Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Pining for Nuts

WOW, we  have a long wait to harvest any pine nuts shown above.


This is our pine nut tree . . .charlie brown tree (1)

Now, before you scoff at its size, you should know that we received this plant growing from a seed well over a year ago. It has been flourishing in our downstairs bathroom (yes, the one with the purple walls) ever since. Not only do we water it when home, but leave it sitting in a bowl of water if we go on an extended road trip.

It keeps growing, so we haven’t replanted it, but moved it to this larger pot; it does need repotting again. We’re not sure IF it would survive outdoors just yet.

A pine nut is the blond, tear-shaped seed of a pine tree and it grows grow inside pine cones. Before you run to the backyard to start harvesting your own pine nuts, you should know that only a few species of pine trees produce pine nuts worth gathering.

In the U.S., pine nuts are harvested from piñon pine forests in the mountains of the Southwest. Pine nuts are grown throughout Europe, but China produces most of the world supply. The cones are pulled from trees with a long hook and spread in the sun to dry as the cones open up and the nuts fall out.

Pine nuts add a sweet, oily flavor to classic dishes like basil pesto and spinach with golden raisins. Toasted pine nuts add richness to steamed greens or roasted vegetables or sprinkled on pasta. If you get the urge to go out and buy pine nuts, a word of caution — be prepared for sticker shock. Seeds are hand harvested, which is a contributing factor to their cost.

We’re being patient after reading that it takes 6-8 years for pine nut trees to produce cones. Another source stated that it would take 15 to 25 years for the trees to begin producing the seeds and up to triple that time for them to reach top production.

Wonder if Miracle- Gro® would help speed its growth ?


DeniseinVA said...

Well I wish you luck and no I certainly wouldn't scoff. I enjoy pine nuts in salads.

Country Gal said...

Here in Ontario Canada we have pine forests .There are a lot of different breeds of pine about 115 species of pines worldwide so far . Your little pine is cute and grown quite a lot ! Miracle grow may help but I think good old cow manure will do better and you should be able to plant him in the ground come spring ! Good luck with the little fellow and have a good day !

grammie g said...

HI B...Well now.. looks like if pine nuts are on the menu you will be going shopping for them lol!!
I may be pushing up daisy before your little fella produces!!
I like pine nuts, a bit pricey if you eat them by the handful though!! I'm with Denise I like them on a salad!!

Montanagirl said...

Well, guess you better go buy some Miracle Gro!!

Out on the prairie said...

May be a decade before you harvest. I like to use them in pesto,but also use pistachio.

Elaine said...

I think you will need a miracle instead of Miracle-Gro if you want to enjoy harvesting any pine nuts. Even at the optimistic 6-8 years of production, at our age that's a little long to wait. The solution to pine nut sticker shock--close your eyes and splurge. Take them home and savor! In the meantime keep watering your little tree and enjoy it as an ornamental. It looks quite nice against those purple walls! When you find your new home in NH you can take it along and plant it. Maybe it will surprise you, but maybe it won't like snow as much as Grenville.....

I do admire your optimism though!

Anvilcloud said...

What is it with you guys and nuts? :)

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Thanks EVERYONE for the comments on our little "Charlie Brown tree."

Denise, never tried them in salads myself, but the pesto we made when we grew basil was good, but pricey as we had to buy the jarred pione nots (pignolas).

Elaine, I think not on the cow manure while our little pine is indoors, but good thought and around here chicken manure is plentiful. We keep hoping that our home here will sell so we can relocate and bring along this little pine. And, yes it has grown quite a lot and seems to really enjoy its bathroom living quarters.

Grace, Yup we buy them in the store and use them sparkingly too.

Mona, there may be some of that Miracle Gro in the barn.

Steve, have you tried walnuts in too. I have never trried pistachios.

Elaine, yes we are hopeful that when we finally relocate, this little tree will come along and maybe one day be planted in our "new" yard.

AC, you said it well - we're a bit nuts!

Sandra said...

living my whole life in the deep south pine trees are every where. i was about to ask the question how do i find nuts on our trees when you answered it. ours are not the right ones. i have seen them once in a while in the stores but never tasted them and was afraid to try them since all nuts require an equity loan on the house to purchase a bag. are they good to eat? or just to cook with

Lois Evensen said...

I guess if you do move, you'll want to take your little tree with you. It's a good idea not to get it in the ground quite yet. :)

Unknown said...

My take? Hoe that it stays little (although I really don't think you have anything to worry about!) until you relocate. Then plant that little guy and watch him take off!...:)JP

Rebecca said...

I hope you get a crop sooner than we expect to get fruit from our trees and bushes. My sister-in-law asked if I knew the best time to plant a tree. "When," I asked. Ten years ago.....

Connie said...

Well good luck! Maybe it will grow quicker than you think. I don't think I've ever eaten any pine nuts.