You may be conversant in pine nuts–the teardrop-shaped, delicious little nut that’s often employed in making pesto and within the cooking of other dishes. Pine nuts are the pine tree seeds that are fit for eating. These usually have an edible part that is inside a hard, inedible nut casing.
Pine nuts are one of the dearer nuts on the market thanks to the time required to grow the nuts and thus the difficulty to reap the seeds from their protective encasement.
The Pine Trees That Produce Pine Nuts
Approximately 20 species of pine trees produce pine seeds that are large enough to reap. The foremost commonly harvested seeds come from four particular conifer varieties: the Mexican pinon (Pinus cembroides), the Colorado pinion (P. edulis), the Italian stone pine (P. pinea), and thus the Chinese pinon (P. koraiensis).
A Time and Labor Intensive Harvest
It takes anywhere from 15 to 25 years for the trees to begin producing the seeds and up to triple that point for them to succeed in top production. Most of the North American pine nuts come from wild, uncultivated trees. For the foremost part, the seeds are harvested by hand, a contributing factor to their expensive tag.
The pine seeds are found within the pine cones and take about 18 months to mature. Since the pine nut can harvest 10 days nearly before the cone begins to open, they’re very difficult to urge obviate. to hurry up and ease the tactic, the cones are placed in an exceedingly gunnysack and left in the sun to dry for 20 days.
Next, these cones are smashed which in turn releases the seeds. They are then separated from the cone by hand. This could be another very time-consuming and patient-testing task.
The pine cone isn’t the only real covering for the seed; each pignolia incorporates a second shell that has to be removed before eating. type of those shells is thin and easy to wish off whereas others are thicker and tougher. All of the above factors contribute to the understandably high price of edible nuts.
Appearance and Use
Pine nut are small, elongated ivory-coloured seeds measuring about 1/2 inch long. Raw seeds have a soft texture and a sweet, buttery flavour as compared to when cooked. They’re often lightly toasted to bring out the flavour and to feature a small crunch.
Pine nut are quite famously eaten in many cultures as a staple around the globe. In the U.S., the foremost popular use is in pesto or as a crunchy salad topper. They’re also good to be used in desserts like shortbread cookies and for adding a twist to hummus.
Pine Nut Mouth and Allergies
As delicate and delicious as pine nuts are, they’ll have negative effects when eaten. Called “pine nut mouth” or “pine nut syndrome,” this condition implies that simply eating pine nut causes the choice of food you consume to possess a metallic, bitter taste.
Fortunately, this only lasts some days and is believed to be caused by specific species of pine trees mainly found in China. And although edible nut allergies are real, they’re plenty less common than other nut allergies.
When it is best
Pine nut are available most of the time of the year. Buy them raw or roasted, hoping on how you plan to use them.
Storage and Food Safety
Raw pine nut should be consumed within a pair of months because the unsaturated fats tend to travel rancid quickly. Store pine nut within the refrigerator or freezer to prolong their period. If pine nuts start to smell rancid or look mouldy, throw them away. You’ll be ready to also roast or purchase roasted pine nuts which could last longer than raw pine nut.
How to Prepare
Pine nuts are easy to consume raw. You’ll be able to toss them onto salads, and pasta dishes, blend them into grain dishes, and you’ll even use them to top dessert or yoghurt.
Roasting pine nut brings out their mild and delicate flavour. To roast the seeds, simply spread them on a baking sheet and place them in a very very 350-degree oven for 10 minutes or less. Ensure to stay a watch on the nuts because they burn quickly.