What are pine nuts?
Pine nuts are the small elongated and peeled seeds from the cones of the pine (conifer). The nut lies between the scales of the cones and is inside a hard shell. The Mediterranean Pine kernels are longer than the Asian ones.
What do pine nuts taste like? What do I use them for?
They have a butter-almond-like flavor with a resinous aroma. Their delicate taste goes well with all kinds of food, not only savory but also sweet. They are used to baking cakes, biscuits, and macaroons. The Indian and Turkish cuisine flavor rice, and the Moroccan cuisine ads them to couscous and fresh spinach in combination with olive oil and garlic.
The Italian cuisine uses pine nuts in pasta salads or filled omelets. They belong to pesto Alla Genovese as well as in the Torta Della Nonna. They also taste good with fried chicken or a delicious mushroom carpaccio.
Nutrition facts of pine nuts per 100 gr
- Calories 670 and 2800 kJ respectively
- Fat 60 g
- Carbohydrates 20 g
- Protein 13 g
- Fiber 1 g
How do I use them?
Pine kernels are carefully roasted before use and consumption, in a nonstick pan, preferably without fat. By roasting, their unique aroma unfolds much better, and they also get a delicious crispy consistency. Please be careful, because they burn very quickly, which is a pity, especially regarding their high price. Roast pine nuts at medium heat, and once they have a small tan, put them in another bowl to cool. Otherwise, it could happen that they still burn unnoticed by the remaining heat of the pan.
Where do pine nuts come from?
The pine belongs to the pine family (Pinaceae) and grows in the Mediterranean Area, China, Pakistan, and Korea. The plant has its origin in Asia Minor. You may find it under the following names: Mediterranean pine, umbrella pine, Italian stone pine.
The pine can grow to a height of 30 meters and get 200 years old. It is a very resistant tree, has low demand on the soil, and is resistant to dry periods. The tree grows on both calcareous soils and sandy soil. It also keeps good long periods of heat above 30 °C without rain.
Worth knowing about them
Pine nuts are small, delicate nuts that find their use as an ingredient in lots of Mediterranean and Oriental dishes. They have an almond-like flavor with a resinous aroma. It is a pity that they play more of a side role in the kitchen with us because they set, with their irresistible aroma, very delicate highlights.
Pine nuts are expensive. They are among the most expensive nuts on the market. The Pine Tree grows wild and carries fruits only after the tree reaches the age of 20 years. Besides, the seeds need 3 years to mature. The harvest is elaborate and pure handwork. First, it's time to climb and harvest the cones or shake them off the tree with poles and collect them. Then, they pick the pine seeds out of the cones and free them from their hard shell and seed skin.