Whole Story

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Passion for Pine Nuts

By Alana Sugar, October 8, 2012  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Alana Sugar

Pine nutsMy recent dinner at a local Mediterranean restaurant confirmed my passion for pine nuts. They served an amazing hummus garnished with a generous amount of toasted pine nuts, a sprinkle of pomegranate seeds and a splash of extra-virgin olive oil. Delicious!

Pine nuts, also called pinon or pignoli nuts, are the edible seeds of varying species of pine trees that grow all over the world, including Asia, the U.S. and Europe. They have been eaten in Europe and Asia since Paleolithic times. These days, pine nuts are an essential ingredient in fresh pesto, and they are also often added to breads, desserts, meats, vegetable and fish dishes. They’re great in combination with, or as a substitute for, other nuts and seeds. They’re naturally mild, buttery and lightly sweet. Once toasted or roasted, they become a little crunchy and really flavorful.

If you enjoy nuts and seeds but haven’t given much time to the pine (nut), now’s a great opportunity to start. If you want to roast your own, simply spread them on a cookie sheet and pop them in the oven at 350°F for about 10 minutes. Or if you prefer, you can toast them stove-top style in a heavy dry skillet over medium-low heat until they release their fragrance and turn a beautiful, rich golden color. A dry cast iron or a stainless steel skillet works well too.

Well known in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dishes, pine nuts are enjoyed worldwide in all sorts of creative ways. Here are some of my favorite ideas:

Are pine nuts a personal favorite? Got a recipe or a great idea? Let me know.

Category: Food & Recipes




Julia @ Health Benefits of Jicama says ...
I love Pine Nuts too. I wish I could have dinner at a local Mediterranean restaurant too.So that I can also taste their hummus garnished with a generous amount of toasted pine nuts, a sprinkle of pomegranate seeds and a splash of extra-virgin olive oil. I also have my<ahref="http://medimovesblog.com/raw-beet-salad-recipe-with-jicama//">blog</a> of my favorite foods.
10/09/2012 12:49:17 AM CDT
AnniesDishList says ...
Another great secret @WholeFoods is the bulk aisle where you can buy the exact amount needed of these normally somewhat expensive nuts at a great price! I made a basil pesto with them recently. Paired with a mascarpone gnocchi - delicious! http://anniesdishlist.com/2012/09/11/i-talian-ive-had-gnocchi/
10/10/2012 10:48:20 AM CDT
E K says ...
How much are the pine nuts?
04/06/2013 8:24:00 PM CDT
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@EK - The prices for our products vary between locations. Check with your local store to see what their prices are!
04/10/2013 11:03:55 AM CDT
Norm says ...
Which Pine Nut variety and from what country does Whole Foods sell? I recently bought some from WF and they left a metal taste in my mouth. After researching it I found that they look like a type from China that uses chemicals to shell them.
01/12/2014 12:02:43 PM CST
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@NORM - The vendor for each location will differ. Check with your local store directly and they can look in to where their pine nuts are sourced.
01/13/2014 11:37:39 AM CST
Antonia James says ...
I checked with my local (East Bay) Whole Foods, which sells two kinds, both from China -- one in bags, and a much more expensive variety, in small, pre-measured bulk containers costing a minimum of about $6. Does the latter variety cause pine nut mouth? I have that problem so I'm terrified of trying even one or two to test. (Those who experience will know exactly what I'm talking about.) I'm happy to pay the much higher price, however, to avoid it. Please help! Thank you. (I sent an email to the store last week with this question, by the way, but they did not respond.)
01/21/2014 1:58:22 PM CST
Terry says ...
From which countries do you source your pine nuts? I do not want any from Asia! Please advise!!
04/17/2014 11:20:40 PM CDT
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@TERRY - Our vendors will differ between stores. Check with your local store to see where their pine nuts are sourced.
04/18/2014 11:36:16 AM CDT
sue says ...
I just bought some Pine Nuts - 365 Brand in an 8oz bag. I should have looked - its says they are from China. I am afraid to eat them because of the possibility of pine mouth. Can you confirm whether or not these will cause pine mouth?
07/10/2014 6:38:56 PM CDT
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@SUE - If you are concerned, you can always speak with your local store about a return. They will be happy to help.
07/14/2014 12:27:54 PM CDT
Richard Malloy says ...
My local WF (Symphony-Boston) only has Chinese pine nuts, a fact I discovered the hard way. I'd heard of Pine Mouth Syndrome on a wine chatboard and assumed that no reputable grocery would stock Chinese pine nuts. So I purchased without checking. Tasted terrible, metallic and foul, but not like a rancid nut would taste. I looked at the label: from China. I am more than a little surprised that WF continues to stock these. If you're unfamiliar with the problem, simply Google "Chinese pine nuts" or "pine mouth syndrome" or look here for a news report: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/foodanddrinknews/8455575/Cheap-Chinese-pine-nut-exports-blamed-for-rare-condition.html
11/04/2014 3:17:44 PM CST
Gaius Gracchus says ...
My spouse and I both had imported Chinese pine nuts and had the horrible, bitter, foul taste afterwards. We have had the Pine Nut Syndrome for over a week, and my spouse also experienced severe kidney pain for which she is being treated now.
12/26/2014 11:13:36 PM CST