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Where to buy non Asian pinenuts? SF area

I have not had a problem with TJ's pinenuts but want to buy non Asian pinenuts; don't want to cause any distress to dinner guests.

Also, I've been making my own chicken stock from a recipe from "The Seventh Daughter" by Cecilia Chiang, great book. Did you know her son, Philip, is P.F. Chang? She was on KGO radio not long ago when this was mentioned. I only went to her wonderful Mandarin restaurant about twice; wish I'd gone more often. Remarkable story.

I need a bigger pot than my big pasta pot but don't want one so big I can't lift it. Any recs? I was thinking of hitting Economy Restaurant Supply.

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  1. I keep my eye out for pine nuts from Italy but have not seen any in several years.

    If you live in SF, try Forest for pots. Cheaper than Trimark / Economy.


    1 Reply
    1. We here on the East Coast can get non-Asian pine nuts in a local supermarket chain Shop Rite. I think I have also seen them at Whole Foods. I know you do not have Shop Rite out in CA, but have you checked your larger supermarket chains? Have you checked Whole Foods?

      1. I've purchased pine nuts from Malta at Sigona's market at Stanford Shopping Center.

        1. I don't know where the pine nuts at Rainbow Grocery are sourced from (though I imagine they would know/share if asked) but I always apprecieate they are stored in the refrigerated section. I've never experienced pine nut syndrome (numbness), but most pine nuts taste slightly rancid to me, to the degree that I prefer to use walnuts in almost every application that called for pine nuts unless I hae verified non-rancid pine nuts.

          1. Actually, the P.F. in P.F.Chiang is Paul Fleming. Philip Chiang is only the consultant to P. F. Chang

            3 Replies
            1. re: soupçon

              Ah, good to know. I thought he'd just changed his name slightly for marketing purposes.

              1. re: soupçon

                P F is Paul Fleming, but Philip Chiang was a co-founder and where the Chang part of the name came from.

              2. Just wonder what's the problem with Asian pine nuts

                8 Replies
                  1. re: wolfe

                    The FDA does not appear to be singling out Asian pine nuts. Is there any data implicating one source of pine nuts over another? Or are they being a typically gutless bureaucracy? The chow thread linked by pamf below suggests the problem is a discernibly different species of pine nut from China - but again, has anyone collected data to support that?

                    1. re: BernalKC

                      Italian pine nuts are Pinus pinea. Chinese nuts are a mix of other species but the ones that cause "pine nut syndrome" are Pinus armandii.


                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                        Interesting read. As the author notes, not all Chinese imports are of the suspect species. Also interesting to note that the price spike appears to be related to a bad harvest and not PNS. Too bad this person will not be able to follow through with further studies.

                  2. re: yoroy

                    Some varieties of pine nuts from Asia can cause a bad reaction for some people.


                    1. re: pamf

                      Yes, I experiences PNS about a year or so ago: for about 2-1/2 weeks, everything—and I mean *everything* incl. water—tasted hideously bitter. It was nasty! And then it faded away.

                      Since that first attack, I've found it's hit or miss, and if I do get PNS it only lasts a few days.

                      I tried looking for non-Asian pine nuts, to no avail. Lucca Ravioli in SF said European pine nuts are so expensive that none of their customers would buy them; and most other local vendors I spoke with had no idea the source, not to mention which species. So I'd like to know if anybody successfully finds Pinus pinea for a reasonable price.

                      1. re: tsunamimi

                        Not reasonable. 8 oz for about $40 on line.

                        1. re: wally

                          I've seen 8 oz. for around $30 with shipping.

                  3. Finally, I just made the recipe with TJ's pinenuts; no ill effects.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: walker

                      I had a terrible problem with TJ's pinenuts a few years ago. I hope they've changed vendors, as it would be nice to be able to get them there. I've been buying out of the bulk bin at $36 per pound at the Piedmont Grocery. I tried some from Koreana Plaza that were labeled "US" but I'm wondering if they were just packaged in the US. Or perhaps someone here is growing the variety that causes problems. I had just two of them; the problem hit me a few days later, after which eating was insanely unpleasant for about a week. ;o)

                      1. re: giacomantonia

                        Nobody's growing the problem variety except in China, but they might be repackaging Chinese pine nuts in other countries.

                    2. Bi Rite, in SF's Mission-Dolores neighborhood, carries both asian and non-asian pine nuts and clearly marks them. The non-asian pine nuts are in the freezer at the back.

                      1. Since to the extent possible--truly, not like the menu slogans--I use organic products and have boycotted the PRC since Tienanmen, I've lately been finding packages of Sunridge organic pine nuts, product of USA, at Rainbow. Not cheap--6 oz close to $10. They hang along the edge of one of the two aisles after the frozen stuff.

                        I've generally found my frozen ones have kept long and well, and I am sensitive to rancidity.

                        1 Reply
                        1. Has anyone tried the shell on Nevada pinons at Berkeley Bowl? If so what is the taste?

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: rubadubgdub

                            I really like these, however they take a lot of work to peel (even with several crushing methods I've read about) and, without roasting have a much fresher (greener?) and pinier notes than commercial pine nuts. I generally just eat them as a snack, individually shelling them due to my difficulties with shelling.

                            1. re: ...tm...

                              In one of my many searches, I know I've come across pinenut-crackers (openesr, not goodies!). Do you want me to try to dig it up?