Never met a pine nut I didn't like, well except for that one time...
Pine nuts like goat cheese, are delicious. Period. But in our house, they are a delicacy and are reserved especially for my fancy salad and fresh pasta dishes. Homemade pesto is a whole other matter and only happens like twice a year. Like most nuts, Henry will eat them non-stop if I let him, which I don't because they are so damn expensive. Pinenuts single handedly remind me that I am not of the Carnegie or Rockafeller lineage. Well not really, but sort of. If you do the grocery shopping in your house, you probably feel the same way I do about pine nuts. You get so little for too much. So let's explore why this is the case.
I recently wanted to find out everything I could about pine nuts, so here is what I discovered in my quest. Pine nuts are also known as Indian nut, pinon, pignoli and pignolia depending on where you are from. They can only be found in particular regions around the globe, specifically, pinenuts can be found in China, Italy, Mexico, North Africa and the southwestern United States. There are two major varieties of pine nuts. Stone pines are located in the Mediterranean and Italy, are torpedo-shaped, have a light delicate flavor and are the more expensive of the two. The stronger-flavored Chinese pine nut is shaped like a squat triangle, and its more pungent flavor can easily overpower foods.
The nut is housed inside the pinecone, which generally must be heated to facilitate their removal. So extraction of the nuts is a very labor-intensive process thus equating to their high cost to the consumer. Because of the their high fat content, pine nuts will turn rancid quickly. They should be stored in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 months or in the freezer for up to 9 months.
Thus that completes my education about pine nuts. I feel a bit better, knowing that there is a reason for the high expense for these tasty pinons, so unless I win the lottery, they will still be considered a nice addition to many dishes in our household, not necessarily a main ingredient. But a girl can dream...