The Ugly Truth about Pine Nuts

Pine nuts? I know, you’re thinking, “you’re off your rocker lady,” or “what did pine nuts ever do to you??” And I will tell you precisely what these tic-tac sized nuts did to ruin me for days.

{cue mist and dreamy music} It all started on a normal day, hanging around the house. I had noticed a funny taste in my mouth after I had eaten a snack. I could swear it was medicinal in flavor but hadn’t had any medicine in my system for a while. I figured it may be the awesome new Trident Vitality gum that I had bought recently. So, I just went on with my day, but every time I ate something the aftertaste was always the medicine taste.

When DaddyB got home I asked him if he experienced the bad aftertaste since he had been chewing the gum as well and unfortunately he said, “No.” So that led me straight back to square one. After giving it another day, being the webby girl that I am I HAD to google bad taste, and I found a lot of different research from metallic when you’re pregnant to of course halitosis, I did for a quick minute think, “Oh no I’d better not be pregnant {we’re “officially” done}” and I knew this was something different than plain bad breath.

I continued to search the web and stumbled across my now arch Nemesis…PINE NUTS!!! Okay to be fair it’s not directly the pine nut’s fault. Basically in my search I found that pine nuts, if expired {yes much to my surprise they have an expiration date very soon after purchasing} can cause a bad aftertaste in your mouth. The aftertaste can last as long as a day or even longer lasting 3 weeks, depending on how many you eat.

Thank goodness I only had a handful because the party in my mouth was not a good one and lasted for about a week. The culprit behind the bad taste of expired pine nuts are triglycerides and oxidation. After the expiration date pine nuts turn “bad” or “sour” if you will, just like any other food. With pine nuts you cannot taste when they go “bad”, so checking the expiration date is imperative, unless you want to use the “Pine Nut Diet”, as I like to call it.

Luckily, the taste has finally gone away and my taste buds are back to their normal selves. Do I dare eat pine nuts again?? Well perhaps, but not right away, I’m a little nervous!!

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Have you ever experienced this with pine nuts? How about any other adverse reactions with different foods??

    • Sarah Trevino ~ Chefwife says:

      Do you eat them untoasted? I don’t think I have ever eaten a raw pine nut, but I do through them in EVERYTHING. I can’t stand “asparagus” pee (that foul smell from eating asparagus in your urine). I read somewhere that it is a reaction that only 50% of people either have, or can actually smell it.

    • robin elton says:

      Wow, that’s crazy! I never heard of such a thing. Fantastic sleuthing (I ask this at least once a week, but WHAT DID WE DO BEFORE INTERNET?!) Tucking that away into the trivia file.

    • Heather says:

      Hi! Yes I recently suffered this problem – never had trouble with pine nuts before. Mine were part of a Neals Yard ‘Salad Sprinkle’ pack from Holland and Barrett, which I incorporated into baked flapjack. According to the packet, the expiry date isn’t until July this year. My bitter taste lasted a fortnight and towards the end I woke one night because my breath was absolutely foul; I also had a coating on my tongue for several days. Seem to be back to normal now, but doubt if I will ever voluntarily eat pine nuts again. I understand government agencies and consumer groups have looked into the problem but they don’t seem to have found a way to deal with it; maybe because no one has actually died from it or maybe because not everyone is affected?

Lin says:

Who knew? I had no idea! Something to try next time, though…keep your pine nuts in the freezer to extend their shelf life!

    • Ginger says:

      Ugh . . . good to know. So glad I visited your site. Hope to get to know you better and learn from your experience.

David Breuer says:

I know this thread is ancient, but haven’t you heard about pine nut syndrome from Chinese pine nuts and only Chinese pine nuts? Seems to be a specific kind of “fake” Chinese pine nuts but could also be the type. Chinese pine nuts are easy to spot because they are round versus the long, thin Mediterranean and Pakistani pine nuts.

Carl says:

Several days ago I had comsumed pine nuts that were a “product of China” Distributed by Flagstone Foods St. Paul Minn. The product was labled “ANN’s HOUSE”
It did have a warning on the package (of which I read after having a metalic taste) The warning read “people may experiance pine mouth from eating this product.
I had eaten lots of pine nuts before without a reaction. I did notice that these pine nuts were smaller than usual.

Marilyn says:

If you actually did some real investigation, you’d find the bad taste from these pine nuts has to do with where they are harvested. Many come from China, and when the usual areas they come from don’t yield enough to meet demand, the locals resort to a different type or species that grow in hardier areas. These hardlier varieties are the culprit for the metallic taste you experience, called “pine mouth”. It’s not harmful and goes away after a few days, but be more aware of where the products you buy come from-plain and simple. China is now trying to ban their cultivation and harvest, but it’s up to us consumers to make a difference.

David says:

Hello Everybody!
This is something called pine mouth and is caused by pine nuts from countries like China and Pakistan. The pine trees they use to harvest pine nuts are unlike the pine trees in countries on the Mediterranean sea such as Italy and Lebanon. Mediterranean pine nuts are the way to go but they are super expensive!
The Chinese and Pakistani Pine nuts go for about 10$ a kilo while Mediterranean are more than 8-10 times more expensive.
Big companies usually care about price over quality so we end up with garbage 😀

Lucille says:

I went on google and typed: Pinoli Nuts
and up came site from Italy so that is where
I am ordering to make my Pesto. Only three tblspns of nuts so the lb will last and price is worth it. Naturally, they will be stored in freezer .
However I give away a lot of Pesto since I have volumes of Basel (2 cups of leaves per)Garlic
salt & pepper and 3/4 c olive oil..then add locatelli romano cheeese

Ezza says:

Yes!! Exactly the same issues. Ate old pine nuts… Had metallic after taste ruin all the food i ate for the next 10 days. I thought I was crazy. Good to hear others have had the same experience.

Sandra Bromwell says:

Omg,never heard of pinemouth but ate frozen pine nuts and had same result only was extremely violently sick. Thank goodness it was only half a day and that I was so sick I couldn’t proceed with dinner or I’d have made others ill.Really felt more like an allergic reaction. Happy Easter!

Jennifer Bullock says:

Oh wow, I’m so sorry you were violently sick, glad you are feeling better. Sad to learn about this the hard way. Do you know if the pine nuts were expired?? Hope you had a good Easter as well!