Pine Nuts- also known as Pignoli Nuts, are actually seeds of the Pine Tree, specifically harvested from the pine cone. The pine cone seeds are protected by a hard shell, that must be removed before eating. Once the shell is removed the seed is highly perishable and can easily go rancid if not stored in proper conditions. Be wary of buying pine nuts from a store that does not move this item quickly.
Use Pine Nuts within a week of purchase, or store them in a very cool, dry place for up to 2 weeks. Or freeze them in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
depending on where the Pine Nuts were harvested, they will range in shape and size from a small kernel of corn (if from China) to a shape that is more slender and narrow like a sunflower seed, if from Europe, and the American Pine Nut is the largest.
Due to their small window of harvest time and the conditions that are necessary for a good growing yield, Pine Nuts are very expensive. It will take 18 months for the cone to come to complete maturity; and then it takes about 20 more days until the cone fully opens. Once it is fully open and dry, the seed is extracted.
Pignoli Nut Cookies are currently sold for about $20- $25 per lb in the NY/NJ retail areas.