Have you ever heard of the term ‘pine mouth’?
If you have not, it simply refers to people who have a bitter and metallic taste in the mouth after eating pine nuts within a day or two. This can be found in pasta dishes, salads, and even cookies.
There isn’t a lot of information available about pine mouth. There’s no known cause, no explanation as to why nuts affect some people’s taste buds, no known reason if there is a certain species of pine that is the culprit, or if the source is causing the problem. For obvious reasons, people who are affected by pine mouth are curious to know as to why is this happening especially since its effects can make everything taste different for them up to two weeks.
Now, who would want that, right?
Well, one reason is that the fats found in the pine nuts must have been rancid – causing it to create new compounds that react differently with our taste buds. It could either change the flavor directly or it could send mixed signals from your tongue leading to your brain. With this, those who are affected can sense that they are eating something that’s bitter.
The said nuts were already tested, but there was nothing unusual found. No toxins, fungus, or any other pesticide. What’s odd about this is it isn’t some type of food poisoning. Not everyone gets affected by it. For example, if a group of people eats the same pasta served, it is highly possible that only one person can be affected by pine mouth.
As this case is kind of new, it also means that could take quite some time for scientists to unravel what is it that makes a person get pine mouth. However, this is not the first time we are exposed to this type of phenomenon. Remember how artichokes could make other foods taste sweeter?
In addition to the mix, do you also remember the berry that is called a miracle fruit? It is equipped with a compound which is miraculin – where when the miracle fruit gets chewed, you would be surprised by a sweet taste on your tongue as stimulated by acids and not sugars. It takes a couple of hours before the effect wears off. If you want to make your cider vinegar taste like apple juice, take a bite into that miracle fruit!
Isn’t it wonderful how there is still so much to learn and discover?