Good Product: Trader Joe's Toasted Pine Nuts

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Toasted pine nuts can be a final grace note to well-constructed salads, pastas, and cooked veggies, and I often reach for them at the last minute to add savor and crunch.

Sometimes I stop short, however, realizing that I just don't have time to toast them. Untoasted pine nuts have a raw, mealy taste that I find unpleasant; toasting releases delicious oils and aromas. But toasting tiny pine nuts takes time and supervision. I have often burned a batch while trying to multi-task.

So when I saw pre-toasted pine nuts at Trader Joe's I decided to try them out in a couple dishes. They turned out to be evenly toasted with a golden color and that savory taste. They were not, however, quite as fresh-tasting as the pine nuts I buy in bulk and toast myself - not quite as crunchy, and a little soft in the middle.

For a last minute addition, however, to a salad or a dish of wilted spinach, when you are too hurried to pull out a pan and spend five minutes in careful supervision, they are just great. I do suggest storing them in the fridge to keep them fresh; rancid pine nuts are no good.

• 8 ounce bags available at Trader Joe's for about $3.89, depending on location.

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Shopping, Meal Helpers, Snacks

Faith is the executive editor of The Kitchn and the author of three cookbooks. They include Bakeless Sweets (Spring 2013) as well as The Kitchn's first cookbook, which will be published in Fall 2014. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband Mike.

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