HOME ROASTING INSTRUCTIONS
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Pinon Pinenuts are an important traditional holiday and seasonal food throughtout the Southwest. On the East coast people call them Indian nuts. No, they are not from India but from the southwestern US. In the 1940's these nuts were well loved by New Yorkers who called them Indian nuts, because the native americans harvested them. Families would collect the food in the fall and have it available through out the holidays. I talk to lots of folks from the southwest who recount family stories of collecting and roasting pinons .Unless people use the traditions they are forgotten. Gift giving of roasted pinon pine nuts was a common practice. The smell of roasting pinon is absolutely mouthwatering.
Roasting time depends on how much moisture is in the nut. Pinon pine nut roasting is an ART, not a science. Hard shell nuts are roasted at higher temperatures (350- 375) 10 -15 minutes. Your soft shell nuts should be roasted at 325 350 on a cookie sheet.. It will take 45- 65 minutes depending on the nut size and moisture content. We soak nuts in quart of salt water, with 1/4 to 1/2 cup sea salt then roast.My roasts take a bit longer. Stir every 10 minutes after 10 minutes. Start testing at about 30 minutes into your roast. Follow pictured guide for doneness. Again, roasting is an art, not a science!!
Pinon Pine Nuts are a health, quick and easy, holiday treat for your party. They are new to many Americans even though this is a traditional food of the Southwest. They are harvested in a sustainable manner and foods don't come much greener that these jewels of the Great Basin.
Start with fresh pinyon pine straight from the cone. This is a large Nevada Pinyon Pine Nut, Pinus monophylla. I like these better than the smaller New Mexico Pine nuts. Your pinon pine nuts MUST be in the shell for proper roasting. The shells add lots of flavor to your roasted pine nuts well as preserving the food values. There should be a tiny amount of pitch on your shells. This brings out the full flavor of your pine nuts. No matter WHAT pine nut sellers say, not every pine nut is a pinon. If you purchase shelled nuts, you have imported product, not pinons, or Indian nuts as they are called on the east coast.
RAW Fresh Pine Nut
This is an shelled fresh pinon nut. We took off the shells at various stages to show you how this happens. WOW!! This is the perfect, full plump pine nut, fresh and sweet. Note the beautiful ivory color. You will not find a perfect pinenut like this at a big chain grocery store, or even a health food store. When you taste a fresh American pinon pinenut for the first time, everything you know about pine nuts changes. AMAZING GOODNESS.
Roasting Stage 1
Pine nut oils are rising to the top of the nut kernel. It is rather translucent and shines. Nuts at this stage are gummy and need to roast longer.. Your soft - shelled pine nuts may look like this after about 20 - 25 minutes. The smell is driving you crazy. WAIT, they are not done!
Roasting stage 2
Here you can see the butterscotch color is starting.. The nut is a bit harder, even when hot. The full flavor of the nut has begun to emerge and you may be tempted to pull your nuts at this stage. Wait about 5 more mintutes.
This is what you want your pine nuts to look like. Nummy golden, with hints of butterscotch color. Full rich flavor. Texture firm but not brittle. Not crunchy and hard.
Turn down your oven!! If your pine nuts start to pop, the oven is too hot, turn it down.
An overdone roasted pinenut
Since nuts are different sizes, find the smallest nut on your pan. When the smallest nut is this color, test the largest few nuts. The largest nut should like "PEFECT!!! above.
NO, NO, bad pinenut roasting!!!
Toss this overdone pinenut into your coffee grinder (shell and all) then mix with some "Fair Trade Coffee". You will have great coffee for your special holiday parties.
I like salty nuts. This is my roasting method. Soak 1lb nuts 1 gallon water with 1/4 Cup salt. Drain and roast as above in a slow/medium oven (325 degrees) for soft shell. Hard shell nuts (New Mexico Pinons)roast hotter 375 - 400 degrees.
MAKE YOUR OWN ROASTERS!!!
When we started looking around for a way to roast pinons efficently and keep the old fashion flavor, we looked for ideas here. Vending roasted pine nuts on the street is BIG business, but we want to see the roasts done properly.