Foraged Pine Nuts
Inventory, lb : 0
Pine nuts form within the pine cone, where they are tucked inside the pine cone's signature spiny and hard-shelled deeply layered scales. Each individual scale harbors a mere one or two Pine nuts each. Pine nuts are tear-shaped, slim and quite petite with an amber and chocolate tinted outer sheath. The sheath must be removed. Pine nuts are slightly oily, almost meaty with a hint of starch. Their flavor is sweet and complex with notes of hazelnut, maple and figs. When roasted, Pine nuts reveal flavors of bacon and brown sugar.
Pine nuts are available from early fall through winter.
Pine nuts are the edible seeds of the pine family known as Pinaceae. Their are several different species within the family, Pinaceae, including the most common, Pinus coulteri, AKA Coulter pine or Big Cone pine. There is a phenomenon known as "pine mouth", in which some persons who have ingested pine nuts experience a metallic and bitter aftertaste when eating any food after. This rare condition is medically referred to as metallogeusia. It is not permanent though; it lasts anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks.
Pine nuts are a versatile addition to have on hand in your pantry. They can be used in recipes both sweet and savory. They compliment many different ingredients, including dates, brown sugar, dried fruits such as cherries, apricots and figs, coffee, maple syrup, molasses, roasted nuts such as pistachios and marcona almonds, herbs such as basil, mint and arugula, aged hard cheeses, cream, citrus, tomatoes, mushrooms, bacon and spices such as cumin, coriander and curry.
These Pine nuts habitate on coniferous evergreen trees that are native to coastal mountains in California to Baja, Mexico. They produce perhaps the largest pine cones within the Pineaceae family. Those who actually work within the Big Cone pine groves are advised to wear hard hats as the trees themselves have been dubbed the ominous name, "widowmaker". The Pine cones can weigh up to ten pounds and reach 16" in length. Pine cones are harvested before the cones open up, as once they are open, the nuts are vulnerable to nature, specifically squirrels and birds.
Recipes that include Foraged Pine Nuts. One is easiest, three is harder.