Pine Nuts – Are They Really From Pine Trees?

Pine nus are also known as pignoli. Yes, they actually do come from pine trees. They are the seeds from certain species of pine trees from around the world. Some of the names are the Stone Pine, the Swiss Pine, the Korean Pine, the Siberean Pine, the Lacebark Pine. All pine trees produce seeds, but these particular pines and others have ones that are large enough to make it worth harvesting.

Pine nuts are high in protein and oil. This means they can get rancid quickly so it’s best to keep them refrigerated. If you can smell them before you buy you’ll be able to tell if they are already rancid and can avoid buying a bad batch. Use them up in one month if kept refrigerated. They freeze well and can be kept for up to three months in a freezer.

Pine nuts can be tossed in a salad. Their most popular use is as an ingredient in classic pesto. So that being said, here’s a recipe for classic pesto:

Classic Pesto

2 Tbsp. pine nuts
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
4 cups/4 oz. of washed basil leaves
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

It’s best to prepare this in a food processor, but a good blender will also work well. Blend/process the cheese, nuts and garlic. Add basil leaves. Pulse to get leaves chopped and add oil. Scrape down the side of the bowl. Add more oil if needed. When the mixture is completely emulsified you are finished.

Ideas to use Classic Pesto Sauce:

*on pasta
*spread on Italian bread, add chopped tomatoes and top with grated Parmesan cheese and broil until golden brown. Yummy!
*add as a spread to sandwiches
*top grilled chicken breasts with sauce, add vegetables and a side dish and you have a tasty meal!

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