Pine Nuts

Origin: Pine nuts are the nuts from the pinyon pine trees. Pine nuts natively belong to the United States. It is also believed to have originated in Europe and Asia. History reveals that the pine nuts have been in use ever since the Paleolithic period. Pine nuts are the smallest and the fanciest of all nuts. The taste is sweet and subtle.

Scientifically: Pine nuts belong to the family of Pinaceae and are scientifically known as Pinus. There are over 20 species of Pine trees which provide different types of pine nut. It takes almost 15 to 25 years for the trees to produce seeds. The seeds are generally harvested through hands, thus it’s a time-consuming process.  

The pine seeds are inside the pine cones and take almost18 months. When the pine nuts are ready to harvest, the pine cone begins to open up. This usually happens around 10 to 15 days before maturation. To speed up the harvesting and make the process easy, the cones are left in a burlap bag and left in the sun to dry for 20-25 days.

Later, the cones are smashed which help in releasing the seeds from the cone and can also be easily separated from the cone by hand. The nuts have a thin red-brown shell and range in size from about 3/4 in. (1.91 cm) to about 11/2 in. There are many varieties of pine nuts which are fondly consumed all over the world like Korean pine (Pinus koraiensis) in northeast Asia, chilgoza pine (Pinus gerardiana) in the western Himalaya, Colorado pinyon (Pinus edulis), etc. It is also known as Pignolia.

Pine nuts produced in Europe usually come from the stone pine also known as (Pinus pinea). Pine nuts are usually small, elongated ivory-colored seeds and the size is about 1/2 inch long. When raw, the seeds have a soft texture and a sweet, buttery flavor. They are often lightly toasted to bring out the flavor and to add a little crunch.

Usage: Pine Nuts are packed with protein and has great amount of amino acid. Pine nuts are highly beneficial and are a good source of healthy fats.  Eating pine nuts help in weight loss and boost metabolism. Pine nuts are also rich in vitamin E, vitamin K, copper, iron, and manganese, which support the cardiovascular system. Pine nuts are an excellent source of Vitamin E which help in collagen production and reverse the signs of aging. Pine nuts also contain vitamin A which improves vision. Consumption of pine nuts has been very beneficial for overall skin and hair health. 

Below are some DIYs with pine nuts:

-    Take 2 tablespoons of pine nuts and grind them into a paste with some coconut oil. Apply this paste on the dry areas of the body. Keep it on for 15 minutes and then rinse it off.
-    Take a tablespoon of pine nuts, a teaspoon of yogurt, and aloe vera gel. Blend them together and apply this paste for 10 minutes. Rinse it off later. This remedy helps in balancing sebum production and cleanses the skin.
-    Take a tablespoon of pine nut puree, one tablespoon of oatmeal and some coffee. Mix them together and add water if needed. Apply this remedy for 15 minutes and rinse it off in a scrubbing motion. This remedy helps in removing dead skin for from face and body.
-    Make a concoction of coconut oil, olive oil, and pine nut oil. Mix them in equal quantities. Massage this concoction on scalp and hair for 15-30 minutes and then shampoo it. This remedy helps in strengthening the roots.