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New to pine nuts - how to use, store?

How are they different from, say, peanuts, almonds, cashews, etc? Do you cook them before you use them? How long do they keep? What is the best way to store them? Thanks!

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  1. I just keep them in a jar on the shelf. They move fast, around here. I roast them in a cast-iron frying pan with no oil, stirring constantly, because once they start to brown, they burn fast. Then I thrown them on top of salads or make them into pesto with basil, parmesan, garlic, and olive oil.

    1. You can eat them as is, but they're best (as are all nuts) when lightly toasted, which releases their oils and heightens their flavour. They are great in salads and pasta dishes (such as penne with broccoli and pine nuts), and are common in the various cuisines of the Middle East.

      Pine nuts, as all nuts, should be stored tightly wrapped in the freezer to prevent rancidity.

      1. I buy the Costco-size bag and put it in the freezer. When I want some I throw them in an aluminium pie plate and preheat the oven to 350. By the time the oven has preheated the pine nuts are thawed out and I place them in the oven for 10 minutes. I ALWAYS set the timer because it's easy to forget about them and they turn golden fast once they start.

        I recently made a leftover white rice salad with a vinegarette and basil, parm, lemon juice, sundried tomatoes, and pine nuts. You get the picture. like a decontructed pesto.

        I also made pasta puttansca and added pine nuts at the end and that was great.

        They're good in couscous for additional flavor and texture.

        Toss them in green salads for crunch.

        They're really quite versatile.

        1. Store,sealed, in the freezer. I buy the warehouse club packs so I have a lot at a time.

          Pesto, of course, but they're also great in couscous or filling for bracciole. I also like making amaretti and the almond paste tarts topped with pignoli (anyone know their proper name?).

          1 Reply
          1. re: rockycat

            I've toasted them in a small pan in the toaster oven-- I'll ditto the warnings about watching them, because they start to burn very quickly. I make a very simple salad (from a Nigella show) with baby spinach, avocado, fresh lime juice and olive oil and some toasted pine nuts. Yum! Of course, you can also use them in pesto, italian cookies, etc.

            Rockycat, are the tarts you're speaking of pasticiotti? I've never attempted them, but they're DELICIOUS.

          2. I store sealed in the fridge with no problem - I get through them in 2-3 months max so they don't hang around a long time. I toast them lightly in a frying pan over medium heat WITHOUT oil until they are a light golden brown. I add them to:
            rice pilaf
            salads (esp. yummy with: Mandarin orange slices; goat cheese and dried cranberries; dried cherries and asiago, etc etc)
            pasta with random veggies and pesto or just olive oil and lemon juice
            kibbeh! (sort of a Lebanese lamb meatloaf!)

            They are very tasty and nutritious - use them anywhere you would use a savory nut and I think you will quickly learn to love them!

            1. Pine nuts contain oils that tend to go rancid fairly quicklly. I recommend keeping them in the fridge. I also use the toaster oven to toast them (at about 300).

              They are great sprinkled over sauteed spinache or chard. Also great stirred into rice dishes (especially pilafs). Try them in pasta salads as well as hot pasta.
              A quick rough chop helps prevent them from just rolling off the food/fork..

              1. Don't forget that pine nuts are a base ingredient for homemade PESTO, which opens up many derivative & delicious possibilities.

                I second Christnp's vote for the fridge to avoid the rancid oils. I keep ours in the back of the cheese drawer, and toast them a bit when I'm ready to use some.

                1. When all of you are making recipe and use suggestions, am I correct is assuming that you mean that I should use them *after* they are toasted? You don't use them before, do you?

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: xnyorkr

                    You use them after you toast them, not before.

                    1. re: Pate

                      for me it depends. if i'm going to toss them over broccoli, green beans, asparagus or salad i toast them. and i've found they don't need any extra oil to brown. just put them in a hot pan, shake till golden and get them off quick. if i'm putting them in meatballs (along with raisins yum) which is a very southern italian thing to do i just use them raw so to speak. they brown up along with the meatballs.

                  2. Pine Nuts are very high in fat, and spoil very quickly. Best to keep them in a sealed glass jar in the freezer. I always toast them first.

                    Do not buy the Pine Nuts from China. They are chemically treated with an anti-fungal and God knows what else to increase their shelf life. The nuts from Italy or Spain are far more flavorful, much higher quality, and are not rancid when you buy them.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Fleur

                      Fleur, thanks for that info. That concerns me a great deal, since pine nuts fromChina are so widely available. Do you know where I can find out more info about that? I'm really trying to watch the toxins I ingest and keep it to a minimum.


                    2. I buy them in bulk at Costco and stick them in the freezer. They go quickly during the warm, summer months when pesto is at the very least, a weekly feature in my meals, and when they frequently find their way into summer salads. I've also used them in couscous dishes as well and in biscotti al'pignoli (pine nut biscotti). All preparations find them toasted before using.

                      1. Sometimes I toast, sometimes I don't. I find I like them better untoasted on salads. In warm dishes, I tend to like them toasted. I add them to green beans (rather than almonds) and also love them in rice. My favorite rice dish is simple and better than the sum of it's parts.

                        Janet's Rice (Hehehe)
                        1 clove garlic, smashed and peeled but kept whole
                        1/2 T olive oil
                        1/2 T butter
                        2 T pine nuts
                        1 cup basmati rice
                        1 3/4 cups chicken stock (I use the Kitchen Basics brand in the yellow carton)

                        In your rice pot, heat the oil and butter. Add the garlic clove and pine nuts. When the nuts begin to brown, add the rice and let rice get a little toasty (about 2-3 minutes). Add salt and pepper to taste and the stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook 17 minutes and let sit 5-10 minutes before serving.