Are the pine nuts sold at Whole Foods Market "safe" for those of us who experience "pine mouth, a horrible metallic aftertaste that lingers for weeks?

I noticed on the bag that I picked up there (but didn't buy) that they were packaged in China. I know from other reading that many pine nuts from China cause that problem. It seems to be the variety of pine nuts, though, not the location, as the offending variety can be, and is, grown in other places. Does anyone who experiences pine mouth know for sure? (As those with firsthand knowledge will understand, I'm not going to experiment!) Thank you so much. ;o)

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10 Comments

Panfusine October 31, 2015
Wow, this thread has taught me so much, thanks for posting the question AntoniaJames. I had no idea that the unpleasantness was a feature of the nut itself, not the quality of what I purchased.
I've restricted (resigned ) myself to buying the 'Chilgoza' from Indian grocery stores. I tend to use pine nuts sparingly and for my home cook needs. the flavor seems to suffice.
 
Sam1148 October 30, 2015
Sunflower seeds (shelled, roasted) are great to sub for pine nuts. I actually like them better in most things---especially on salad.
 
ChefJune October 30, 2015
The most important thing to know about pine nuts is that you do NOT want the ones from China. They always taste bitter. That means if the country of origin is not stated, I'm not buying.
 
E E. October 30, 2015
David Lebovitz covered this topic on his blog and put in some links to articles. Yes, pine nuts from China are suspect. Since China has no food quality control it could well be that their nuts are either grown or treated with something harmful to the taste. Pine nuts seem to go rancid fairly rapidly, so it's always good to buy from someplace that turns over stock fairly quickly.
If I can't identify the provenance I don't buy them. I usually get them at Italian markets, or look for pinons from the southwest.
 
ChefJune October 30, 2015
Sadly, even in Italian markets you will sometimes find the Chinese pine nuts. This is not a new problem. I was told by a purveyor years ago to be careful not to buy Chinese pine nuts. They may look like a bargain, but in the end, they're not.
 
Elizabeth M. October 30, 2015
I just got Pine Nut Mouth for the first time. Nothing tastes good now. My digestion is off. It went away after a week but came back. Now I know why I had two of the yummy Kale Salads with Pine Nuts from Whole Foods a week apart. I have eaten tons of pine nuts before without any problem; apparently the problem is only those pine nuts from China because of the chemical they use on them. I will never get the Kale Salad again, and will check country of origin on any foods from Whole Foods. However, since Congress has passed a law stating companies no longer have to tell us where foods come from, we may soon have no clue whether our food is from a satisfactory location.
 
Greenstuff January 3, 2014
The research on pine mouth is not very conclusive. Until it is, I'm pretty much limiting myself to the (albeit expensive) European ones.
 
Pegeen January 3, 2014
Maybe your local Whole Foods manager has some info - or could bump it up to someone who does?
 
Trena H. January 3, 2014
Antonio - Here's a link to a very interesting article written by a graduate student in Singapore discussing this very topic. She also has photos of the offending pine nuts. Here's the link http://pinenutsyndrome.wordpress.com/pine-nut-species/
 

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klrcon January 2, 2014
I buy the Turkish pine nuts at Whole Foods that aren't sold in bags but in a small plastic container. You have to hunt for them sometimes as they're not typically sold with the rest of the nuts for some reason. I can't be sure, as I've never experienced pine mouth myself, but I expect they're a better bet than the Chinese ones. They're more expensive but also fresher and better quality.
 
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