Despite their small appearance, it takes a lot of effort to shell pinon or pine nuts for a small reward.
So, how can you quickly shell pine nuts? Fill a plastic bag with pine nuts and tightly seal it after compressing out all the air. Then, place it on the countertop and roll a rolling pin over it back and forth. Keep rolling till the shells crack. Finally, take out the nuts and remove the remaining shells.
Besides the hard work that goes into shelling pine nuts, they have excellent food usage with notable health benefits.
BEST WAY TO SHELL PINE NUTS
Pinon nuts aren’t exactly nuts; they are seeds. These seeds come from the pine cones of pine trees and usually take one and a half years to ripe.
When fully ripe, harvesters break open the pine cones and take out the nuts using their hands. This process is highly time-consuming and challenging.
Pine nuts or seeds contain a thick outer shell that protects their natural oils and freshness. These shells are difficult to remove, which makes processed pine nuts an expensive product.
China, Korea, Mongolia, Afghanistan, and Russia are the leading producers and exporters of pine nuts. Europe is the large consumer and producer of these nuts.
Quick Methods Of Shelling Pine Nuts
Here are some other methods of de-shelling the pine nuts. Although these methods are faster than hands, they still require your effort and patience.
- Use towels: Take two small towels and place pinon nuts in between them. Grab a wooden roller and roll it over the towel with force. After all the shells crack, take the pine nuts out and enjoy!
- Use a scissor: Take a scissor with highly sharp blades. Cut off the nib end (apex) of the pinon’s shell. And then, use your hands to peel off the remaining shell.
- Use a hammer: Place nuts on a sturdy straight surface such as a countertop. Take a single pine nut and crack it with a hammer. This method will easily break the whole shell. So, you don’t need to remove the remaining shells with your hands. However, be extra careful not to hurt your hand with the tool.
- Use a machine: You can easily find pinon nut shelling machines in the market. So, use them to crack open the nuts.
Health Benefits Of Pine Nuts
Pine nuts contain protein, magnesium, and iron which helps to boost your energy level. These pine tree seeds also have a reasonable amount of vitamin E, which helps your skin stay fresh, healthy, and young.
Adding pine nuts to your diet reduces the danger of heart diseases and diabetes.
Here are the detailed health benefits of pine nuts or seeds:
Improves Body’s Insulin
Pine nuts and various other nuts stabilize your blood sugar levels. Moreover, the rich magnesium in these nuts manages and improves the body’s insulin.
An excellent natural insulin level in the body prevents diabetes. So, these nuts are great for diabetic patients.
Improves Brain Health
Omega-3 fatty acids are present in rich amounts in pine nuts. These fatty acids can build and repair cells in your brain, ensuring better brain health.
Research also shows that omega-3 enhances the flow of blood to the brain. It also improves the thinking ability of your brain.
The plentiful antioxidants in pine nuts may also reduce the inflammation and cellular stress of the brain. The reduction of stress reduces the risk of cognitive diseases like dementia.
Improves Heart Health
No one wants to put effort into peeling off the hard shells of pine nuts. However, with the enormous heart benefits of these seeds, you cannot resist them.
Pine nuts are rich in minerals that improve heart health and prevent cardiovascular diseases.
If you take almost three servings of these nuts every week, your heart becomes healthier and avoids deadly diseases. Whereas consuming one ounce of these nuts also provides the same benefits to the heart.
Even though the amount of saturated fat is minimal in pine nuts, they contain a significant amount of unsaturated fat. This fat increases the level of good cholesterol.
Omega-3 fatty acids in these nuts help reduce blood clotting. They also prevent heart diseases like arrhythmias.
How To Use Pine Nuts?
You can use pine nuts in every recipe that calls for nuts. Add raw (not roasted) pine nuts in salads, pasta, granola, baked stuff, and smoothie bowls.
Blend these nutty seeds into sauces, soups, and dips for a delicious creamy experience.
Chilled pinon nuts have a crunchier texture and a lovely taste. So, before you add these nuts to a dish, let them stay in the fridge for a few hours.
Many recipes use toasted pine nuts. It’s because when toasted, their natural nutty flavor enhances, which gives a rich taste to any cuisine. Italians even use toasted pine nuts in their popular recipes, such as classic basil pesto and pignoli cookies.
To toast your pine nuts perfectly, heat a dry pan over medium-low heat. Add in the pine nuts and continuously shake the pan. When the color of pine nuts becomes golden brown, remove them from the pan immediately.
That’s because pine nuts can burn in a blink, even if you remove the pan from heat. So, it’s necessary to keep a keen eye on nuts while toasting them. And Voila! Enjoy your perfectly toasted pine nuts however you like.
What Is The Taste Of Pine Nuts?
Pine nuts have a creamy texture with a slight buttery flavor. The taste of these nuts is quite similar to macadamia and cashews and hardly resembles the solid nutty flavor of peanuts, walnuts, and pistachios.
When you add pine nuts in sauces and dips, they provide a smoother flavor than nutty. Whereas when you toast them, they provide a nice crunchy (nutty) flavor.
Always buy unshelled pine nuts and never go for the shelled ones. The nuts that you shell yourself are cost-effective and provide a much fresher and crunchy flavor.
Shelf Life Or Storage Of Pine Nuts
The shelf life or storage of pine seeds depends on how properly you store them. It also depends on what variety of pine nuts you are using.
As they contain a large quantity of beneficial oil, pine nuts can quickly get rancid. Unshelled pinon nuts can last longer than ones without a shell. So, it would be best if you always bought pinon nuts with their shell.
To prolong the shelf life and flavor of pine nuts, store them in the fridge or freezer. And to do this, put them in a plastic bag and seal it tightly.
If you put this bag into the fridge, the nuts will last for about 2 to 3 months. Whereas if you place them in the freezer, they will last for about 6 to 9 months. So go with the option that suits you better.
You can also store your pine nuts in the pantry. There, the nuts will last for about 1 to 2 months. Remember to seal them in a tight container so that the nuts don’t pick up the surroundings’ smell.
How Do You Roast Pine Nuts In The Shell?
Here’s the easiest way to roast your unshelled pinon nuts:
- Take one pound (or however much you like) of pine nuts and wash them with their shell.
- Place these nuts in a microwave-safe bowl or shallow baking pan. Spread them evenly and then put the pan into the microwave.
- Roast pine nuts at 350 degrees F for about 15 minutes. (NOTE: if the nuts are without shells, roast them for about 4 to 5 minutes only.) Stir occasionally to prevent burning and also check the doneness of the nuts.
- You should leave the pine nuts underdone slightly. The heat from the shell will cook them thoroughly during the cooling process.
Are the pine nut shells poisonous?
No, they are, in fact, beneficial to health. Research shows that the shells are an excellent source of minerals, carbohydrates, and organic compounds. They are non-toxic and boost physical strength.
Can someone with a nut allergy eat pinoe nuts?
Pine nuts belong to a separate botanical group of tree nuts. So, if you have a pine nut allergy, you can eat other nuts such as cashew but not pinon.
Can I eat pesto if allergic to nuts?
Pesto isn’t friendly to people who cannot consume dairy stuff or nuts. And if you are allergic to nuts, then it’s a big no and you cannot eat pesto.
What happens if you eat too many pine nuts?
You may experience a metallic or bitter taste that may last for some days or weeks. We know this condition as ‘pine mouth’ or ‘pine nut syndrome.’
How do you know if pine nuts are rancid?
The taste and odor of rancid nuts are often unpleasant or bitter. Sometimes, the mold may also appear on top of the nuts. So, discard them.