Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Pine mouth

I like all kinds of nuts and seeds. My kids think I'm nuts because they find nuts disgusting.

Pine nuts must be one of my favourites. I eat them raw, straight off the pack, without toasting or making a pesto sauce or anything. They're tiny, but packed with nutrition. And they're delicious. Even Rusty likes them.

While googling about pine nuts one day, I chanced upon many posts about a weird side effect of eating pine nuts. Here's what I've pulled out from Wiki:

"A small minority of pine nuts can cause taste disturbances, developing 1–3 days after consumption and lasting for days or weeks. Though very unpleasant, there are no lasting effects. This phenomenon was first described in a scientific paper in 2001. Some publications have made reference to this phenomenon as "pine mouth".This is a relatively new phenomenon and appears to be most common in nuts coming from China. It has been theorized that the nut trees are absorbing something and passing it on to the nuts, or the nuts themselves are being treated with something before packaging. It is also possible that the nuts have spoiled and are rancid, causing the metallic taste disturbance. Also, it has been hypothesized that this bitter side effect is caused by an allergy that some people may have to pine nuts, but this does not explain the recent appearance of this syndrome. Metallic taste disturbance, known as metallogeusia, is reported 1–3 days after ingestion, being worse on day 2 and lasting for up to 2 weeks. Cases were self-limited and resolve without treatment."

At first I pooh-poohed this theory. What rubbish! But there are hundreds of threads on the Internet about this. Then it happened to me one day. I experienced the strangest sensation in my mouth. For many days, everything I ate tasted sourish and bitter. I lost my appetite and suspected it was the pack of pine nuts from Mustafa Supermarket. The nuts were from China. I threw the entire pack away.

I usually buy the organic ones from USA. When I came across the ones in Mustafa, I bought without checking the country of origin.

After that incident, I bought my next pack from the organic stall. I checked the expiry date and country of origin (USA) before paying. Last week, I ate a small handful. When my mouth felt a little strange 2 days later, I had reason to suspect the nuts.

I decided to try again two nights ago. This time I ate more. True enough, today I am experiencing that same bile taste in my mouth again. Everything tastes so weird now, even my saliva tastes funny.

It seems that both the China and USA imports are capable of causing taste disturbances. Don't tell me I have to give up pine nuts forever!

17 comments:

Malar said...

sounds dangerous!! I guess you should give up on it!

petunialee said...

Dear... raw pine nuts do that. You need to roast them or dry fry them in a pan and they'll be fine.

Blur Ting said...

Malar - I know. Sounds scary right especially when you don't know the cause.

Blur Ting said...

Petunia - I roasted one batch the other time (the one fr China), also the same result. Maybe I should roast these new ones too. But I read from many people that roasting doesn't help too.

Fresh Fry aka 福星 said...

for me is = Will die for pine nuts.

*WIDE GRIN*

Blur Ting said...

Fry - But it is difficult to live with the sour after taste. It will last all week. I've just had dinner and frankly I didn't enjoy my food at all.

petunialee said...

I buy and dry fry mine from Eu Yan Sang. No problem at all for years. But I know what you mean... I experienced it once before. It turned me off food for one week.

Blur Ting said...

Oh, I just found out that SK has the same problem all day too. He ate some that night.

Fresh Fry aka 福星 said...

on the positive side, it helps us to slim down 'cos food turns the pine-nut tongue off. IS THE GOOD. kekekeke......

Amel said...

Oh dear...never heard about this phenomenon before...interesting. I myself am not a nut fan, so I don't generally eat nuts, so I can't share my experiences. But for a food lover like me, having a weird taste in my mouth is definitely a no-no. Ugh...hope it goes away soon...

The Real Mother Hen said...

US doesn't produce pine nuts. All the pine nuts in America are from China. In some cases, they claim it is "product of USA" because the imported nuts are being mixed here.

Blur Ting said...

Fry - Yes, I think so too!

Blur Ting said...

Amel - Yes, it's not a nice feeling.

Blur Ting said...

MH - Really? Gosh, the ones from 'USA' cost twice as much!

Cold Storage sells those packed by an Australian company too but at least they state that the nuts were sourced from China.

The best ones I had were from Korea. They are not sold here. My friend bought me a can when she visited. It was really fresh and yummy.

Anonymous said...

Giant Parkway Parade sells pine nuts from Canada. Don't know if they're really from Canada but they haven't given me any problems. The lady at the nuts counter emphasizes that they're not China!

Blur Ting said...

Anon- Oh, the nuts counter? Ah, I must try. Actually I have eaten loads of pine nuts in the past but this problem only occured recently.
I am beginning to wonder if I have reached my saturation point, or there is such a thing in the first place.

That night, Rusty ate some too. The next morning, he vomitted twice when he was out walking.

I suspect the nuts are toxic!

auntielucia said...

Blur, the US does produce pine nuts according to Answer Com. See this link..

http://www.answers.com/topic/pine-nut