It is believed that pine nuts had already been a common food source back in the Paleolithic age.
A vast part of today’s USA territory was once covered by huge pine tree forests, which were cut down during the process of land demarcation. In China, these trees were largely reduced due to the damage caused during cone picking.
Pine nuts are considered to be one of the sweetest nuts, but are still less sweet than cashews.
Pine nuts are added to meat, fish, vegetables, salads, soups, biscuits, ice creams and bread.
They are a key ingredient of the original Italian pesto, which can be used to enrich the flavour of pastas, as well as meat and vegetable dishes.
Pine nuts are the edible seeds of pines – in the Mediterranean the seeds come from the stone pine, and there are a few other pine trees with edible seeds in North America and Asia.
Stone pines or pines are most often found in the Northern hemisphere. It takes about a year and a half for the seeds in the pine, surrounded by a hard shell, to mature.
Since the seed coating must be removed by hand, they are one of the most expensive nuts in the world.
In New Mexico, the kernels are used to make coffee, which is considered to be a real treat.
The Native Americans have long been using pine nuts in their diet, while the shells were used as beads in jewellery and other decorations.