Pine Nuts

Pine nuts are found on pine cones. They are actually seeds produced by a certain variety of pine tree, and are covered by a hard shell. They are one of the richer nuts, and are used to make dishes such as pesto. But do not let their small size fool you, they are full of goodness and health.

Varieties of Pine Nuts

There are several types of pine nuts, common ones including the stone pine or umbrella pine. Most of the edible pine nuts are grown in Southern Europe, particularly Italy and France. However, some are also grown in Spain, Portugal and even the southern United States.

Availability and storage

Pine nuts (shelled) are available all throughout the year. Pine nuts are often very expensive, since they are often harvested by hand. Most of the time, they are sold shelled and raw. It is advisable to buy them in stores with a quick turnover rate since they go rancid quickly. Raw pine nuts should be stored in the refrigerator, where they will keep for up to one month. They must be stored in a tightly sealed container. If kept in a freezer, they will store for up to three months.

Nutrition & Health Benefits

Nutritional highlights (per 10 nuts – dried) include:

Calories 10
Protein 0.43g
Carbohydrate 0.25g
Total Fat 0.91g
Fiber 0.081g

Pine nuts are an excellent source of iron. They contain almost three milligrams of iron in a one-ounce serving. The pine nut is high in Manganese, Copper and Magnesium. Pine nuts have a high concentration of monounsaturated fat, which paves the way for a much healthier cardiovascular system. Pine Nuts are very nutri dense; they have a wide variety of vitamins in them, including A, C and D. The Vitamin D present in them leads to the formation of strong bones and teeth. This is because the body’s ability to absorb and retain calcium is increased. The Vitamins A and C in pine nuts help to sharpen vision. Another benefit of the Vitamins A and C is the boost that they give to the immune system of the body. Pine nuts are also higher in protein than most nuts and are a good source of thiamine, potassium and phosphorus.

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