?

If you'd drunk two lots of elderberry wine, made by the same maker
using the same method, one of which made you ill and the other didn't
then I'd be a bit more convinced by your argument, but even then it
would hardly be conclusive.
Actually the above was supposed to be a bit of a joke - guess it doesn't
come off a keyboard like that. Having said that, this was the only wine that
I've ever had that produced a hangover within minutes of drinking it, but
whether that was down to the production method or the berry content I
wouldn't like to say.

KotF
 
F

Fitz

Kenny said:
(e-mail address removed) wrote:
Actually the above was supposed to be a bit of a joke - guess it doesn't
come off a keyboard like that. Having said that, this was the only wine that
I've ever had that produced a hangover within minutes of drinking it, but
whether that was down to the production method or the berry content I
wouldn't like to say.
I got it. Chuckled quite a bit actually.

I was going to reply along the lines that by your reasoning most of the
beers at the Loughborough University 1995 Beer Festival must have been
brewed from ingredients grown in a toxic waste ground, given how ill I
was for the subsequent 48 hours.

;-)
 
R

raden

Fitz said:
What's the rules about not picking wildflowers? Is there so much of it
that it's not worth worrying about? I must admit that having not
specifically looked for it before I've never really notcied it. I bet
I'll see the stuff everywhere now.
A couple of points to bear in mind

Don't let too much pressure build up, apart from the rare danger of
explosion, it can lift the sediment and you will end up with a cloudy
mass of muck

Smell the elderflowers first, I'm not sure whether it's a male / female
thing, but some of them smell of cats piss. Don't pick these as they
will spoil the flavour

As for legality of picking, nobody has ever challenged me when I've
picked them
 
R

raden

Kenny of the Fells said:
Definately. Many years ago as a student I drank a load of elderberry wine,
after which I was very ill.
Bloody students
It later turned out that the berries were picked
from right next to the M25.
So ?

nothing to do with the brewing process or anything else, I presume
 
R

raden

Tim Mitchell said:
Drinking a load of elderberry wine is enough to make anyone ill. I
doubt the M25 had anything to do with it.
I made 50 gallons one year

Elderberry wine takes time to mature, lots of time

Longer than a degree course ...

Then it's luvverly
 
R

raden

Fitz said:
I got it. Chuckled quite a bit actually.

I was going to reply along the lines that by your reasoning most of the
beers at the Loughborough University 1995 Beer Festival must have been
brewed from ingredients grown in a toxic waste ground, given how ill I
was for the subsequent 48 hours.
I remember a few like that - Alexander palace being the worst I remember
.... I had to play squash at lunch time.

I was late for the game too, I got a phone call from the nurse
"can you come and take your brother home, he looks a bit ... green"
 
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R

Rob Morley

"Kenny of the Fells" said:
Actually the above was supposed to be a bit of a joke - guess it doesn't
come off a keyboard like that.
I thought that was your intention - but I couldn't see a :)
Having said that, this was the only wine that
I've ever had that produced a hangover within minutes of drinking it, but
whether that was down to the production method or the berry content I
wouldn't like to say.
My mate used to make beer like that, it didn't stop us drinking it
though.
 

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