Why have pine nuts gotten so expensive?

Pine nuts grow in the forests of their home countries, China, Russia, North Korea and Pakistan, and not on farms. Meihekou County in Jilin Province is the largest pine nut distribution center in Asia and is home to the largest pine nut processing plant in China. The county produces up to 100,000 metric tons of pine nuts per year, which corresponds to 80% of China's total production. However, in recent years, the county's production has been unable to keep pace with growing market demand, causing buyers to purchase pine nuts from other sources, such as Yunnan, Shanxi, North Korea, Russia and Mongolia.

Rising market demand, combined with low imports and rising labor costs, has driven pine nut prices higher. There are about 35 different varieties of pineapples that produce seeds, but of them only about eighteen produce pine nuts that are worth harvesting and take between 18 months and 3 years to mature. Yes, and now we've finally come to the real reason why pine nuts are so expensive. Often, when there are poor harvests and demand outstrips supply, prices rise.

But with pine nuts, the harvesting process is extremely difficult and labor intensive, hence the high price. If conditions really worsened and there was a poor pineapple harvest, we would see an even greater increase in the cost of pine nuts. As demand for pine nuts increases, the supply of pine nuts cannot keep up due to the long time it takes trees to mature. Even pine nuts that do not originate in China are likely to be transported there first for processing, which means that they are effectively exported twice and consumers take the bill.

And unless someone comes up with a brilliant robot for harvesting pine nuts, the price is likely to remain exorbitantly high. As you can see, it's not just about being able to eat pine nuts directly from the tree, and there are many stages that need to be completed to make them edible. The men and women involved in the extraction of pine nuts are artisans, which should explain why pine nuts have the price they have. Abadia Retuerta, from Mexico, says that once pine nuts are removed, they are sorted by size before brushing, washing and then packed and ready for distribution.

For this reason, the intense work put into working on these trees, including the time it takes them to mature, adds to the high price and value of pine nuts. However, the county's pine nut processing companies have increasingly shifted their attention from exports to China's domestic market to meet the country's growing demand for pine nuts. This contrasts with 3 years for cashews and walnut trees, 5 years for walnut trees and only 4-5 months for peanut plants. One would think that given the large number of pineapples in densely wooded areas, there would be no shortage of these delicious nuts.

Also known as pignoli or pinion, pine nuts are one of the most expensive ingredients in the world, thanks to the amount of time needed to grow walnuts and the effort required to extract the pinion from the tight embrace of its double shell. Pine mouth most often occurs with pine nuts produced by the type of pine found in China, so as long as you stay away from those sprockets (and cut them just to make sure), you should be OK. Pine mouth, or pine nut syndrome, occurs when you eat too many pine nuts, and let almost everything you eat taste metallic and bitter for a few days afterwards. Grimo added that it is not the same as climbing a walnut tree, for example, since the branches of the pine are tighter.

It's incredibly tasty and very tasty,” Linda Grimo, manager of Grimo Nut Nursery in Ontario, Canada, told TMRW. .

Laura Tabag
Laura Tabag

Lifelong reader. Friendly internet trailblazer. Devoted web expert. Passionate pop culture guru. Award-winning food junkie.

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