WHAT ARE PINE NUTS?
They are the edible seeds that are hidden in the overlapping scales of a pine cone. This is how a pine tree keeps its seed safe from cold temperatures, foraging animals and damp conditions where the nuts would decompose. Difficulty in harvesting these seeds is the main reason why they’re so expensive.
WHY ARE PINE NUTS GOOD FOR YOU?
Like most tree nuts they help reduce the risk of heart disease due to being high in mono-saturated fats. They’re also rich in vitamin E and magnesium. Also the presence of pinolenic acid helps to act as an appetite suppressant. While this might be counter-intuitive considering this food is rich in fat, it’s true!
WHEN ARE PINE NUTS IN SEASON?
Pine cones start to form in early spring and reach their full size by summer’s end. They then stay dormant throughout the winter and resume maturation in the spring through the summer of the following year. However the nuts themselves need to be harvested about a week before the pine cone itself actually opens. This is done by collecting the cones and exposing them to heat for several weeks allowing the seeds to dry and the cones to open.
WHAT KINDS OF RECIPES USE PINE NUTS?
Pesto is one of the most classic pairings where olive oil and fresh basil are added to make a beautiful sauce. Check out this delicious pasta dish from Barefeet in the Kitchen!
DO PINE NUTS CAUSE NUT ALLERGIES?
No they do not. A tree nut allergy is an allergic reaction to both nuts and seeds from certain edible trees. It causes the person’s immune system to overreact. Almonds, cashews, pecans, pistachios and walnuts are the primary culprits in this. However people can be allergic instead to this specific seed instead.