Thursday, October 17, 2013

Foraging for Pine Nuts

I am fortunate to live in an area where we have a small opportunity to forage. Unfortunately, the two most prevalent plants we have seem to take the most work! Today I will talk about pine nuts. I love pine nuts and grew up on them. However, a few years ago I had a bad case of Pine Mouth after ingesting pine nuts from China which were bought at Costco. Since then, I refuse to purchase pine nuts unless I can see their country of origin!

There are many species of pine trees that have pine nuts in them. My local trees are Jeffrey Pines which are a cousin to a sugar pine. Before attempting this at home, I strongly suggest researching your local pine trees to ensure their pine nuts are edible!

I also take the laziest approach possible, which isn't all that lazy because this is time consuming! As I'm walking around town, let's say with my dogs, you usually see pine cones on the ground, having fallen from trees. Sometimes you will notice these pine cones are not yet open. When this happens, I pick it up and put it into a bag and take it home.

Now, these closed pine cones are hella hard to open. So I don't even try. I leave them in the bag until they dry out and start to open.

Opening cones

Some of the pine cones need a little help, which is where I throw them onto the pavement in front of our apartment. I have to be quick at picking them up though, because our pup seems to like pine nuts too!

Throwing against the pavement

Many times the seeds will fall out into the bag, where you can pour them directly into your bowl.

liberated pine nuts with their wings still attached
 Then the pine nuts need to be removed from their wings, leaving their hard shell on them.

After all of that, you still need to crack the seed cases open, and I am still looking for the lazy method of doing that. In the meantime, I am using my my fingernails mostly. I told you it was tedious! I know, most people have more money than time. I don't have much of either, but between the raw milk, organic veggies and pastured meats, I have slightly less money than time. I do most of the pine nut processing on the couch while watching TV.

Anyway, there you have it! In case you ever wanted to. LOL Enjoy!

Edited to Add: I'm participating in a Real Food Blog Hop with this post at Let's Get Real. Go check it out!


  1. Do you roast them? My husband LOVES pine nuts! Thanks for linking up with Let's Get Real this week!

    1. Thanks Nicole! I have never roasted them, but have eaten them raw, cooked them in cookies, cooked them on pizza, and used them for pesto. Maybe I'll have to adapt my favorite pine nut cookie to be grain free!!

  2. I always wondered why the squirrels and chipmunks loved the pine cones at the old house I lived in. Must be they had pretty tasty pine nuts in them.

    1. Oh definitely! My husband refused to let me bring the pine cones into the house while they were drying/opening and I practically had to fight the squirrels off of them many times a day.

  3. Wow! That went right over my head. I had no idea that pine nuts came from pinecones. Thanks so much for linking up and sharing this information with our Let's Get Real readers. I now have a new appreciation for the amount of work that goes into getting those nuts. Maybe they aren't overpriced. LOL!

    1. That's exactly what I said when I collected the nuts from one pine cone and ended up with maybe 1/8 of a cup! I certainly have a new appreciation. Thanks for stopping by!


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