Pine Nuts

By Katrin Koelle
Updated on 03. Jul. 2020

Pine nut might be best known as the base for pesto, how these buttery, healthy nuts make for a delicious addition to a wide variety of dishes.

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Pine nuts...

  • ...can help lower high blood fat levels. Pine nuts are perfect for anyone with high cholesterol levels because they are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been proven to lower blood fat levels.
  • ...help keep bones strong. Pine nuts are high in the mineral phosphorus (600 mg/100 g), which helps keep bones and teeth strong.
  • ...promote blood formation. Pine nuts provide a good 5 mg of iron per 100 g serving, a mineral which is integral for blood formation.
  • ...support muscle and nerve health. Pine nuts provide a particularly large quantity of the mineral magnesium, which supports the healthy functioning of the nervous system and muscles.
  • ...protect the cells. Pine nuts contain a considerable dose of vitamin E, at almost 14 mg per 100 gram serving. This vitamin can protect the body’s cells from harmful free radicals, which are particularly active during physical or mental stress.
  • ...are high in protein. At 13 percent per 100 gram serving, pine nuts’ protein content is in the upper range.
  • ...provide omega-3 fatty acids. Pine nuts contain a particularly large amount of the essential omega-3 fatty acids that the body needs but cannot produce itself. This is particularly important for vegetarians, as apart from vegetable oils, omega-3 fatty acids are only found in fatty fish.

What You Should Know About Pine Nuts

Pine nuts are generally expensive because they come exclusively from wild growing pines and have to be harvested by hand, which is a laborious and time-consuming business. First, it takes about three years for the delicate kernels to mature in the pine cones. Next, the cones are shaken free from the tree, before the pine nuts are removed from the cones. Finally, the brown shell that surrounds the nut needs to be removed.

Origins

Originally, pine nuts are said to have been native to Asia Minor, but for thousands of years they have also been growing around the Mediterranean and in South America.

Flavor

Pine nuts have a fine, slightly almond-like, subtle resinous aroma and a buttery flavor.

Season

Pine nuts are available all year round in the same quality and without price differences.

Our Favorite Recipes With Pine Nuts

Find all our recipes with pinenuts here.

How Healthy are Pine Nuts?

Of all natural foods, pine nuts contain the most selenium. This trace element is a so-called essential nutrient, i.e. d cannot be produced by the body itself. Selenium has a similar function to vitamin E; above all, it protects the body's cells from free radicals and thus, among other things, from infections, cardiovascular diseases, premature aging and cancer. Pine nuts' relatively large amount of vitamin A further enhances the positive effects of the selenium.

Pine nuts are also high in the mineral phosphorous, with 100 grams containing almost your fully daily requirement. This mineral ensures above all a healthy cell structure and strong bones.

Ppine nuts do have a fairly rich content, but the majority comprises "good" unsaturated fatty acids, which are healthy for the heart. 

PINE NUTS NUTRITIONAL INFO (100 g)  
Calories 674
Protein 13 g
Fat 60 g
Carbohydrates 20 g
Fiber 1 g

Shopping and Cooking Tips

Purchasing

Good quality pine nuts should have an even color and a smooth surface without spots or holes.

Storage

Because of their small size and high fat content, pine nuts can quickly become rancid. Cool and dry storage is therefore particularly important. Seal opened packages well and use up the remaining nuts as quickly as possible. Pine nuts remain fresh and aromatic for a slightly longer period (up to 2 months) if they are stored in the refrigerator.

Preparation

Pine nuts are packaged ready for cooking; they are generally used whole, straight from the bag or jar. Only for pesto are they finely ground, which is done classically in a mortar, but can also be made in a food processor.

Lightly toasting the pine nuts in a coated pan (without fat) enhances their rich flavor.

What to Make With Pine Nuts

The fine and subtle taste of pine nuts goes wonderfully well with sweet and savory dishes of all kinds. Pine nuts taste particularly good in classic Middle Eastern dishes such as couscous, on Turkish pizza, with lamb in date sauce or with goat cheese. Pine nuts also play a leading role in Italian cuisine, and not only in pesto: they also spice up many other favorites from Italy, such as Sicilian and Ligurian pasta, tagliatelle with salmon, Mediterranean pasta salad or macaroni with fennel. Last but not least, Mediterranean-style starters and snacks such as a fine vegetarian mushroom carpaccio, swordfish carpaccio or spicy braised romaine salad taste delicious with the addition of a handful of pine nuts.

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