pine nuts

Pine nuts are better known to us as pine nuts. Indeed, Italian pine and Siberian cedar have much in common and are similar to each other, like close relatives. Everyone knows the exquisite taste and resinous-pine aroma of these Mediterranean delicacies, but few people know what important and useful properties they have.

Appearance

Pinia is a coniferous tree of the pine family. It grows mainly in the Mediterranean countries, often found in Italy. Italian pine is a tall beautiful tree with a dense dark green crown. It can be easily recognized by the spreading branches at the top. Densely planted with needles, they form an umbrella canopy under which you can hide from the hot day.

Its seeds are formed in cones, which are densely distributed throughout the tree, sometimes single, sometimes in groups of up to three. They ripen in the fall in the third year. In the spring, the cones open and the seeds fall out of them. But the cones themselves continue to hang on the pine for another two or three years. Pinia seeds are very reminiscent of the familiar pine nuts to all of us: oblong, elongated, ribbed. The shell of nuts is dark brown, with lighter patches.

Pine nuts are considered the largest representatives of pine trees, they are four times larger than pine nuts. Their shell is quite strong, containing a tasty grain with a delicate resinous aroma. Pinia bears fruit every year, bringing a large harvest, and its life expectancy is over 500 years. In Italy, its seeds are called pinoli.

Pinia has a rather extensive habitat: it is common on the Mediterranean coast, in parts of the Iberian Peninsula, as well as in the Crimea and the Caucasus. Often found in Turkey. Pinia settles both in the sands and in loose soil. Loves sunlight and is favorable to drought.

Interesting historical facts

Pine captivated people with its beauty in the 1st millennium BC. It was widely used by the ancient Etruscans, first for decorative purposes, and then for nutritional purposes. The ancient Greeks and Romans also used the fruits of this tree. When exploring Pompeii, pine seeds were found in the homes of residents.

Due to its interesting appearance, the pine tree is well suited for the Chinese art of bonsai - growing a replica tree in miniature. By the way, the notorious Pinocchio, whose image was so well embodied in Pinocchio by Alexei Tolstoy, was made from this log. And it was with pine cones that he fired at the harmful Karabas-Barabas. And the huge beard of this villain eventually stuck to the trunk, richly flavored with resin, also, it turns out, this pine.

In general, in art and culture, the image of the pine was widely used by both artists and composers. For example, the famous Sandro Botticelli immortalized them in his paintings illustrating the short story by Giovanni Boccaccio from The Decameron. Thanks to this famous artist, the pine grove near Ravenna is known all over the world. And Ottorino Respighi, an Italian composer, wrote a poem for the symphony orchestra "The Pines of Rome", which reflected his impressions of these evergreen beauties that adorn the city. By the way, pine cones are also quite an interesting decorative element. In Mesopotamia, they were widely used to decorate household items and furniture.

Storage and selection of nuts

There are various types of pine nuts on the market, but when buying, it is advisable to give preference to those seeds that are in the shell. The shelf life of unpeeled nuts is much longer than those freed from the shell. The second, after a few weeks, lose their taste and useful qualities. The fact is that fats, which are rich in pine nuts, are oxidized when exposed to air, which is the reason for the loss of their taste. To keep the refined grains longer and not waste their positive qualities, you should keep them in the refrigerator or, even better, in the freezer.

Nutritional value of pine nuts

In pine nuts, as in any other nuts, fats predominate.

Table No. 1 "Nutritional value per 100 grams of nuts"
Proteins 11.58 g
Fats 61 g
Carbs 19.2 g
Saturated acids 9.38 g
Water 5.8 g
Ash 2.27 g
Dietary fiber 10.6 g

The energy value of pine nuts is approximately 630 kcal.

The chemical composition of nuts

These small nucleoli are a real storehouse of useful vitamins and minerals, which is reflected in their beneficial and medicinal properties.

In the vitamin composition, the presence of B vitamins (riboflavin, thiamine and niacin), as well as vitamins A and C can be noted. The mineral composition is dominated by copper, magnesium, potassium, sodium and phosphorus. Smaller proportions contain zinc, manganese, iron, calcium.

Table No. 2 “Vitamin content per 100 grams of nuts”
Vitamin PP 4.36 mg
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) 1.99 mg
Vitamin B9 (folates) 57 mcg
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) 0.112 mg
Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) 0.22 mg
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) 0.221 mg
Vitamin B1 (thiamine) 1.242 mg
Vitamin A 0.99 mcg
Table No. 3 “The content of mineral substances per 100 grams m of nuts"
Manganese 4.34 mg
Copper 1034 mg
Zinc 4.26 mg
Iron 3.07 mg
Phosphorus 34 mg
Potassium 627 mg
Sodium 71.9 mg
Magnesium 233.1 mg
Calcium 7.99 mg

Pine nuts are rich in fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6, saturated fatty acids: palmitic and stearino howling, as well as unsaturated fatty acids : linoleic, oleic ( omega-9 ) and others.

Useful properties

Pine nuts have many useful properties, thanks to the minerals and vitamins included in their composition. Not only that, because of their exquisite taste, they are in demand in cooking and are used in the cuisines of different countries. Pine nuts also have a number of medicinal properties that are successfully used in traditional medicine. They are very effective in:

  • diseases of the gastrointestinal tract;
  • cough, bronchitis and sore throat;
  • the appearance of various superficial wounds, as a means for their healing;
  • skin diseases and allergic rashes;
  • heart disease;
  • regular mental exercise.

Use in medicine

These delicious nuts have a positive effect on the human immune system, relieve fatigue, are a wonderful tool for healing stomach ulcers, improve work liver and kidney, are a powerful diuretic. They are also very useful for men, as their regular use significantly increases potency and enhances sperm motility. Nut extracts are used both as an expectorant and as an anti-inflammatory agent. Often used for conjunctivitis and eyelash mites.

Pine nuts are rich in calcium and phosphorus, which are responsible for the strength of bones and teeth, magnesium, which protects the nervous system and reduces the risk of depression, zinc, which has a positive effect on the condition of hair and nails, promotes healing wounds.

The copper and manganese content in nuts improves the nervous system, protects the body from the effects of harmful substances and free radicals, and also promotes libido and enhances sexual activity.

Various oils are extracted from these fat-rich grains, which are used in the food industry, as well as for the manufacture of paints and varnishes. The essential oil extracted from the Italian pine is considered very useful. It has a powerful antibacterial and antiseptic effect, in addition, it gives a pleasant coniferous aroma and is an excellent aphrodisiac.

Culinary Uses

Pine nuts are used in the popular Italian pesto, which is widely used in cooking as a pasta dressing. But they can also be found in pastries, confectionery, various salads. Often they are used to add spice and sophistication to ordinary dishes. For example, if you use finely chopped nuts for meat marinade, you get a dish that many gourmets will appreciate. Pine nuts, despite the fact that they are valued and used all over the world, are widely used in cooking in Italy and France.

Italian pumpkin recipe

For cooking you will need:

  • pumpkin - 1 kg;
  • beef - 500-600 g;
  • ​​
  • pork - 500 g;
  • cherry tomatoes - about 150-200 g;
  • pine nuts (you can use ordinary pine nuts) - about 100 g;
  • greens;
  • paprika - 1 piece;
  • sauerkraut - 300 g;
  • onion - 2 medium heads;
  • carrots - 2-3 pieces;
  • butter - 100 g.

Rinse, cut and peel the pumpkin. Pork and beef fry in a pan. There also send coarsely chopped onions and carrots. Simmer everything for 15 minutes. Then add sauerkraut, cherry tomatoes and peppers to the roast. Mix all this, add butter and stuff the prepared pumpkin with the resulting mixture. Cover the resulting dish with foil and bake for an hour and a half at a temperature of 180 degrees.

Application in folk medicine

Pine seeds, due to their beneficial properties, have found wide application in folk medicine. With their help, infusions and alcohol tinctures are made, which have a beneficial effect on the body in the autumn-winter period. They strengthen the immune system and have an anti-inflammatory effect. Often, an infusion of nuts is used in the treatment of coughs and for rinsing the mouth, with tonsillitis, tonsillitis and periodontal disease.

These nuts are famous for their positive effect on the sexual function of the body. For example, when potency weakened, the ancient Greeks advised to use a mixture prepared from honey, cedar and almond nuts for three days at night. And the Arabs, in order to be on top, offer to eat 100 pine nuts and 12 almonds for three days.

Pine nut tincture

This useful tincture can be used for various diseases. To make it you will need:

  • pine seeds - 250 g;
  • water - 500 ml;
  • alcohol - 500 ml;
  • honey - 200 g.

Unpeeled pine seeds grind and pour warm boiled water. Put in a dark place for a week. Then add alcohol and infuse for another month. Filter the infusion and add honey. Store the resulting product should be in a dark cool place. Shake well before use.

Harm and contraindications

Pine nuts have practically no contraindications, as they are natural ingredients that grow in ecologically clean areas and do not contain any harmful impurities. Like any other food, they should be consumed within reason. But there are a number of factors in which it is not recommended to use nuts:

  • individual intolerance to the product;
  • children under 3 years of age (small nuts may be inhaled by the child).

If you constantly eat a large number of nuts, the functioning of the organs of touch and hearing may be impaired. In this case, you should stop eating nuts and after a few days everything will be normal. Also, due to their high calorie content and saturation with fatty acids, a large number of nuts should not be consumed with problems with weight and obesity. Otherwise, nuts are a tasty, healthy and nutritious product.

Conclusions

Pine nuts are an exquisite expensive delicacy, highly valued all over the world due to its pleasant taste, resinous-pine invigorating aroma and a whole vitamin and mineral complex, contained in them. These grains have successfully won the love of culinary experts in Italy and France and are confidently conquering other countries and cities. Their beneficial properties are highly valued in folk medicine and in the manufacture of oils. Due to their chemical composition, they help prevent various diseases, prevent colds, increase immunity and strengthen the body as a whole. Their regular use reduces the risk of depression and has a beneficial effect on the human nervous system. Pine nuts are a tasty and healthy delicacy, a bit repulsive due to their high cost. But in general, they are only beneficial for the body, so eating them in moderation is beneficial and advisable.