If you've wondered where pine nuts come from I have a news flash for you — Pine Cones! These edible nuts are mainly cultivated in Asia but you can find them in Europe and even North America. When you head to the store, for the most part they are of an Asian variety. If you have purchased these recently they probably hit your wallet pretty hard — depending on where you get them, you can spend upwards of $5 for a mere half cup.
I have been cooking with pine nuts for years and have always had a particular way I preserve them as soon as I unpack the nuts from the grocery bag. I lay the raw little nuts (subliminal advertising in the picture above) on a baking sheet, set the oven on a low broil, and then toss these babies in until they are toasty and golden brown. Pine nuts are like any other nut — they contain oil, which means you have to keep an eye on them in the oven. Shake the pan or stir with a spatula to evenly brown all sides. Trust me, in a few seconds these can go from golden brown and edible to charred black — headed for the compost bin.
Once browned, remove them from the oven and allow to cool.
Seal in an airtight container or freezer bag and keep them in the freezer. You will then have freshly toasted pine nuts always ready to go for salads, pestos, and greens dishes!
Most people will tell you that raw pine nuts will last in the refrigerator 1-2 months and in the freezer 3-6. With toasting the nuts I have extended the shelf life easily beyond 6 months and have enjoyed them upwards to a year!
If you haven't cooked with pine nuts in the past, I hope you will use this method to extend the shelf life and explore dishes that let this little nut shine!
E.A.T. local E.A.T. well