Those "other" Pine Nuts

By Sean Callahan in Mulch

We talk a lot about members afflicted with Addictive Conifer Syndrome, brain addled coniferites and just plain conifer nuts. But there really are conifer nuts that gastronomes relish.

Shelled pine nuts.
Shelled pine nuts.

More commonly they are called pignole nuts or pignoles. They are a staple of Mediterranean cooking where they show up in pesto, garnish cookies and are even eaten raw as you would popcorn.

In Europe pignoles are mostly the product of Pinus pinea (Stone Pine) but in the US they are mostly from Pinus edulis (Pinyon Pine). There are approximately 20 species of Pinus that produce edible nuts, even Pinus koraiensis (Korean Pine).

Our ACS Central colleague, Bert Cregg of Michigan State University occasionally writes a blog for the MSU Extension and this month he goes nuts over pignoles. Check it out here.

We're curious to know if any of you conifer nuts are collecting pine nuts and, if so, how do you use them? Please comment below.