Pine nuts, also called pignoli, piñons, and Indian nuts, depending on the variety, are the seeds of various species of pine trees. Of the more than one hundred pine tree species around the world, about a dozen in the Northern Hemisphere yield desirable seeds, the three most prevalent being the Pinus pinea (Mediterranean stone pine), Pinus cembroides (Mexican nut pine), and Pinus edulis (piñon pine of the south-western United States). Pine species that produce edible nuts grow in northern Mexico, the south-western United States, Europe, Asia, North Africa, and South America. Their seeds range in size from the 1/2-inch seeds found in Mexican, American, and European pines to the giant 2-inch seeds of the nut pines in South America. A single pine cone may contain a hundred seeds, but they are lodged securely within the cone, which must be heated to open the scales and loosen the nuts, enabling their removal. After the nuts have been shaken free, the hull protecting each individual nut must be cracked open. This intensive two-step process is the primary reason for their high price tag. If you’ve already tried pine nuts, you’ve most likely eaten the seeds of the Mediterranean stone pine, Pinus Pinea, a tree found from Portugal to Italy to Lebanon that provides the most widely available nut. Shaped like a torpedo, these soft, ivory-colored, 1/2-inch pignoli have a light, delicate flavor with a piney, resinous undertone. Piñons are similar to pignoli in taste and appearance, but the Chinese pine nut, which is shaped like a squat triangle, has a pungent pine flavor so intense it can overpower some dishes. Pignoli are a ubiquitous ingredient in the cuisines of the Mediterranean, Middle East, and North Africa, where they are eaten by the handful as snacks and used in a wide variety of recipes, including classic Italian pesto. Piñons have also enhanced the traditional dishes of Mexico and Native Americans living in the south-western United States for many centuries.
Not surprisingly, all cultures where nut-bearing species of pines grow have valued their edible seeds since time immemorial. It is thought that the pine nuts from the North American piñon tree were eaten as a staple food some 10,000 years ago, and species are also to be found in Korea, China, Turkey, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, where they have been a traditional food of nomadic tribes.
Piñons were so important a food for Native Americans throughout the region that they were called Indian nuts and are still harvested in quantity by Native Americans, both for food and for trading.
In the 1500s, Spanish chroniclers traveling among the Hopi and Navajo nations recorded pine nuts being eaten whole, ground for flour and baked, pounded into a buttery paste, used in soup, and either boiled or roasted to make a nourishing porridge. The seeds were cached against long winters, serving as the mainstay of the Native American’s diet when weather conditions prevented hunting for fresh meat.
Despite this description of use in America, pine nuts are most often associated with the Mediterranean region, in particular Italy, where they have been used as a n ingredient for well over 2,000 years. Evidence found in the ruins of Pompeii, an Italian town destroyed when the volcano Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 C.E., show that pine nuts were widely used at that time.
Some research indicates that the species now grown in Europe, Pinus pinea, originated in the Near East and that it was humans who gradually spread it throughout the Mediterranean.
Valued by ancient Greeks and Romans as an aphrodisiac, pine nuts are still a favorite ingredient in Italian cuisine.
Pignoli are also used in a variety of French meat dishes, in crudités (raw vegetable salads), and in pastries and baked goods such as macaroons.
In North Africa, pine nuts are common ingredients in confections; in Tunisia, they are often added to mint tea, the regions ubiquitous equivalent of the American cup of coffee.
In India, where they are called chilgoza, pine nuts garnish rice dishes and add their sweet richness to desserts, puddings, sauces, and sweetmeats.
Finally in Korea they are used in a sustaining breakfast porridge, ginger tea, and confections.
Although 3,000 or more metric tons of pine nuts are produced annually in Mexico and the south-eastern United States, little of this crop enters the nut trade. The majority of pine nuts commercially available in the United states are imported from Italy and Spain, the world’s top producers.
European pine nuts, or pignoli, which deliver 24 grams of protein per 3.5 ounces (100 grams), contain more protein than any other nut or seed. An ounce of pignoli contains more protein (6.8 grams) and less fat (14 grams), fiber (1.3 grams), and carbohydrate (4 grams) than their American cousins, piñons, which provide 3.3 grams of protein, 17 grams of fat, 3 grams of fiber, and 5.5 grams of carbohydrate. The fat provided by both types of nuts is about 50 percent monounsaturated, 40 percent polyunsaturated, and 10 percent saturated.
Pignoli supply160 calories per ounce, while the same amount of piñons provides 178 calories. Per ounce, piñons contain more vitamin B1 (32 percent the recommended daily intake compared to 21 percent of the recommended daily intake of pignoli, although both nuts qualify as an excellent source), while pignoli contain more iron (14 percent of the recommended daily intake compared to the 5 percent in piñons, which makes pignoli an excellent and piñons a good source of the mineral.)
Both types of nuts provide comparable amounts of other vitamins and minerals. Both are an excellent source of vitamins B1 and B3, manganese, copper, magnesium, molybdenum, and zinc as well as being good sources of vitamin B2, E and potassium.
The health benefits of pine nuts are similar to those of other nuts that provide a high content of monounsaturated fat and arginine. In addition both types of pine nuts deliver a hefty dose of magnesium and potassium, two minerals whose combined effects produce a strong, healthy heartbeat, lowered blood pressure, and improved blood flow.
Taken altogether, pine nut’s arginine, monounsaturated fat, magnesium, and potassium content provide powerful effects for counteracting heart disease.
Energetic and Magical Properties
Pine cones containing seeds are carried throughout Europe to increase fertility and to retain your youth in old age. The seeds also make wonderful offerings to fairies, rumored to live and play inside pine trees; slain-god figures, whose immortality is reflected by the evergreen nature of pine trees; and to nature spirits in general.
To inspire abundance or fertility include them in altar arrangements and ceremonies. They can also be ingested to help bring these properties into your life, simply ask them to do so as you include them in dishes or as you snack on them whole.
How to Select and Store
Pignoli are widely available and are sold already shelled. Piñons are most likely to be available in the southwestern United States, where they are sold, already shelled, in the produce section of grocery stores and natural food markets. They can also be found still inside their shells by wild-harvesters on the side of busy roads, or at markets in the same area.
Asian markets are the best place to find Chinese pine nuts.
Because of their high fat content, all varieties of pine nuts are extremely susceptible to rancidity. Purchase pine nuts that are packaged in an airtight container. Be sure to check the sell-by date on the package to ensure freshness.
Store all pine nuts in an airtight container in the refrigerator, where they will keep for up to three months, or an airtight ziplock bag in the freezer, where they will keep for up to nine months.
Tips for Preparing
Toasting shelled pine nuts will intensify their flavor and takes just 2-3 minutes in a dry skillet over medium heat or 6-8 minutes spread out on a cookie sheet in an oven preheated to 350 degrees F.
Alternatively, rinse the pine nuts in cold water, drain, sprinkle with salt, put in a covered roasting pan, and steam at 250-275 degrees F. for 15-20 minutes. Remove the cover and stir until completely dry.
To roast piñons inside their shells wash them thoroughly, spread out in a single layer on a cookie sheet while still wet, salt if desired then place into a preheated oven at 325 degrees F. Check them after 10 minutes by pulling one from the pan, cracking it and tasting it. If it still tastes raw they are not finished; also pay attention to the color of the meat inside the shell. When they become a light butterscotch color remove them immediately and cool thoroughly and evenly. Piñons can burn easily, so check them often as they roast.
There are significant safety issues with nut and seed consumption. As a general rule, nuts are among the foods more commonly associated with allergic reactions. Nut allergies also tend to be severe with a range of symptoms. Use caution when introducing nuts to children, or when trying new types of nuts yourself.
A less serious safety issue with most nuts and seeds is they provide a high ratio arginine to lysine. While arginine does provide significant health benefits, a high arginine-to-lysine ratio is best avoided by people susceptible to cold sores or herpes infections, as arginine promotes, while lysine prevents, the activation of the virus.
Asthma-like symptoms have also been observed after consumption of pine nuts. Individuals living near a pine forest, who are therefore exposed and possible sensitized to pine tree pollen, may be more at risk to allergies involving pine nuts. Also, common antigenic (allergy-provoking) proteins have been identified in pine nuts and peanuts, so individuals with a peanut allergy may want to avoid pine nuts.
Nutritional Information per 100 Gram Serving
Calories: 566 Carbohydrates: 14.22 g Fat: 50.7 g Protein: 24 g Fiber: 4.5 g Water: 6.69 g Stearic Acid: 1.672 g Oleic Acid: 17.9 g Linoleic Acid: 20.689 g Linolenic Acid: 0.654 g Arachidonic Acid: 0 g EPA: 0 g DHA: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Monounsaturated Fat: 19.076 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 21.343 g Saturated Fat: 7.797 g Calcium: 26 mg Copper: 1.026 mg Iron: 9.2 mg Magnesium: 233 mg Manganese: 4.298 mg Phosphorous: 508 mg Potassium: 599 mg Selenium: 16.6 mg Sodium: 4 mg Zinc: 4.25 mg Folic Acid: 0 mcg Niacin: 3.57 mg Pantothenic Acid: 0.208 mg Riboflavin: 0.19 mg Thiamine: 0.81 mg Vitamin A: 29 IU Vitamin B12: 0 mcg Vitamin B6: 0.11 mg Vitamin C: 1.9 mg Vitamin E: 3.5 mg Vitamin K: 0 mg Recipes which Include Pine Nuts: Ginger Tea (생강차 [Saenggangcha]) This article was adapted from: The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murray N.D. and Joseph Pizzorno N.D. with Lara Pizzorno M.A. , L.M.T. With Additional Information from: The Master Book of Herbalism by Paul Beyerl Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham The Herb Book by John Lust Pictures pulled from Google.com
This beautiful oil is often called the “Mother of Essential Oils;” and like a mother it is comforting, warm, and performs many tasks at once. It is perhaps the most versatile and useful essential oil, and deserves to be in every medicine cabinet. This particular oil is also very unique from others in that it can be applied neat (undiluted) to the skin, and will not cause a negative skin reaction. Caution is still to be used with large doses however.
Lavender also can help us find a perfect balance of masculine and feminine traits that are within us all; it can help men become gentle, caring, and empathetic, and women strong, brave, and assertive.
The properties of Lavender: (See the Herbal Terminology Post for definitions)
Analgesic, Anti-Coagulant, Anti-Convulsive, Anti-Depressant, Anti-Fungal, Antihistamine, Anti-Infectious, Anti-Inflammatory, Antiseptic, Anti-Spasmodic, Antitoxic, Cardiotonic, Regenerative, Sedative
Uses for Lavender include:
Physical: Helps burns, inflammation, cuts, wounds, eczema, dermatitis, fainting, headaches, influenza, insomnia, migraine, infections, bacterial conditions, sores, ulcers, acne, boils, asthma, rheumatism, arthritis.
Emotional and Mental: Counteracts anxiety, irritability, stress, tension, mental exhaustion, panic, hysteria, shock, apprehension, fears, nightmares, insecurity, loss of inner child, restlessness, moodiness, distraction, addiction, obsessive behavior, trauma, conflict, emotional violence, agitation, jitteryness, depression, psychosomatic illness, nervousness, worry, over-excitedness, burnout.
Nourishes security, gentility, compassion, balance, reconcile, vitality, clarity, comfort, acceptance, inner peace, restfulness, relaxed alertness, awareness, emotional balance, spiritual growth, meditative thought, visualization, rejuvenation.
Spiritual and Energetic: Lavender is an herb belonging to the element of Air and is in tune with the planetary energies of Mercury. When used in rituals and meditations it invites energies of high frequencies, which are very useful to the practitioner. Because of the characteristics of Air present in this oil, it helps activate the sixth chakra, and as a result produces clear thinking, and increased awareness.
Handkerchief/Tissue: add one or two drops of the oil on a tissue or handkerchief and sniff often. This method is useful for the emotional and mental problems listed above, as well as fainting and headaches.
Vapor: add 2-3 drops into a bowl of hot water and inhale the vapors deeply through the nose for one minute (be sure to close your eyes to avoid irritation.) This method is helpful for treating respiratory and sinus infections, asthma, and headaches.
Massage Oil: add a maximum 5 drops per teaspoon of carrier oil and massage over the affected area. This method is helpful for rashes, sore muscles, arthritis, and digestive problems. (remember to massage the abdomen in a clock-wise movement)
Baths: add a maximum of 8 drops to a warm bath and soak for at least ten minutes, breathing deeply and relaxing. This method is helpful for mental and emotional problems, muscle tension, digestive problems, respiratory and sinus infections, and asthma.
Showers: wash as normal then add 5 drops to your washcloth, luffa, or sponge and rub over yourself briskly while standing under the running water. Breathe Deeply. This method is helpful for mental and emotional problems, muscle tension, digestive problems, respiratory and sinus infections, and asthma.
Diffusers: add 1-6 drops to a diffuser and light the candle, or turn the diffuser on. Sit, relax, and breathe deeply for one minute. This method is helpful for the mental and emotional problems listed above, asthma, and to help sanitize the air.
Humidifiers: add 4 drops to the water added into a humidifier. This method is helpful for the mental and emotional problems listed above, asthma, respiratory and sinus infections, and to help sanitize the air.
Neat: one or two drops can be applied neat to bug bites, cuts, burns, scrapes, warts, and pimples.
Contraindications: Avoid in first trimester of pregnancy. Avoid if blood pressure is extremely low.
Information pulled from:
The Fragrant Mind and The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy by Valerie Ann Worwood
The Master Book of Herbalism by Paul Beyerl
Today I have two videos to share. They are from two of my favorite YouTube channels, and both are absolutely delicious.
Many of the fish cakes sold in Asian markets today contain unhealthy additives such as MSG, dyes, and other nasty preservatives.
These recipes show how to make fish cakes using real fish and healthy ingredients. Enjoy.
さ つま揚げ (satsuma-age) are a fish cake from Kagoshima, Japan. They are used in various stews and hotpots, or eaten as a snack. They have a lovely flavor and texture and are also a great way to incorporate fish into the diet.
어 묵 (eomuk) are fish cakes from South Korea. Many believe they were created to mimic the Japanese fish cakes many centuries ago. They are delicious and like satsuma-age, they are great in soups or just as a snack.
Calendula (Calendula officinalis) is a beautiful and vibrant plant. It is a friend to many gardeners under the name of “pot marigold,” and has been cultivated for centuries. The flowering tops are the part that is most commonly used in medicine and cosmetics, and this herb is very easy to grow and maintain in a garden.
To dry the flowers string them on a thread using a needle and hang them in a dim place for several weeks until thoroughly dried. Store in an airtight container once dried in a dark place.
The Properties of Calendula: ( See the Herbal Terminology Post for Definitions)
Antispasmodic, Aperient, Cholagogue, Diaphoretic, Vulnery.
Uses for Calendula Include:
Medicinal: Helps with ulcers, stomach cramps, colitis, diarrhea, fever, boils, abscesses, wounds, bruises, sprains, pulled muscles, sores, warts, menstrual difficulties, and to prevent recurrent vomiting.
Cosmetic: Used to help the skin regain elasticity, and a more youthful appearance, soothe chapped skin, and soften the skin.
Energetic and Spiritual: Calendula is an herb belonging to the element of Fire and is in tune with the planetary energies of the Sun. It is used for protection when hung, scattered, or planted around the home; or strewn under beds to guard against nightmares.
When burned in an incense this plant helps to consecrate items, people, or an area. The flowers can also be added to a bath to give a person’s aura a glow of attractiveness and vitality.
Infusion: use 1 to 2 teaspoons fresh or dried flowers with 1/2 cup boiling water; steep for 5 to 10 minutes and strain. Take one teaspoon every hour. This method is useful for ulcers, stomach cramps, colitis, diarrhea, fever, menstrual difficulties, and to prevent recurrent vomiting.
Tincture: soak a handful of flowers in 1/2 quart of rectified alcohol or whiskey for 5 to 6 weeks shaking daily. A dose is 5 to 10 drops dissolved in a cup of warm water. This method is useful for ulcers, stomach cramps, colitis, diarrhea, fever, menstrual difficulties, and to prevent recurrent vomiting.
Ointment: simmer 1 ounce fresh or dried flowers in 1 cup of olive oil for 30 minutes. Do not let it boil. Strain, then add one ounce of beeswax. Allow this to melt; and when it is mixed into the oil mixture, pour it into an appropriate container to cool and set up. This method is useful for boils, abscesses, wounds, bruises, sprains, pulled muscles, sores, and warts; as well as cosmetic uses.
Contraindications: None known, but use with extreme caution during pregnancy.
Information Pulled from:
The Herb Book by John Lust
The Master Book of Herbalism by Paul Beyerl
Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham
The Complete Illustrated Encyclopedia of Magical Plants by Susan Gregg
Images from Google.com
He is the Sun, the Stag and the Harvest.
Listen to his words and grow in his mysteries.
The Charge of the God
I am the radiant King of the Heavens,
flooding the Earth with warmth and encouraging the hidden
seed of creation to burst forth into manifestation.
I lift my shining spear to light the lives of all beings
and daily pour forth my golden rays upon the Earth,
putting to flight the powers of darkness.
The ancient woods and wild places emanate my powers,
the birds of the air sing of my sanctity.
I am the harvest, offering up grain and fruits beneath
the sickle of time so that all may be nourished.
For without planting there can be no harvest;
without winter there can be no spring.
I am the thousand named Son of creation.
Know that by all names I am the same.
The spirit of the horned stag in the wild, the endless harvest.
See in the yearly cycle of festivals my birth, death and
rebirth and know that such is the destiny of all creation..
I am the spark of life, the radiant Sun, the giver of peace and rest.
I send my rays of blessings to warm the hearts and strengthen the minds of all.
Images from Google.com