Pine Nuts – Return but at a High Price

By : | 2 Comments | On : July 8, 2010 | Category : General

Pine Nust
Pine Nust

Pine Nuts

It is the summer season here and the basil is growing and wilting a bit under our unusually hot summer. Once we have basil we begin to think pesto and that requires pine nuts. For the past month we have been in search for pine nuts. Our bulk option has always been at Costco but they have been completely out and so have many other stores. I found a tiny jar of them at one grocer for $5 and almost fainted.

It appears that there has been a worldwide shortage of pine nuts and and our sources are changing dramatically. Most pine nuts are coming from China and the species are different than from the European varieties. The shortage is now making the price double what it was only a year ago.

Having no luck in the Washington DC area we looked for them recently in Canada while visiting family. We went to a bulk barn and they said yes we have them after no supply for 6 months. The price $45.99/lb. Still cheaper than the jar but wow we might need to find some alternatives. We took about 3/4 of a pound and returned to the US. I implied that these need to be locked in a safe. Fast forward a few day and pine nuts have arrived again at Costco. The price was more than double last year or about $35 for 24oz. We grabbed some, but again wondered are we crazy. I mean a good steak is not even that much a pound. I am still thinking we might need to install a safe in the pantry for these. The stores might need to start to lock them up like saffron and black truffles.

Well the good news is that pine nuts have returned but I will be looking to try some new pesto versions. Almonds, cashews, pistachios are all on my list to try this summer and branch out from grinding up $$ in with my basil for pesto. How is the price of pine nuts changing the way you use them -vote?

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Comments (2)

  1. posted by Megan on July 8, 2010

    I had not idea pine nuts were so expensive! No wonder we couldn’t find them at our local discount grocery store 🙁 So are there any alternatives for making pesto?

  2. posted by dewluca on July 28, 2010

    Same experience here in Minnesota . . . coop wanted $43/lb; regular grocery $32/lb; Whole Foods $30/lb (I don’t do the whole CostCo experience . . . too overwhelming for me . . . so I don’t know what they might cost there). Anyway, I bought about 1/2 pound at Whole Foods.
    I’m a pesto purist, so I’ll be making my usual pesto recipe (basil, garlic, pine nuts, olive oil, parmesan) but will lower the proportion of pine nuts . . . .
    I’ll be checking back to see what you think of the variations. I don’t like the bitterness of walnuts, but the cashew idea sounds almost feasible . . .


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