For a time, researchers thought that a Chinese variety of pine nuts called P. Armandii was the culprit of this crime against flavor, but there is no concrete evidence linking a certain species of pine nuts or agricultural origin to the disease. In fact, many of the Pinus koraiensis nuts exported by China come from Siberia and North Korea. Harvesting practices are unsustainable and cause serious damage to some ecosystems.
The red and white sprocket from China is the one to avoid. Formerly considered edible and has been traced to cause metallic taste, all others, including Korean and Japanese varieties, are fine. Cases also emerged in North America, as people who had previously experienced unexplained taste alterations were now alerted to the connection with pine nuts. Some victims even organized a Facebook group, “Damn You Pine Nuts”, where they vented about their experience.
In some cases, the bitter taste was accompanied by other symptoms such as headache, nausea, and stomach pain. Once again, the cases were related to Chinese walnuts, whether raw or roasted, fresh or old. Since then, reports of the syndrome have declined sharply, as importers reduced consumption of Chinese pine nuts and the Chinese government took steps to stop the export of the culprits. Another researcher, food scientist Grace Hui Shan Tan, explored the SNP in her master's thesis at Wageningen University.
She asked people to send her samples of pine nuts that had caused the bitter taste, and she found volunteers crazy enough to eat them. Tan concluded that it was the dried fruits of the Chinese white pine (Pinus armandii) that caused the SNP. There are more than 100 subspecies of pine nuts, of which 29 are recognized as edible by the World Health Organization. Pinus armandii, a smaller pale beige sprocket with a dark tip, is not one of them.
How exactly pine nuts cause PNS has yet to be resolved, but Dr. Gregory Möller, Professor of Environmental Chemistry and Toxicology at the University of Idaho, has one of the most compelling theories. I also noticed that the three different brands of pine nuts I could find today (two at Whole Foods, one at Costco) were ALL from China. I'm not doing anything as intolerant as that, but I've become a sprocket profiler, moving away from those smaller pale beige nuts with a dark tip.
I bought Trader Joe's pine nuts on Saturday for Sunday. It had a bitter taste in my mouth, its pine nuts are from Russia and Korea, but I had the same effect as the Chinese. He tried several brands of pine nuts and experienced flavor alterations only with those imported from China. SNP incidence skyrocketed, prompting protests in supermarkets such as Whole Foods in the U.S.
UU. and Sainsbury's in the UK, and many retailers decided to stop buying Pinus armandii and Pinus massoniana (Chinese red pine). Chefs reluctant to give up crunch have been substituting crushed nuts, pistachios, or other nuts and seeds in their pesto, salads, and other recipes. Pesto is not cheap, since harvesting pineapples is difficult and you have to remove the seeds from the pineapples and then peel them.
It has never been identified exactly which component of Pinus armandii seeds is responsible for pine mouth syndrome and may have never been identified. Both species have smaller, round or triangular nuts that are only occasionally used exported pine nuts. In the French report, as well as in the research of the Nestlé Research Center, it was hypothesized that a particular species of Chinese pine nuts is the cause of the problem. The package doesn't say what the source is, but the website says they get their pine nuts from China.
Trader Joe's) contain only sprockets of this type, while others are mostly a mix with the medium-sized angular ones that I think are Korean sprockets that have been on the market for eons. Good pine nuts became so rare and expensive that I switched from making Ligurian-style pesto to Nicoise-style pistou, which doesn't use nuts. They are smaller than normal (0.7-1.0 cm in length), more opaque in color, oval in shape, have a strange looking tip, but do not taste much different from the other pine nuts. .