Pine Nuts

Pine Nuts

by CFYL Staff on October 11, 2015

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Why not dress up your daily meals and snacks with an ancient dietary treasure?

For thousands of years, Native American, Asian and European communities have harvested pine nuts for their revitalizing and tasty qualities.

If there’s one thing we all know about pine nuts it’s that they’re expensive. If you gaze up a 75 ft pine tree, you can understand why. These seeds are nearly impossible to pick, but there are distributors who get the job done –gathering pine nuts from the forest floor and patiently picking them from dense pinecone shells.

Pinch a few pine nuts and snack on them for a daily dose of vitamins, minerals, and 20 types of amino acids. Significant percentages of zinc, magnesium, copper, manganese, and protein can be found in these seeds along with a wealth of other nutrients. According to various studies published by the American Cancer Society and the Mayo Clinic, adequate consumption of zinc is associated with a lower risk of certain cancers, while other scientific research has suggested that copper may help maintain our antioxidant defenses. The body utilizes manganese to digest fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. Last but not least, for vegetarians, pine nut can be a good plant-based source of healthy fats, and a substitute for the proteins commonly derived from meat.

Ann’s Tips

Pine nuts are an expensive item, but when you compare their cost to say a pound of other high quality proteins like halibut or a good grass-fed steak, you’ll see that you’re getting a decent bang for your buck, especially since unlike the fish or steak, you won’t be eating them in one sitting.

You can buy pine nuts in bulk at most grocery stores and though you’ll save by buying them this way, don’t go overboard, as they can go rancid rather quickly. This is why we recommend storing pine nuts, and all nuts, in the fridge, where they will keep for up to 3 months. Pine nuts freeze well too.

Recipe Tips

The versatility of these small morsels is truly unique. Toast them, roast them, or eat them raw. It only takes minutes to toast pine nuts in a 400-degree oven, or dry roast them in a heavy skillet. Just wait for them to turn a pale golden brown. It is always convenient, and delicious, to sprinkle pine nuts into harvest salads and rice pilafs.

For a delicious Italian basil pesto , try our classic Basil Pesto. Fresh basil pesto is delicious stirred into a number of ours soups like Grandma’s Minestrone, or Tomato & Sweet Potato Soup. Try them in our Asparagus & Pine Nut Pasta, Tomato Raisin & Pine Nut Bruschetta, and our Sautéed Spinach with Raisins & Pine Nuts

 

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