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A handful of toasted pine nuts can be tastier sprinkled on a fresh spinach and strawberry salad, served with grilled pork chops and a bottle of rosé.
You made the investment, but now you may be too nervous to do anything other than look at the fancy pine nut pouch on the counter. It is not difficult to lightly toast this lovely little walnut. Roasting nuts is an essential kitchen skill. It highlights the wonderful flavor of the pinion and adds a little extra crunch along the way.
What are pine nuts and where do they come from?
Pine nuts, also known as piñon or pignoli, are the buttery, nuts and absolutely delicious little seeds of, yes, pines. Inside the pineapples, there are hard seeds, and inside those … the pine nuts.
However, only about 20 different species of pine trees produce pine nuts that are large enough to eat, and many of those species grow in the United States, Italy, China, and Russia.
Why are pine nuts so expensive?
It's crazy to see the price of pine nuts these days. Part of the inflated cost of the pinions is due to poor growing conditions due to the weather. Pine nut crops have been notoriously affected, which always drives up the price.
Another reason why pine nuts are so tall is that they are incredibly difficult to harvest. Each and every nut is removed from its hard inner shell by hand, an incredibly laborious process that there is no way to avoid.
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Pine nuts nutrition:
Like all nuts, the health benefits of pine nuts are excellent. They are rich in good fats, fiber, and vitamin E. Pine nuts contain minerals, antioxidants, and plant sterols, which can help maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
An ounce of pine nuts contains:
- 191 calories
- 1 mg sodium
- 169 mg potassium
- 3.9 g of protein
Pine nut allergy:
Although pine nuts are revered in culinary circles, some people stay away from them, due to a phenomenon known as "pinions mouth." It makes some people have a metallic taste in their mouth after eating them; sometimes this can last for a few days.
Although scary, especially when you don't know what's causing it, pinion syndrome is believed to originate from the seeds of specific pine species in China. It is harmless, but inconvenient.
True pine nut allergy is much less common. Pine nuts are technically a seed, but if you are allergic to pine nuts, it is best to talk to your doctor before trying them.
Pine nut substitute:
Fortunately, pine nuts can be replaced with another walnut like walnuts or almonds, especially when ground in pesto.
How to toast pine nuts in the oven:
Using the oven to toast pine nuts makes them even, beautifully browned.
- Turn the oven on to 350 degrees and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. A rimmed sheet is important to keep all those precious seeds in the pan, not the bottom of the oven. And parchment paper helps protect the seeds from burning.
- If desired, you can lightly toss the pine nuts in olive oil and salt, but it is not necessary. Spread the pine nuts on the baking sheet in a single layer.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 5 to 7 minutes, until lightly golden and fragrant. Gently mix the nuts halfway through cooking.
- Watch the oven carefully and do not walk away, even for a moment, they can burn quickly. Remove them from the pan as soon as they are ready, so that the heat from the baking sheet does not continue to cook them.
Toasting pine nuts on the stove:
- Using a skillet and stove to toast pine nuts is quick and easy, but the nuts are toasted in spots.
- You can lightly add the pine nuts in oil and a little salt, if you like, but they have natural oils that will aid in the roasting process.
- Add pine nuts to a skillet and cook on the stove over medium heat, rotating frequently. Roasting pine nuts in the pan only takes 2 to 5 minutes.
- Take a close look at the nuts and immediately remove them from the pan on a plate when they are golden brown and toasted; a hot skillet will continue to cook them.
Toasting pine nuts in the microwave:
- Baking pine nuts in the microwave is a great method when you need to toast only a small amount of walnuts.
- Using a fine mesh strainer, rinse the pine nuts in cold water and mix with a little kosher salt, if desired.
- Pour the walnuts into a small paper bag (like a brown lunch bag), close the top of the bag, and microwave on HIGH for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes.
- Take the bag out of the microwave and let it cool down.
Pine nut recipes:
- Try sprinkling toasted pine nuts on grilled broccoli with lemon and parmesan.
- Toast walnuts for pesto, with lots of fresh basil, some handfuls of pine nuts, olive oil and grated Parmesan cheese.
- Mix toasted pine nuts with creamy pasta and a little bacon for a luxurious dinner.
- Sprinkle pine nuts over grain salads; Quinoa Tabbouleh could be just the thing.
- Make your own delicious Dukkah with pine nuts to top off the grilled swordfish.
American type of cuisine Cook time: 5 minutes Total time: 5 minutes Servings: 4 (1/4 cup) servings Calories: 106kcal
- 1 cup pine nuts or more
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or clarified butter, optional
- Optional salt
To toast pine nuts in the oven:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cover a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil for easy cleaning.
- Mix pine nuts in oil and salt if desired. Arrange in a single layer on a prepared baking sheet. Toast until lightly browned and fragrant, stirring occasionally, 5 to 7 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and use as desired. Or store it in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
To toast pine nuts on the stove:
- Mix pine nuts in oil and salt if desired. In a medium skillet over medium heat, heat pine nuts until lightly browned and fragrant, stirring occasionally, 2 to 5 minutes.
- Remove from the pan and use as desired. Or store it in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
How to toast pine nuts in the microwave:
- Using a fine mesh strainer, rinse the pine nuts in cold water and mix with kosher salt, if desired.
- Transfer the walnuts to a small brown paper bag, close the top of the bag, and microwave on HIGH for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes.
- Remove the bag from the microwave and allow to cool.
Calories :: 106kcal
How to pinion