One of the most convincing scientific explanations is that some imported pine nuts are not of good quality or even one of the edible varieties. Pine nuts are harvested from the pine cones of pine trees -- a task that is no easy feat. There are several different varieties of pine trees that grow throughout the world, but not all of the seeds are considered to be edible. Areas of the world that are known for their pine nut harvests include California, South America, the Mediterranean region, and Asia (mostly China).
Some believe to keep costs down, some exporters from China have mixed in lesser quality or inedible pine nuts with their premium harvest. As you know, pine nuts are expensive in comparison to other nuts. This is due to the harvesting process and supply and demand of the business. To increase the profit margin, some exporters may indeed be following this bad business practice.
To be on the safe side, some pine nut consumers are being extra-cautious about the origin of the pine nuts they purchase. Some avoid pine nuts from China altogether. If you check your package label, it should give you a listing of countries that the pine nuts were imported from.
Should you stop eating pine nuts? Absolutely not! They are delicious and have been a staple in many international cuisines for centuries. You can choose to follow the lead of others by being cautious about the country of origin of your pines and see if that may make a difference.
Here are some recipes with pine nuts that I thought you may like to try! From one pine nut lover to another, I hope you enjoy!