Updated Pine Nut Species Page

Demand for pine nuts is growing rapidly, too rapidly for supplies to catch up. But as long as consumers are wanting to buy the product, supermarkets, distributors and suppliers are pressured in turn to deliver the pine nuts at reasonable prices or risk losing business.

Meeting the demand is, however, not a simple case of picking and delivering. Pine nuts are low turnover crop, taking 25 years before a pine tree starts to produce seeds for consumption, with harvests every 2 years and good crop years coming in infrequent cycles of 5-10 years. You don’t always have it when you want it. Thus the availability of supplies have a huge impact on the prices of pine nuts (see Penny’s pine nut blog), driving an increased volume of import from the East.

There are many species of pine nuts, numerous species are edible (20-30) and several of them originate from China. They are all labeled as ‘pine nuts’ on the packaging, mentioning nothing more than the country of origin (that is not always reliable either). Due to the lack of information about the differences between species, it is very difficult for people involved in the pine nut food supply chain (retail – distributor – processing plant – harvestor) to control for species and quality, and efforts are largely limited to the sorting of seeds by sizes.

Currently (16/01/11), I have 48 bitter-causing samples from 7 countries and I have visually picked out 6 different species (not all of which I was able to identify). A 7th species of Pakistan origin was not found in the bitter-causing samples but is commonly available in supermarkets.

I have updated the Pine Nut Species page to include pictures of these 7 species together with their origins and measured physical characteristics of the samples I have on hand. Hope that it will help everyone to discern the pine nuts that they are eating. Feel free to share information but do remember to link back to this blog.


About grrrrracey

I love to eat, I love to cook, and I love to dig into every mystery about food!
This entry was posted in Announcements, Research Updates, The Great Pine Nut Mystery. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Updated Pine Nut Species Page

  1. Michael Allured says:

    In the USA there are piñon nuts from piñon pines (if the accents don’t come through, it is pinon). I get mine from Buffets Candies. The nuts aren’t candied, they just happen to be in the middle of pinon country. They are a little darker than a traditional pine nut, and have a little more flavor. I am a pine mouth sufferer, but have never had a bad taste from these. Their web site is: http://www.buffettscandies.com

  2. Charles Rhora says:

    I am surprised about the comments and articles about the edible nut pines that are grown

    In Europe and Asia, especially the cost of importing these commodities. They all can be grown here in Canada and United States in areas ranging from Climatic Zone 1 – 8. This remarkable range give almost everyone the ability to be able to produce these delicious and nutritious nuts either a few trees for their own consumption or many acres as a commercial enterprise at a very low cost and maintenance is minimal. We have the distention of growing these trees for over 30 years now and we are located in a Climatic Zone 4. We have orchards of 10 varieties selected nut pines from the Continents mentioned above. Our observation is that the trees start producing cones at the age of 7 years, and once production starts, they increase in size every year. Once production starts, the trees produce an increased crop every year.

    From our harvests we do a taste test on samples and they all produce large kernels with exceptional good taste. I received an e-mail from Grace asking for help in identifying several samples of kernels from the trees mentioned. They were examined and a reply was given to their identification, except for one which contained a mixture of kernels of which I was able to identify, but 2 were from nut pines that will not grow in our climatic Zone 4.

    I explained that all of our samples from the Armandii kernels were all one colour throughout the kernel, not having darkened end which I believe is suspected with causing the mouth allergy for the pine nuts.

    Please visit our website for more detailed information about our edible nut pines.

    Our website: Rhora’s Nut Farm & Nursery

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