Pine nuts have been a culinary favorite since the Stone Age, and show up in everything from stir-fries, cookies, and sauces. If you’ve ever bought pine nuts, then you know they can be quite pricey because harvesting them is very difficult: these little seeds only grow on pine trees that are at least 25 years old and must be hand-picked. Despite this, we’ve troubled ourselves to harvest them for centuries and benefit from these nutritional powerhouses.
Pine nuts are an excellent source of omega-6 fatty acids, vitamin K, vitamin E, and manganese. Omega-6 fatty acids are essential fats that cannot be made in our bodies and must come from food sources. These fatty acids are one of the components of our cell membranes, and therefore involved in cell to cell communication.
Maintaining bone density during treatment can be a challenge when food doesn’t sound appealing, therefore choosing foods with high amounts of vitamin K is vital.
Another fat-soluble nutrient, vitamin E, is critical for both the structure and protection of our cell membranes. Although a trace mineral, pine nuts also have manganese, which can help other nutrients do their job.
Pine nuts come from many different varieties of pine trees and taste mildly sweet, nutty, and rich. Because they are high in fat, they can quickly go rancid if not stored properly. Keep pine nuts in an airtight container in your fridge or freezer to prolong their freshness.
Keep these on hand to add to texture, nuttiness, and nutrition to salads and vegetarian dishes. You can find pine nuts in a slew of recipes from traditional basil based pesto to pasta and easy veggie sides like our Sauteed Spinach with Raisins and Pine Nuts.