Differences of Pinon nuts, Nevada Pine nuts, Italian pignolia, and Asian varieties..
Piñon Nuts:: Euell Gibbons the famous naturalist from the 1970's
(seen on grape nuts commercials), described the New Mexico Piñon nut as
being the best tasting wild food in the world. He did not say all pine nuts -
only the New Mexico Piñon nut (Pinus Edulis). If you have ever tried one,
you would remember the flavor... no pine resin taste, just creamy toasted goodness.
There is only one number one wild food in the world - and this is it.
Pine nuts aka Pinyon aka Jumbo pine nuts, are very "resinous" and
have a strong pine taste. - you can tell instantly that it is a Pine nut - or
could guess even if you never tried one before.. Nevada Pine nuts (Pinus Monophelia)
are sold in the Southwest when New Mexico Piñon nuts run out. They are
grown just north of the Nevada Test sight - The Nevada Test Site was the primary
testing location of American nuclear devices from 1951 to 1992; 928 announced
nuclear tests occurred there. This testing basically killed the PINYON Pine nut
aka Nevada Pine nut industry as the Fallout zone blows over the growing range
from Nevada to Utah... Natives from the area still only gather enough for "ceremonial
purposes" they no loner gather and eat them like they did. After the NM Pinon
Nut blight 15 years ago, that killed 20% of the pinon pine trees (Edulis), The
Nevada pine nut was re-branded "PINYON aka Jumbo" by online sites and
raised the price from 4-5 dollars a pound whosale to now 15-20 dollars a pound
Asian Imports: Pine nuts from Korea have a slightly
less resinous taste than Nevada Pine nuts, but one could still know they are from
a pine tree. China - Blandest tasting pine nuts, unfortunately because
of improper handling, or possibly an inherent character of the species, they tend
not to store well, and go rancid within 12 months. Many rancid samples have come
across my desk.
pignolia Most similar tasting to New Mexico Pinon, very creamy,
buttery toasted flavor with the slightest hint of pine taste... but many have
blamed over cultivation to the blanding of the flavor of this variety.
trees are common, less known perhaps is the fact that some members of the pine
family also bear edible seeds or "nuts". Out of the 100 recognized species of
true pines, only a "few produce nuts of sufficient quality and desirable
flavor to make them worth eating."
nut varieties that have different names come from different species of Pine trees.
Pine nuts from New Mexico are called Pinon nuts or Piñon by Law in New Mexico.
Euell Gibbons called the pinon nut "The most palatable of all the wild foods."
This is quite a compliment. Pinon is a name derived from the Spanish word for
pine nut. Pinon nuts come specifically from the pine tree species: Pinus Edulis.
They taste different from other varieties. The pinon pine tree is a two-needled
pine which grows wild in high desert mountain areas of Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona,
and Utah. These edible nuts are not to be confused with the "single needle" pine
tree from Nevada. The pinon nut grows primarily on Indian reservations in the
Southwest US & is normally roasted in the shell. Their availability is rather
scarce, and the pinon nut must first be removed from the shell prior to consumption.
New Mexico Pinon nuts are very difficult to harvest, hence their cost.
nut development in North America is modest in comparison with that in Europe.
The Italian pine tree, with superior timber, is larger and grows faster than the
stunted pinon of the southwestern United States. Italian stone pine plantations
are well established in Mediterranean Europe, while the American pinon remains
mostly neglected and uncultivated.
European Pine nuts
most common in Europe is the "pignolia" nuts of the Italian stone pine, grown
for the most part in Spain, Portugal, Italy, and North Africa. In Italian stone
pine harvests, the trees are shaken to remove the kernel. Once removed, they are
dried further before being processed in a milling station to remove the kernel
from its hard outer shell. The kernels and shells are separated by sifting; the
testa, or thin skin which still covers the kernel,
is then removed. Thereafter, the kernels are graded and sized. Superior, unblemished,
shelled kernels, both large and small, are reserved for the export market; the
remaining kernels are sold locally or utilized in prepared foods. Although pignolia
nuts may be eaten out of hand, raw or roasted, they have the distinction of being
the only nuts used predominantly as ingredients for cooking. For many centuries
in European cookery, they have been blended with meats, fish and poultry, and
have been used in many different sauces.
2008 Pinonnuts.com ALL RIGHTS RESERVED