Introduction: Pine Nut Roaster

Have your neighbours a japanese sushi knife costing more than your car? Is a truffel shaver constantly, discreetly, but obviously, on display in their kitchen? Are they incapable of opening a bottle of (real) champagne, without sabering it with a sabre from France? In short, are you desperate to trump them in the kitchen? What about adding a pine nut roaster to your kitchen gadget arms race?

This instruction will show how to make small mesh containers, which can be filled with pine nuts, and put in a toaster like pieces of bread.

The first picture shows what you will need (except for a small combination plier). The most important item is no doubt the auto body repair mesh. Make sure the holes are not too big.

Step 1: Design

Well, to be perfectly honest, there is not much to it, but take into consideration:
* how big your toaster is inside,
* how much mesh have you have got (or will have to buy), and
* do not make the toaster insert as thick as a regular slice of toast.

The thickness of the insert must be a compromise between
a) exposing as many of the nuts as possible to direct radiation,
b) making the insert reasonably easy to fill, and
c) leaving enough material on the short sides to provide stiffness to the edges.

6 mm worked fine for me.

Figure out how to make the most of the precious piece of aluminium mesh you have bought, and how to fold the pieces to make a thin, squarish "pocket".

Do your math on a piece of paper or use the free pine nut toaster design app "Åsa-Nisse" from The numbers in the picture below are specific for the mesh I found, so you really have to face the challenge.

Step 2: Template

Since I wanted to make more than one insert, it paid off to use a template. I simply tranferred the design to some cardboard. In my case, I could use the inside of the envelope in which the mesh was sold.

The trick is that when a piece of mesh is placed on the template, the design is visible through the mesh, and can be copied to the latter with a felt tip marker.

Step 3: Folding

In the first picture below, I hold down the narrow side of the mesh with a small cutting board. It is a whee bit longer than the longest edge of the mesh. Perfect.

When making the two last folds, there is no room for the cutting board, so I improvised with a well worn putty knife. We want nice, sharp creases, so that the final result looks nice.

Step 4: Securing the Sides

The piece of cable which I showed on the picture in the introduction is scavenged for wire. Multi-lead telecom wire is nice, since the individual conductors usually are thin, single-core, copper wires. You will need two 3-4 cm pieces per insert.

The copper wires are bent to an U-shape, stuck through the holes in the edge of the insert, and twisted (and cut) to hold the two sides of the insert together.

Step 5: Filling the Device

At this moment, my camera developed a brain glitch, but the picture below still manages to illustrate how to fill the insert. If you cut a corner of the nut bag, it can be inserted into the toaster device.

(A couple of pictures showing the actual roasting progress, were eaten by the camera, so I'll have to fill that in after my next pine nut roasting session.)

Step 6: End Result

The works more or less OK. As you can see in the picture below, some nuts have outroasted their friends by a fair margin. This was not due to uneven heating in the toaster.

I suspect the reason is that the toaster radiation is too intense for this application. The nuts stay at roughly 100 degrees Celsius as long as there is some moisture left in the nuts, then they turn brown quite rapidly. The rate at which they turn brown after the initial drying phase is perhaps accelerated more by elevated radiation levels, than the rate that they dry up. Consider for instance what would happen if the nuts were put in an oven at 50 degrees Celcius. I am almost sure they would dry up, but not turn brown at all.

In my toaster, the roasting process took about 3 minutes, from a cold start. The colour turns from pale to dark brown in the last 15 seconds, so do not pick up the phone when roasting pine nuts with this device.


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