Everything to Know about Pine Nuts
Where are they from:
Pine cones from Pine trees gives Pine nuts. Duh.
Which country are they from:
China is a major exporter of pine nuts. That’s where DriedFoodSG’s pine nuts hail from. Some assume pine nuts are from US, unfortunately, production capacity in US is too meagre for exports. Here’s why.
Why are they so bloody expensive:
As of now, there is no technological advancement in pine nuts extraction. That means obtaining the delicious little nut remains labour intensive. That is not helped by soaring demand and limited supply, caused by poor harvest due to bad climate changes and careless harvesting habits.
How are they harvested?
In order to explain the amount of labour involved, let’s start from the very first step – harvesting the pine cones.
Pine cones need to be carefully picked from the trees. Damaging their branches will ruin the whole tree, and that means lesser pine trees for harvesting.
Next, the pine cones are dried in a burlap cloth under the sun for 20 days.
Once dried, the cones are smashed to extract the pine seeds, which is then picked out of the burlap bag by hands.
Done? Not yet. Pine seeds are wrapped in a shell, with the creamy pine nuts hiding underneath. That means more labour work to remove the shell in order to free the nuts. Ta-dah. That much human labour for something tiny and precious. That explains the significant cost of eating pine nuts.
But... I see so many pine trees around the world…
Not all pine cones contains pine nuts. Only about 18 species of pine trees yield pine cones that has pine seeds large enough to be commercially harvested. The rest becomes Christmas Trees.
How is pine nuts good for me?
Pine nuts which has more natural oil compared to say, sunflower seed, means they contains more healthy fats which is good for your heart. They also contain a host of essential vitamins and minerals, which perform amazing functions like reducing chances of heart attack and stroke.
How do I eat pine nuts?
The Koreans love adding pine nuts to their dishes, to increase their aesthetic value and also because eating natural, unprocessed pine nuts have been touted to make their skin looks good. The Italians love their pesto sauce grinded with pine nuts for its undisputed buttery, sweet taste. Vegans love pine nuts in everything from their garden salads to their quinoa bowls because, pine nuts make everything taste darn good. Bakers infuse pine nuts into their breads because, well, who doesn’t love pine nuts bread? Use your creativity! Pine nuts can be used in anything!
I heard of “pine mouth”. Whats that?
It’s a symptom used to describe the bitter, metallic taste lingering in the mouth after consuming pine nuts. Also treated as a taste disturbance. Fortunately, no health risks are involved, and this symptom usually disappear after 1-3 days.
How do i know if my pine nuts are "fresh"?
Rancid nuts happen because they are not stored in proper condition. They tend to gives an oily odour and may even look like there's moulds growing on them.
How to store my pine nuts then?
Keep them refridgerated! For an even longer shelf life, throw them in the freezer. Roasted pine nuts can last longer than raw pine nuts out in the open, but we will still recommend cold storage if you intend to eat them over a few days.
Know something else about pine nuts that we don't?
Share with us in the comment below!