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Pine Nuts for the Winter

Updated on February 14, 2015
Typical gunny sack
Typical gunny sack | Source

In The Pines

In the forties and fifties of the last century (1940-1960), I remember every August my family would go visit my Uncle Boyd in Ely, Nevada. My older brother Bill, my younger brothers Stan, Larry and Ken and my two younger sisters Barbara and Darlene would go to see Marvin, Gordon, Royal and there siblings, all children of Boyd and Vee and we would travel to a spot above Ely to visit and gather nuts for the winter. We always took a couple of gunny sacks with us because there was more to visiting my Uncle than just getting better acquainted. Hidden among the shrub brush and what we called cedar trees (Junipers) was the Pinyon pine. A few miles above Ely we would ride in pickups and any vehicle that could carry a load, and spend the day getting ourselves covered with the pitch gum from the pine trees. This happened as a natural occurrence as we gathered and picked the nut from the trees and put them in the gunny sacks.

Cedar Tree (Juniper)
Cedar Tree (Juniper)
Pinyon Pine
Pinyon Pine | Source

Cedar Trees?

Our families would each get one or two bags full of pine nuts for our protein for the winter. It was a wonderful family adventure and it helped us be healthier and have food to eat. It’s not too difficult to differentiate the cedar from the pine above Ely, Nevada

Gathering Nuts

How delighted I was to see now, (2015), how the process of gathering pine nuts is still alive and well. Sure there’s a few more regulations than there were in the 50’s but people are still gathering pine nuts. Some people have said the drought and the climate change are making the nuts more bug infested today.

I quote from the BLM source for permit information

“Personal-use pine nut collection requires no permit, however, the collection is limited to 25 pounds of nuts per household (or 5 gunny sacks of cones). Amounts exceeding this are handled as commercial sales and do require a permit.”(1)

I think it’s important to keep our land and the products that come from it free to the people. What do you think?


Hunt Gather cook
Hunt Gather cook | Source

Food information

Did you know the pine nut is protein packed and has 20 amino acids and a very high concentration in 8 of the 9 ingredients necessary for growth.

Pine nuts are high in monounsaturated fat, and include Vitamins, A, C and D. They also yield pine nut oil, which has a nutty flavor and is said to contain healthy antioxidants. (2)

Eating the nut straight from the shell can be done, but my family wouldn’t allow us to eat too many while picking. After we took the nuts home in the burlap bags, we would spread the nuts on a baking and cook them for 20 minutes at 350 degrees farenheight. Then when they cool we would shell them and eat them.

If you eat the nuts you will experience the aftertaste of pines that can last several days. Especially if you eat them raw. When roasted they taste better.

I found some nice recipes on the kindle book Pine Nuts written by the Food Fare Culinary Collection. (3)


(2) O'Toole, Shenanchie (2013-09-16). Pine Nuts (Food Fare Culinary Collection) (Kindle Locations 65-70). Food Fare. Kindle Edition.


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