Pine nuts are high in proteins, carbohydrates and lipids. They also contain vitamins A, B1, B6, B9 and B2 and different minerals like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron and potassium. The stone pine (Pinus pinea) is a typically Mediterranean plant that is especially found in Italy and in the central and southern European countries, particularly along the coast.
Its female inflorescences are made of big, heavy and globose cones (pine cones) that take three years to ripen. This species has been cultivated for a long time because of its adaptability and the production of pine cones, which have been used for human nutrition for centuries and have been eaten raw, roasted or as spices.
Pine plantation was widespread during the Roman Empire and perhaps even before, during the Etruscan period. The pine’s elegant beauty was highly valued, not to mention its importance in wood production and in the collection of its resin. Pine nuts have always been considered as noble and genuine products and they’re also remembered in mythology as the fruit loved by Bacchus. The fats they contain are mainly unsaturated. They’re also a great source of dietary fiber.
Pine nuts can be raw or roasted and can be used to prepare cakes, tarts and biscuits, as well as salads, stuffings, sauces and the well-known pesto.