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Maybe you have never had a pine nut before. I have and I love them. In fact we use them all the time in Lebanese cooking (read more about Lebanese cuisine in the link) and I will show you how to toast pine nuts!
What are pine nuts and how are they used?
Pine nuts (aka pignoli) are the edible seeds from a pine tree. You can read about them here.
The pine nuts that we harvest and eat are native to Europe, Asia and the Middle East. They usually aren’t cheap to buy in the US. I usually get mine at my local Mediterranean grocery store (which I love). They sell 2 different brands, one grown in the country of Lebanon and one grown in China. Now I normally would opt for the one grown in my motherland but there is a very significant price difference. One can hardly tell the difference between the 2, but the one from Lebanon carries a much heftier price tag. Having said that, I normally buy the one from China.
Where to buy Pine Nuts
You could buy them at your local grocer store but they will even be more costly there and they come in small amounts. If you don’t have a Mediterranean store around, I highly recommend buying Pine Nuts in bulk from Nuts.com Check it out here
How to use them in recipes
In what foods are pine nuts used? They are used in many Lebanese and Mediterranean dishes from Chicken Rice to Kibbeh. Pine nuts are also used in pesto and other Italian dishes, but they MUST be toasted before using them in any dish. They normally come raw, and raw pine nuts have a bitter flavor, but after toasting them they become slightly sweet and very aromatic. They really are delightful, I love eating them plain. Here I am going to show you the easiest way of toasting them.
How to toast Pine Nuts
I buy them in bulk and toast them all at once, I then freeze them in a jar and pull them out as needed. Grab a skillet and pour your nuts into it. No oil necessary!
Get your skillet out and add the pine nuts in. Put it to medium heat and stir frequently. The pin nuts will begin to brown and give off a fragrant nutty smell. As soon as they are browned, remove them from the heat and let them cool
Check out these recipes with pine nuts from A Pinch Of Adventure!
Mediterranean couscous with pistachios (could sub for pin nuts)
How To Toast Pine Nuts
- 1 lb Pine Nuts
- Place the pine nuts in a dry skillet. Turn to medium heat and stir frequently for about 8-9 minutes. It will be done when they begin to brown and let off a fragrant nutty aroma
- Remove from heat and let cool
- Store in a jar in the freezer