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Pine nuts are very energetic foods, the superfood par excellence increasingly present in Italian and international cuisines thanks to its beneficial properties and unique taste.

But where do pine nuts come from and how are they harvested?

The pine nuts are enclosed inside the pine cones, the fruit of the pine and conifers also indicated with the technical term “strobilus“.
Inside the pine cones there are pine nuts, the pearl-white oilseeds, enclosed in the shell hidden in the pine cone.

There are different types of pine:

  • Scots pine
  • Stone pine
  • Mountain pine
  • stone pine

Let’s find out together the varieties of pine present and what is the type of pine that contains the precious Italian pine nuts processed and distributed by our company Ciavolino all over the world.

Scots pine

The classic Scots pine, or Pinus Silvestris, has a diffusion as a spontaneous plant that includes all of continental Europe and the corresponding Asian belt. During growth, the plant changes its appearance from the initial pyramidal shape with thick foliage, to the enlarged shape, organized in stages, which varies for each tree.
Scots pine is an evergreen tree, in which the seeds take three or four years to be ready.

Stone pine

The stone pine, or Pinus cembra, is easily identifiable at high altitudes, up to 2,400 metres: it can be found isolated or in small groups along the alpine paths. Evergreen tree that lives in the Alps can reach 25 meters in height, and is a very long-lived plant and can live from 300 to 600 years.

Mountain pine

The mugo pine, or Pinus mugo, is found only at higher altitudes and is generally bushy, as it rarely assumes an upright shape with a single trunk. The pine cones are small, with a diameter of up to 3 cm, and a maximum length of 6 cm.

And finally let’s talk about the stone pine, or the Pinus Pinea present on the slopes of Vesuvius, the pine tree that gives us the tasty fruits of the pine cone.

This type of pine is cultivated as a fruit plant for the production of pine nuts and takes about 4 years to reach maturity. It is a majestic and unmistakable evergreen tree that can reach up to 30 meters in height. Stone pine cones are 8-15 cm long, ovoid and large, and take 3 years to mature. In the pine cones of the pinus pinea there are ivory white pine nuts. Also known as Italian pine nuts or Mediterranean pine nuts, they have a rich, resinous flavor and an odor reminiscent of pine. This type of Italian pine nut is classified as the best pine nut in the world.
You can read more about Italian pine nut here.


Pine nut harvesting and pine nut processing

Between November and May the pine cones from the Pinus Pinea are harvested and subsequently processed in order to release the pine nuts present inside the pine cone. The pine nuts are then processed. The pine nuts will be washed using the dry cleaning procedure in order to preserve the pine nut by shelling and drying it without using water and finally the pine nuts are packaged. You can read in detail the processing phases that we use in the Ciavolino company in this in-depth article.
In conclusion, there are many types of pine present all over the world, each with its own characteristics and properties. The pine cones and pines of Pinus Pinea are considered the most valuable, also thanks to the origin of the pines and the favorable climate in which they reside, especially in the Mediterranean area where the pines of the Ciavolino company are present.

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