About Pine Nuts
Pine nuts are edible kernels extracted from the seed of a variety of species of pine tree. The seeds are typically thick-shelled and grow inside of pine cones that look very similar to the pine cones that grow on more common pines grown for timber. Cone harvesting and extraction and preparation of the kernels are time-consuming and costly – contributing to the high prices at which pine nuts sell. Pine nuts are highly nutritious and keep well for many months if stored properly in dry, cool conditions and out of direct sunlight. They are extremely versatile in cooking due to their mild flavor, creamy and subtle when raw and richer and nuttier when lightly toasted. They add interest, flavour and texture to many sweet and savoury dishes. They are a truly natural product – essentially unchanged over centuries – requiring no insecticides or fungicides to either grow the trees or prepare the kernels for market.
Pine nuts are wonderfully healthy and nutritious food. They are rich in the kind of healthy fats now considered to be important in a healthy diet. Fatty acids found in pine nuts include linoleic acid and pinolenic acid which both are the subject of research into their role in regulating blood pressure, suppressing appetite for those trying to control their weight and preventing and treating stomach ulcers. More surprising to some is that pine nuts are very rich in protein. Some studies have found at least trace amounts of every one of the 28 amino acids needed for human metabolism. The European stone pine nut has the highest protein content of all the nut pines at 34% by weight. As a result of the high protein content they have a lower oil content than other pine nuts (48% as against 65% for Chinese sourced nuts). They also contain antioxidants (including vitamins A, B, C, D, E and K as well as lutein) which are claimed to prevent disease and aging by eliminating free radicals. Pine nuts have almost no sodium, and contain useful amounts of other minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorous and iron. And finally, they contain moderate amounts of dietary fibre.
Pine Nut Allergies
A small proportion of people have found they have allergic reactions to pine nuts. As far as we can tell from our research, pine nut allergies are significantly less common than allergies to other tree nuts or peanuts, but it is a little hard to be sure because more people have yet to try eating pine nuts than say peanuts, almonds or hazelnuts. It may also be possible that people could show allergic reaction to one pine nut species but not to another species. For anybody who has any reason to believe they might suffer from nut allergies, we highly recommend caution at first when eating pine nuts. We can say with confidence that the machinery used to harvest and process Pinoli premium pine nuts has not been used to process other types of tree or ground nuts.