What we grow - Biodiversity

Pine nut


Pine nuts are the edible seeds of some species of pine (Pinus is the common name of this genus of evergreen trees and shrubs, belonging to the Pinaceae family, among which the most common for the production of pine nuts is Pinus pinea). Yellowish white in color and elongated in shape, they are mainly used in traditional cuisine. Mythological, magical and medical reasons contributed since ancient times to give rise to the fame of these extraordinary fertility enhancers. The Phrygians, a people originally from central Anatolia, in 1100 B.C., they adored the pine tree not only for its evergreen beauty, but also because it provided fruit with which to make a heady wine. In Greece, during the propitiatory feasts of fertility, still closed pine cones were thrown into pits along with other objects. In Latin literature there are numerous testimonies of the aphrodisiac fame of pine nuts, for example Ovid praised them in “Ars amatoria” as one of the few foods that are certainly capable of fostering love. In the kitchen, the Romans accompanied the aroma of pine nuts to cheese, and Apicius recommended them as an ingredient for making sauces, meats or fillings. According to an attestation by Platina, confidence in the aphrodisiac virtues of these fruits grew enormously at the turn of 400 A.D. and 500 A.D.


The domestic pine usually reaches 12-20 meters in height (Sometimes 25 meters). It has a characteristic bearing, with a short trunk and a large, globe-shaped crown, which over time becomes more and more like an umbrella. The stem can be straight or slightly curved. The bark is thick, brown-red in color with vertical plates. The leaves are made up of needles, flexible and leathery. The domestic pine does not produce flowers, but sporophylls, which ripen between April and May. The pine cones are 8-15 centimeters long, ovoid and large. They take 36 months to mature, opening at maturity to release the seeds, called pine nuts, 2 centimeters long, light brown in color with a shell covered by a dark sheath. The seeds are dispersed by animals.


Like other oil seeds (Nuts), pine nuts are also extremely energetic foods. Calories essentially come from lipids, of which they are particularly rich (50% of weight). Totally cholesterol-free, pine nuts instead contain high quantities of triglycerides, respectively formed by mainly unsaturated fatty acids, including linoleic acid. The pine nuts also boast a good protein content (30% of the weight), characterized by a set of amino acids that determines an overall discrete biological value, including arginine capable of optimizing the physiological dilation of blood vessels (Ideal in a diet against hypertension). Great source of dietary fiber (4.5% by weight). The quantity of carbohydrates, on the other hand, does not greatly affect the total energy intake of the food. Pine nuts are rich in iron and phosphorus, manganese, potassium, zinc, copper and vitamin E, vitamin B1, vitamin B2 and vitamin PP. They are also indicated for the growing subject, during pregnancy (But not during the lactation phase, as it is a potentially allergenic food) and in conditions of asthenia. Pine nuts are mainly used in the preparation of desserts, such as apple strudel, for Genoese pesto, for the preparation of meat or fish dishes. By virtue of the high lipid content, the oil of the same name can be extracted from the pine nuts by cold pressing, much appreciated by gourmets and health enthusiasts, both for its delicate flavor (Similar to hazelnut oil) and for its remarkable antioxidant properties.


The domestic pine prefers sunny places unless they are grown in areas warmer than those of origin. As for the soil, it is better to favor it sandy, light and dry, not too humid and heavy, while with regard to fertilization, the ideal would be manure fertilizer in autumn. It prefers a mild climate but can be grown both in the north and in the south as it is quite resistant, the important thing is to avoid places that are too windy. Regarding pruning, the pine tree only needs periodic cleaning, even once a year, of the parts damaged by the wind or dry.