Eschewing the Seeds


I like jam.

Not jelly, jam. I don’t want something on my bread that jiggles. To me, there’s not much better than starting my day with a cup of strong, black, freshly roasted coffee and a thick slab of my wife’s freshly baked whole wheat bread, slathered with butter and a generous portion of home-made jam. I’m especially partial to raspberry.

Finding real jam in the stores these days is becoming a challenge. Either one has to settle for insipid “fruit spread”–made with fruit juice instead of sugar–or a seedless concoction passing itself off as jam when it’s really just jelly. I have found that the best selection of real preserves is in Middle Eastern stores, places that sell British imports, or farm markets.

I put seedless “jam” in the same category as decaffeinated coffee, pulpless orange juice, and silk flowers. But that’s just my opinion, and you couldn’t care less. What I find interesting is the theological aspect of eating seeds, if one wants to call it that, and its relationship to our culture.

At the end of creation week, God said to Adam and Eve,

“Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” (Genesis 1.29,30)

Why would God mention seeds to us if He didn’t intend for us to eat them? Obviously, telling the animals about this would not have been especially productive, since they couldn’t understand Him. And I’m not sure animals spit out the seeds of fruits and vegetables. I’ve never seen that myself, but then I don’t spend a lot of time watching for it.

Seeds, especially fruit seeds, contain a vitamin that isn’t found in many other things–Vitamin B-17. This amazing compound seeks and destroys cancer cells by releasing a small dose of cyanide once it has penetrated the membrane around the cell.

The seed with the highest concentration of Vitamin B-17 is the apricot pit. Recent studies have shown that coffee has some powerful cancer-fighting properties–and coffee beans are seeds. Nuts are seeds, as well. Flax seeds are excellent for our health, but only if they are ground–or chewed.  Other fruits, such as apples, contain a precise dosage of Vitamin B-17 which, if ingested, immediately undertakes its seek-and-destroy mission in the body. In fact, if one were to simply save the seeds from a pile of apples and eat a bowl full of them, the result would be cyanide poisoning! But eating the seeds with the fruit may indeed be what God intended as a way to maintain health. “An apple a day…”

The problem our coddled culture has with seeds appears to be twofold: they are a nuisance and they don’t taste good. Seeds are generally bitter, and bitterness is not something we normally enjoy. Either is inconvenience. We don’t like it in life and we don’t like it in fruit, so we engineer seedless fruits and manufacture seedless jam. I wonder if we’re doing ourselves a disservice.

I have been eating the seeds of fruit for years–apples, oranges, grapefruit, watermelon, grapes–and have found that they don’t really interfere with my enjoyment of the fruit itself.

Who knows–I may one day die of cancer. But for me, eating seeds can be a lesson in life. One takes the bitter with the sweet, and the bitter shows just how sweet the sweet can be.

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