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Foods -- Nuts and Seeds

What causes the black bitter spots on pecan meats?

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These black bitter spots on pecans are called kernel spots and are caused by stink bugs. Stink bugs are shield shaped and give off an offensive odor when crushed. The adult stink bug probes into the developing nut meat in August. That leaves the black spot and the bitter taste. The bitter portion is not harmful but isn't very tasty. Cut out the black portion before eating.

PREPARED BY: Angela M. Fraser, Ph.D., Associate Professor/Food Safety Specialist, and Carolyn J. Lackey, Ph.D., R.D., L.D.N., Professor/Food and Nutrition Specialist, North Carolina State University (August 2004)

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