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Versatile Health Providing Pine Nuts
The crunchy but buttery textured, sweet pine nut is often overlooked in many people’s diets.
Pine nuts are actually seeds that are collected from pine trees cultivated mainly in Europe and the US. Eaten for centuries, they were enjoyed by Roman soldiers and Spanish explorers alike who enjoyed snacking on them and they were ground into flour by American Indians.
For the most part, pine nuts can be used wherever traditional tree nuts or peanuts are used. Often found in stir fry’s, they make the cross-over easily between savory and sweet dishes and are an excellent change from the “everyday nut.” Perfect sprinkled over both fruit and vegetable salads.
They are popular in different sauces, especially pesto sauce and you’ll find them in granolas, cookies, chocolates and crunchy health bar creations as well as breads, cakes, biscuits, cookies, confectionery and ice cream items. You can purchase them at any local supermarket or health food store.
This little nut is not in the same botanical category as tree nuts so many people that have nut allergies can tolerate pine nuts. However, there are people that react to both, so always be cautious and sensible.
Most popular in countries where they are harvested, they are widely used in the US, Spain, Morocco and Italy and are called by a variety of names including pinon, pine kernel, pignoli, pignolia and Indian nut.
Enjoyed raw or roasted, pine nuts feature a tough dark-brown outer coat or shell and have a sweet nutty flavor and crunchy texture. However, flavor isn’t the only reason people enjoy pine nuts. They offer amazing health benefits too.
AMAZING HEALTH BENEFITS
Offering similar healthy nutrients as other nuts including monounsaturated fats they provide a wealth of anti-aging antioxidants that combat free radicals (and help to control how fast you age) including vitamins A, B, C, and D. You’ll also get a nice boost of energy from the protein, magnesium and iron they offer. Offering similar healthy nutrients as other nuts including monounsaturated fats.
They are a great source of healthy fats that help keep cholesterol and blood sugar levels down, protein (the building block of nearly every part of the body) and like almonds, pine nuts are an excellent source of vitamin E. They are healthy source of B-complex vitamins as well as minerals such as manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, selenium and zinc.
An added bonus is the fiber they provide. Just one serving of nuts provides around 20% of the recommended daily amount of fiber and they are great at suppressing feelings of hunger thanks to the hormone cholecystokinin.
Because pine nuts are also gluten-free, they are a popular ingredient in gluten-free recipes that are gaining popularity.
Pine nuts must be shelled first and eaten shortly after due to their high oil content (prone to rancidity). Unshelled nuts have a longer shelf life and can be stored safely for many months while shelled kernels deteriorate quickly once exposed to warm, humid air. Be sure to store them in airtight jars inside the refrigerator.
Want to prepare gluten and sugar free desserts using pine nuts? Watch this video – Homemade pine nut cookies – gluten free
You can find delicious raw dessert and treat recipes that feature healthy pine nuts in “Blended Bites” as well as a great variety of desserts and treat recipes that are not only gluten and sugar free but incorporate veggies into them as well.
Carolyn Hansen is the author of The Blended Bites Healthy Snack and Dessert Recipe Collection. This is a one-stop resource for delicious, healthy, guilt-free snacks that you can eat every day. And even better, EVERY ONE of these recipes are RAW healthy snack foods that taste as good as their fattening counterparts.
You can NOW satisfy your snack urge without any negative impact on your weight loss and fitness goals, and without sweating over a hot stove. These easy-to-prepare snacks contain no sugar, no flour or butter and are paleo friendly.
So, if you want to get your hands on recipes for desserts and snacks that you will not need to feel guilty about eating the next time you have a craving for something delicious, be sure to check out Carolyn Hansen’s books at Blended Bites, where she will show you how to take control of your blender and churn out mouth-watering desserts and snacks that will have the kids in your neighborhood lined up around the block for a sample.