Why are pine nuts so expensive right now?

image source - flickr.com/photos/pgoyette
image source – flickr.com/photos/pgoyette

Because pine nut crop yields are at their lowest in the last ten years.

Making a proper pesto with all that basil you’ve been growing this summer is going to be expensive. The price of pine nuts is ridiculous right now. Just last week, my local grocery store was selling an 8-oz. bag for $11.99, and equally extreme prices are being found worldwide.

The global harvest of pine nuts fell a whopping 47 percent last year. So why are crop yields so low? Deforestation and logging are a couple of reasons. The number of pines that produce these nuts are quickly shrinking. Drought, pests, and fire are adding to the shortage. All of these factors caused the crop total in China, where the U.S. gets most of its pine nuts from, to fall 90% last year. There are also some U.S. food retailers that have politically decided not to carry ANY items that come from China, making these nuts not only expensive but hard to find.

To keep costs down, try substituting walnuts or pistachios in your pesto. A batch of pignoli cookies, however, is going to cost you.

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