HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


Pinenuts - Bitter taste in Mouth

Please tell me someone else has experienced this. I had pinenuts (Costco from China) a couple days ago with dinner. The next day (yesterday) I started having a bitter - extremely bitter taste in my mouth whenever I ate or drank anything... especially if it is sweet!

I did not initially know it was the nuts. I eat them all the time. BUT thenI got online to search for a reason for the bitter. It was all over the net about Chinese pinenuts and these symptoms.

Thought I should warn my fellow chowhounds. AND please - if there is someone else who has experienced this please tell me. I need to know someone else knows what I am going thru (so nasty) and please tell me when it ends!

So SO miserable.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Read all about it here ... apparently quite common.


    1. Did you eat them raw or toasted? I wonder if it makes a difference.

      1 Reply
      1. re: zuriga1

        I toasted them and they were a fresh bag. I just opened them. Still bittery in mouth! I am living on cheddar cheese and grits. They seem to be the least noxious in my mouth. Tea and anything sweet... horrors!

        1. re: janniecooks

          amazing - and selling at the same price! Hmmm.

        2. I made pesto with pinenuts from the Bulk Store in Greektown Monday...and the weird bitter mouth taste kicked in last night! I've eaten pinenuts many many times without any problems. This batch looked different, nuts were small and seemed roasted. Feared I'd been poisoned until doing a google search tonight. Looks like I just need to wait it out and be more careful about sourcing these nuts in the future (or quit eating them altogether).

          3 Replies
          1. re: archie98

            My experience was bad enough to make me quit...at least for now while I can remember the awful taste. Just not worth the Russian roulette as I don't think there's any failsafe way of predicting which are bad!

            1. re: archie98

              Was that Greektown in Baltimore? I write for The Baltimore Sun and am doing a story on this very topic. Looking for Baltimore-area pine nut victim.

              1. re: LauraVoz

                No, Greektown in Toronto! I thought it was a Toronto board and did not claify my location.
                Good luck with the story--well worth getting this pine nut problem publicized. Here's the latest story I found:

            2. The bitter taste has been going on for days and like you I purchased some pine nuts from Costco. Now that I think I have found the answer I will not be eating anymore of these nuts. I contacted Costco and they will give me a full refund, and said they would check into any issues with the product. After trying to eliminate what was causing this bad taste, I would not have expected the pine nuts to be the source. What is hard to figure out is I have had pine nuts before and never have had this reaction. Sure hope this clears up soon, as that foul taste comes back with any kind of food I eat.

              1. ACH, the HORROR! It started for me yesterday after I ate a small bag of salt & vinegar Pirates Booty. I thought they tasted kind of strage but not enough to toss the bag. Within an hour or two EVERYTHING tasted bitter and strangly soapy - including water! Same thing is happening today.. sitting here right now and it's so crazy. I *did* have pine nuts, not toasted kept in freezer, for the last 2 or 3 days but not yesterday.


                1. I have had pine nuts only once at a melting pot restaurant with my food challenged friend and I thought they tasted really sweet and very crunchy is that the way they are supposed to taste?? I had none of the symptoms you guys had i will not eat them ever again if this could happen to me

                  1. I buy my pine nuts here http://www.buylebanese.com/ in order to avoid this problem. If you look at the photo of their pine nuts, you'll see that they a very different shape from the pine nuts that are commonly available in the U.S.

                    1. This is one of the most interesting posts I've read! I love pine nuts, and have had the bitter-taste symptoms before. Athough I couldn't specifically attribute it to eating pine nuts, it might explain some culinary weirdness I've experienced from time to time.

                      Does anybody know which varieties are suspect? I think the last batch I got was from TJ's and came from central or south America.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: EWSflash

                        I believe from what I've read that the suspect source is Asian, most likely China, as that is the source for the majority of pinenuts.

                      2. Well, I was getting ready to give up my search for medical causes. Then I stumbled on your post. I followed ipsedixit's link and read an exact description of what I'm experiencing. Two days ago, I had freshly pan-roasted pine nuts, and then a salad containing those nuts. Last night, I noticed that whatever I ate tasted bitter. Same thing today. It appears that it is nothing more than a nuisance. It is definitely making me less interested eating. I think I'll capitalize on that and use the opportunity to lose a little weight!

                        1. Thank you SOOOOOO Much for posting this. I started eating some Pine nuts (which I love) two days ago. Just out of the bag and by the hand full. I too, have had a HORRIBLE bitter taste, Eating or not. So bad, I started looking on the internet and came across your story. I had just purchased Costco Pine nuts. So now I know what is causing it. Thank you Thank you. Now to find out what poison is in them, and spread the word. I'm going to Costco tomorrow!

                          1. I can't help wondering if this is a universal thing with the Asian pine nuts (as in everybody experiences it) or is it just one of those supertaster things, like the bitterness with saccharin. You know what I mean? Does anybody know?

                            1. I'm on my third day of pine mouth here after having some Trader Joe's pine nuts last Saturday (there was a couple days effect before it kicked in). I'm glad I found that I don't have something worse, but does anyone know a way to treat this? I'm going nuts :( Er, pun not intended.

                              1. Just yesterday created a new thread on same topic -- Pine Mouth: Mysterious, bitter aftertaste from pine nuts -- not realizing this (one-word) pinenut post was out there.

                                Any Baltimore-area pine nut victims out there? I'm writing a story on this topic for The Baltimore Sun.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: LauraVoz

                                  Yes, add me to the list. Had home made pesto on the weekend and still have the bitter aftertaste. Did a search on Google yesterday and discovered the problem, the consensus seems to be that it's not a health issue but still very odd. I posted about it on hyam.net.

                                  1. re: ios94

                                    I am a Baltimore area victim who is currently suffering and will be this week.

                                  1. I have been eating pinenuts my entire life and never before have I run into this problem until recently.
                                    I, like you, began searching the internet only to find hundreds of people having the same problem. My bitterness in my mouth began several weeks ago and I narrowed it down (with the help of the internet) to the pinenuts from China. The bitterness lasts 3-4 days and then goes away until I eat another round of them.
                                    The problem is...I can't find any pinenuts that aren't from China....organic or otherwise.
                                    Does anyone know where to find any?

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: latindancer

                                      You can order pinon pine nuts on line from New Mexico or head east on I 40 and go harvest them yourself in any New Mexico Nat'l forest. It's about time.

                                      1. re: Passadumkeg

                                        I just came back from New Mexico.
                                        I should have thought ahead.

                                    2. Thank goodnes!!! I thought I was losing my mind! (or worse!) I just got back from Santa Fe where I ate pinons from a street vendor which I thought tasted slightly strange, but not enough to not eat them. 2 days later this awful bitter bitter bitter and soapy taste is absolutely driving me crazy! The only thing that tastes at all normal is beer, which I normally do not particularly like, but it seems to cut through this bitterness. The bitterness is there nonstop, but gets much worse when I eat or drink ANYTHING (other than the beer, so you may want to try a brewsky to get at least a moment's relief). I am on day-2 now and praying for relief sometime soon. Thanks for everyone's posts -- I really thought I was either very sick or losing it, but I feel FINE otherwise.

                                      7 Replies
                                      1. re: lwelsh

                                        So you're saying the pinons from the trees in Santa Fe gave you that bitterness in your mouth after eating them?

                                        1. re: latindancer

                                          Probably even in Santa Fe, the street vendor was using Chinese pine-nuts.

                                          1. re: Atahualpa

                                            It's possible the street vendor in SF was using Costco nuts which IS nuts since pinons are everywhere here. SF gift shops are also known for selling Chinese jewelry that they claim is local, Native American-made.

                                            Here's a link to NM pine nuts:


                                            1. re: Atahualpa

                                              I've been to street vendors in Santa Fe and I'm confident they were harvested locally. Whole Foods in Santa Fe has Chinese pinenuts and pinons from a grower in Santa Fe.

                                          2. re: lwelsh

                                            I have the same feeling i thought i am losing it. I started googling the bitter metallic taste cure then i found this website. i tell you i feel awful even now typing how i feel is indescribable. I wish i didn't eat the mixture of nuts with the pine nuts in it. Thanks to the post of other people advising what to eat, mind you iam fearful of eating thinking of this horrible taste. Somebody said aloe vera liquid is good because i tried water and it didn't do anything,so i cannot wait to go home and drink my aloe vera juice which i have at home. This is my 2nd day of feeling awful and not wanting to eat.

                                            1. re: genphil

                                              Hi, I am the OP. It will go away. I think it took 5 or so days before I was willing to eat. Hopefully it will be over by Thanksgiving. I am back to eating pinenuts, but never near holidays or other eating events (just in case). It was terrible and sorta scary. Good news - You will have dropped some weight before indulging during the holidays so you are ahead of the game! Darndest way of dieting though. Fingers crossed for you genphil.

                                              1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                Ugh, scary that it's back this year. I haven't touched pine nuts since I got it last summer.

                                          3. For the past 3 days my wife and I have been experiencing a metallic taste in our mouths and we could not figure out the cause. It is an extremely unpleasant taste. I finally googled "Bitter after taste" and it all made sense. I had purchased a bag of pine nuts from Trader Joes last week. I had been the only one eating the pine nuts when I first notice the metallic taste, then my wife starting noticing the same taste. She is not a fan of pine nuts, but munched on them when I left the bag near our home office computer. Now we are both afflicted with the mettalic after tasted which has lasted 3 days. This experience has taken the pleasure out of eating pine nuts, which I enjoyed since I was a kid when my grandmother boiled then roasted the delicious seasonal nuts purchased from the Chinese grocery merchants in SF Chinatown. Berkeley Bowl Market used to sell them fresh in the shell when they were in season. (I would wrap the nuts in a paper towel put them in a bowl with small amount of water and microwave them covered for several minutes - meaty and tasty).

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: chew24

                                              "This experience has taken the pleasure out of eating pine nuts..."

                                              I haven't eaten pine nuts (one of my favorite foods) for at least six months because of what you're describing. I tried all different brands, including organic, and nothing made a difference....they all caused what you're describing. Once I quit eating them I've never had another episode of that horrible taste again. I miss them but don't want to take the chance.

                                            2. Got pignolis for a recipe this past week-- was astounded to find that they are $25 a pound from China!! And then I saw ones from Italy for $35/ pound! This seems to now be rivalling saffron as one of the most expensive foods!!

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: menton1

                                                couple of existing threads about the price if you search the board. prices went up earlier this year due to a global shortage. grrr.

                                                BTW, some of us are having a heck of a time even *finding* the Italian ones!

                                              2. Do they sell them not shelled because we like to roast the,it reall brings out the flavor Ron

                                                1. Even the supermarket brands in Italy are China sourced Pinenuts, I have stopped sating/using them. Occasionally in Italy you will find pinenuts from Spain, but at a very high price.

                                                  1. I just commented on a thread that was started 5 years ago????? Look before you leap..........

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: ospreycove

                                                      That is okay, they are just as deadly today as they were 5 years ago. China could care less about your health or your pets. IF you die, oh well... As long as they make a profit. There are pinion pines in Arizona, and you can get them from the Navajo Indians, unshelled. I do not know if they are on the internet or not, but I assure you, they are not poisened by the likes of China!!!