Food Guts - Ingredient Information

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Pine Nuts

Nutritional Information

1 cup, pine nuts

  • Calories 909
  • Calories from Fat 830.7
  • Amount%DV
  • Total Fat 92.3g142%
  • Saturated Fat 6.614g33%
  • Monounsaturated Fat 25.331g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat 45.996g
  • Cholestreol 0mg0%
  • Sodium 3mg0%
  • Potassium 806mg23%
  • Total Carbohydrate 17.66g6%
  • Dietary Fiber 5g20%
  • Sugars 4.85g
  • Protein 18.48g37%
  • Calcium 2mg0%
  • Iron 42mg233%
  • Vitamin A 1%
  • Vitamin C 2%

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Pine Nuts on Wikipedia:

Stone Pine cone with pine nuts - note two nuts under each cone scale

Pine nuts are the edible seeds of pines (family Pinaceae, genus Pinus). About 20 species of pine produce seeds large enough to be worth harvesting; in other pines the seeds are also edible, but are too small to be of great value as a human food.[1][2][3]

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Species and geographic spread

In Europe, pine nuts come from the Stone Pine (Pinus pinea), which has been cultivated for its nuts for over 6,000 years, and harvested from wild trees for far longer. The Swiss Pine (Pinus cembra) is also used to a very small extent.

In Asia, two species are widely harvested, Korean Pine (Pinus koraiensis) in northeast Asia (the most important species in international trade), and Chilgoza Pine (Pinus gerardiana) in the western Himalaya. Four other species, Siberian Pine (Pinus sibirica), Siberian Dwarf Pine (Pinus pumila), Chinese White Pine (Pinus armandii) and Lacebark Pine (Pinus bungeana), are also used to a lesser extent. Afghanistan is an important source of pine nuts.

In North America, the main species are three of the pinyon pines, Colorado Pinyon (Pinus edulis), Single-leaf Pinyon (Pinus monophylla), and Mexican Pinyon (Pinus cembroides). The other eight pinyon species are used to a small extent, as are Gray Pine (Pinus sabineana), Torrey Pine (Pinus torreyana) and Sugar Pine (Pinus lambertiana). In the United States, pine nuts are mainly harvested by Native Americans, particularly the Shoshone, Paiute, Washoe, and Hopi tribes.[4] Certain treaties negotiated by tribes and laws in Nevada guarantee Native Americans' right to harvest pine nuts.[5]

Ecology and status

In the United States, millions of hectares of productive pinyon pine woods have been destroyed due to conversion of lands, and in China, destructive harvesting techniques (such as breaking off whole branches to harvest the cones) and the removal of trees for timber have led to losses in production capacity.[2]

Physical characteristics

European Stone Pine nuts (Pinus pinea) to be compared with the picture below

Pine nuts contain, depending on species, between 10–34% protein, with Stone Pine having the highest content.[2] They are also a source of dietary fiber. When first extracted from the pine cone, they are covered with a hard shell (seed coat), thin in some species, thick in others. The nutrition is stored in the large female gametophytic tissue that supports the developing embryo (sporophyte) in the centre. Although a nut in the culinary sense, in the botanical sense pine nuts are seeds; being a gymnosperm, they lack a carpel (fruit) outside.

The shell must be removed before the pine nut can be eaten. Unshelled pine nuts have a long shelf life if kept dry and refrigerated (at –5 to +2 °C); shelled nuts (and unshelled nuts in warm conditions) deteriorate rapidly, becoming rancid within a few weeks or even days in warm humid conditions. Pine nuts are commercially available in shelled form, but due to poor storage, can have poor flavour and may be already rancid at the time of purchase.

European pine nuts may be distinguished from Asian ones by their greater length in comparison to girth; Asian pine nuts are stubbier, shaped somewhat like long kernels of corn. The American Pinyon nuts are known for their large size and ease of shelling. In the United States, P. edulis, the hard shell or New Mexico and Colorado became a sought after pine nut species due to the Trading Post System and the Navajo people who used the nuts as a means of commerce. The Italian pine nut, (P. pinea) was brought to the United States by immigrants and became a favored treat along the East Coast until the early 1930's when bumper crops of American Pine nuts were readily available at low prices.

Korean Pine (Pinus koraiensis) pine nuts - unshelled, and shell, above; shelled, below

Culinary uses

Pine nuts have been eaten in Europe and Asia since the Paleolithic period. They are frequently added to meat, fish, and vegetable dishes. In Italian they are called pinoli or pignoli[6] and are an essential component of Italian pesto sauce. The pignoli cookie, an Italian specialty confection, is made of almond flour formed into a dough similar to that of a macaroon and then topped with pine nuts. Pine nuts are also featured in the salade landaise of southwestern France. Pine nut coffee, known as piñón (Spanish for pine nut), is a speciality found in the southwest United States, especially New Mexico, and is typically a dark roast coffee having a deep, nutty flavour; roasted and lightly salted pine nuts can often be found sold on the side of the road in cities across New Mexico to be used for this purpose. The Nevada Pine Nut, or Great Basin pine nut has a sweet fruity flavor and is relished for its large size, sweet flavor and ease of peeling. Pine nuts are also used in chocolates and desserts such as baklava. It is also a widely used ingredient in Middle Eastern cuisine, reflected in a diverse range of dishes such as kibbeh, sambusek,