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Aug 19, 2012 10:48 AM

ISO a good place to buy pine nuts

It's pesto-making time and I need pine nuts. I saw them at Giant yesterday but they were $9.99 for a 4-oz container. Unbelievable!

Is there a good place to buy them, preferably in southern Chester County? Thanks!

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  1. Alternative approach .. consider using walnuts. I personally actually prefer it with walnuts.

    1. Yea that is a bit crazy, pine nuts are expensive but not that expensive. In the city Nuts to You has them for less than $20/lb but you may need to buy at least half a pound.

      Have you looked at the Whole Foods bulk secton? I've found that regular supermarkets are often more expensive than WF for items like this (not to mention have less turnover and are not as fresh). Trader Joe's will have a good price too but again I think they only sell by the half or full pound. Freshness is suspect at TJ's though. A nut/seed specialty store like Nuts to You is usually the best for price and freshness.

      2 Replies
      1. re: barryg

        I get them in the bulk section at Whole Foods, I don't recall the price but they have one important advantage over regular grocery store pine nuts: they are from Spain, not China. The flavor is much better.

        ETA: +1 for cwdonald's suggestion, any fatty nut will work in pesto, try some different nuts. Pistachios are nice too.

        1. re: Buckethead

          Or you can leave out the nuts altogether. More of a French pistou that way, still delicious. I like almonds as a substitute if I want the texture that nuts add.

      2. I use walnuts instead but if you're a Costco member (or know someone who is) they have them for a good price. Don't remember how much, but remember taking notice that they had them and they were reasonable (for pine nuts).

        1. Another +1 on the walnuts. That's what I've used for the past several years, and no one really knows the difference. Try a batch to see you you like it. I put my $ in good olive oil and cheese.

          1. Looked at TJ's the other day, they were selling half-pound packets for $8. The source was listed as Russia and a couple Asian countries (forget which) but not China.

            4 Replies
            1. re: barryg

              I"ve generally had good luck w/ the TJ's pine nuts.

              1. re: Bob Loblaw

                Wegmans has pine nuts for 4.99 for 4 ozs. Not sure of source. Definitely not a bargain.

                1. re: Bob Loblaw

                  Just be aware that the TJ's have been confirmed to include the variety which causes "pine mouth" in some people. A few chowhounders experienced it first hand from TJ's pine nuts.


                2. re: barryg

                  $16/lb for Asian pine nuts at TJ's vs. $21/lb (I think) for Spanish at Wholefoods is an easy call for me. ($21/lb, coincidentally, is about double the going retail price in Spain. Seems like a big markup.)
                  They come from different trees and the Mediterranean nut is higher in fat and has a nuttier and less pine-tar-like flavor. Might not matter too much in pesto but for sweets or when not used in combination with other strong flavors it makes a big difference, I think.