"If one way is better than another, you may be sure it is nature's way." -- Aristotle

Pine Nuts (Eduble Pine Seeds)

Partly based on information sent to us by Penny Frazier (http://www.pinenut.com), as reposted from: FOREST@listserv.funet.fi -- 12/8/1998

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P. edulis

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P. sabiniana cone with seeds

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P. monophylla

All pine seeds are edible, but most are too small for humans to bother with. The larger the endosperm (the edible inside portion) and the thinner the shell, the more likely that it has been used for human consumption. One method of locating pine species in Mexico used by Dana K. Bailey and Frank Hawksworth in the 1970's was to visit the local food markets and examine the pinenuts for sale and inquire about the location of the trees which were their source.

Pine seeds are an important source of food for many animals and in some cases, the animals return the favor by cacheing the pine seeds and thereby inadvertenly planting them. The family of birds known as Corvidae (includes Clark's nutcracker, blue jays, crows) are especially important in this regard, a symbosis that involves over 20 species of pine, mostly of the Haploxylon (white pines) subgenus. An excellent book on this subject is Made for Each Other, by Ronald M. Lanner, ISBN 0-19-508902-2 (hardback) or 0-19-508903-0 (paperback). Also many rodents depend on pinenuts for food.

Most of the pine seeds that are utilized for human consumption come from species in the following subsections:

Cembrae (the "Stone Pines")

Cembroides (the "Pinyon, or Nut Pines")

Pinceana (the "Big Cone Pinyon Pines")

The edible pine seeds are:

Many recipes for pine nuts (including salads, sauces, fish garnishment, puddings,cookies, cakes) are offered by Harriette Lanner in The Pinyon Pine by Ronald Lanner, ISBN 0-87417-065-6 (hard cover) and 0-87417-066-4 (paperback).

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