Thursday, December 12, 2013

Pine Nuts

When they weren’t so expensive, I often bought pine nuts to make pesto and to decorate cookies. Pine nuts are wonderful additions to many dishes, from salads to main courses to sweets. However there’s some documentation that pine nuts from China may cause an oral problem, a bitter metallic taste, that may last for several days or longer, up to two weeks. The result is that other foods, both solid and liquid may not taste exactly as you are expecting – may, in fact, taste “off”. You will feel like everything you eat is poisoned. Not everybody seems to be affected in the same way – one person may be fine, with no effects and his/her spouse may think that all food has gone “bad”, all because of pine nuts, possibly from China.

This problem has been around for several years, but I just came across it when reading David Lebovitz’s excellent recipe for Italian almond cookies.

Next time you’re at the grocery store, standing in front of the pine nuts, before you throw them in your cart have a look at the originating country and reconsider if they are from China. Even reputable stores such as Trader Joe’s and Costco have pine nuts sourced in China, so beware! In fact, it might be a good idea to avoid any food product from China. They just don’t have the same standards that we are used to in Europe and North America.