First of all, what are pine nuts and why are they so expensive?
Pine nuts are the seeds of pine trees. They are used in various cuisines found all over the globe – notably Italian, East Asian, Brazilian, Middle Eastern, and Russian. Pine nuts are mild, sweet, and nutty in flavour, and buttery because of their high fat content. In this post I will show you how to toast pine nuts to enhance their delicious flavour.
Only certain varieties of pine tress produce seeds large enough to harvest. And it takes at least ten years before a pine tree is mature enough to produce seeds that can be harvested. These seeds are encased in very hard shells inside of pinecones. The difficult extraction of the seeds combined with the lengthly growing time that is required are what cause pine nuts to be expensive.
Are pine nuts good for you?
Yes! Pine nuts are high in antioxidants. They are also rich in magnesium, vitamin E, and monounsaturated fats, which are beneficial to protecting the heart from heart disease. And, like other nuts, they are recommended in diets that focus on warding off cognitive decline. You can find so many health benefits in these tasty treats.
How to toast pine nuts
Oven method of toasting pine nuts
This is my preferred way to toast pine nuts because they will cook more evenly, and it’s easy to toast them in large batches this way. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Spread the pine nuts out evenly, directly onto a baking sheet.
Bake them for five minutes, or until they get a nice golden colour. Make sure to not leave them in the oven. The high fat content of pine nuts will cause them to burn quickly.
Stovetop method of toasting pine nuts
The stovetop method is equally easy, but will cook the pine nuts unevenly as there is a one directional heat source. Simply place the nuts directly into a skillet (no oil) and cook over medium heat for just a few minutes until golden. Remove from the heat immediately to prevent burning. This method works better with small batches.
How to use them
Pine nuts can be used in so many dishes! The possibilities are endless… They make an excellent topping for salads, sautéed greens, or vegetable dishes. Add a nutty crunch to your favourite risottos or dips.
Toasted pine nuts are a garnish in the traditional late-autumn, winter Korean cinnamon ginger punch. They add a fantastic nutty fragrance that takes this delicious drink over the top.
How to store toasted pine nuts
Store toasted pine nuts in an airtight container in a refrigerator for a week or two, or freeze them in a heavy duty freezer bag for up to three months. You will know when pine nuts are no longer good as they will become bitter and have an unpleasant odour.Print
An easy guide for how to toast pine nuts. Add these delicious, sweet and buttery nuts to your diet for a healthy treat. They make a fantastic topping for so many things.
1 cup pine nuts (or as many as you want)
[My preferred method because the pine nuts are cooked more evenly.] Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Spread pine nuts evenly, directly onto a baking tray. Bake for 5 minutes, or until fragrant and golden in colour. Do not leave in oven too long as they burn easily.
Add pine nuts to a dry skillet (with no oil) and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes, or until fragrant and golden in colour. Don’t overcook as they burn very easily.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, or in a heavy duty freezer bag in the freezer for up to 3 months. Pine nuts that have gone bad will have an unpleasant odour and a bitter taste.
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