Pine nuts (piñón nuts) are harvested from the low-growing Pinyon pine. These nuts are indigenous to the high plains desserts of the Sierra Nevada where small quantities are still harvested by hand. The Pinyon is just one of many pine species that produce edible nuts. China is now the largest producers of commercially available pine nuts. Pine nuts are harvested in Europe as well from various species of pine. The nuts are consumed world-wide
Pine nuts have a very delicate flavor and can be used toasted and sprinkled over salad as well as added to cookies and other pastries.
It is legislated in Nevada that native Americans are allowed to harvest and use or sell the piñón nuts on public land. If you go to the Sierra in the fall (September through October) along highway 88 (Carson Pass highway) or highway 89 from Woodfords to Markleeville you can still see native Americans selling hand-harvested pine nuts from large burlap bags alongside the road. You can typically purchase them at the Woodfords store as well. Additionally, you can purchase the American pine nuts from the Washoe tribe at Pinenuts.com.
If you don't have piñón pine nuts you can substitute:
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