Home generalOpen pinecone: How to crack it! | Are pine nuts edible?

Open pinecone: How to crack it! | Are pine nuts edible?

  • Are pine nuts edible "> Open pinecone
    • Store dry
    • Put on heating
    • "Blow up" in the oven
  • Remove pine nuts
  • Line pine nuts
    • Heat in the pan
    • Nutcracker

You want to open collected or bought pine cones, but do not know how to do it? Our guide with several step-by-step instructions will help you to crack the hard cones and get at the precious treasures inside!

Pine cones are now also in Germany, Austria and Switzerland a frequently seen guest in the vegetable department of the supermarket. Some people are fortunate enough to harvest the cones in the wild or in their own garden. In order to get the kernels inside the pine cones, the latter have to be opened - and that can be quite a tedious task. Below we provide you with many practical tips for opening pine cones and using the pine nuts.

Are pine nuts edible?

Yes, pine nuts are edible - and bring pure enjoyment. They are particularly used in Italian and Oriental cuisine, but are also suitable for many other dishes. Whether noodle or rice dishes, salads or soups: The nutty-mild aroma and the soft texture of the kernels add up to just about every dish.

Surely you have noticed in the course of your purchases that peelless pine nuts are quite expensive. Do you know why that is? Of course, the kernels have excellent ingredients - they are about 50 percent fat and 40 percent protein and contain many vitamins and minerals. The composition is not the reason for the mostly juicy prices. Rather, the costliness has to do with the relatively complicated preparation.

In fact, even with industrial machining with machines, it is difficult to extract the kernels from the pine cones and to free them from their hard shells. It is enormously complex to separate the very soft and correspondingly sensitive cores unscathed from the shell. Basically, the procedure of the professionals hardly differs from the DIY method at home. First, the cones are opened by dry heat, then the shells are carefully removed from the yellow seeds with the black dot.

Open pinecone

First, it's about opening the pine cones. We introduce you to the three most common variants.

Store dry

Pine cones open by themselves when stored in a warm, dry room. However, this may take several weeks. The relatively long wait is not only a test of patience for you, but also dangerous for the cores inside the cones. Often they begin to mold - and are no longer edible when the pine cones have opened.

Tip: mold can be detected by the musty smell of the pine cones and later also by the grayish discoloration of the cores.

Put on heating

To speed up the opening process, it is recommended to place the pine cones on an activated heater. Keep an eye on the cones in order to be able to remove them immediately from the heat source when they have cracked open.

"Blow up" in the oven

If you do not want to wait long for your pine nuts or risk mold growth, it is best to put the pine cones in the oven for a few minutes to open. Just follow the instructions below:

Step 1: Set the oven to 60 to 80 degrees Celsius.
Step 2: Lay out the baking sheet or the grid with a little baking paper.
Step 3: Place the pine cones on the sheet or rust.
Step 4: Push the sheet metal or the grid with the pins into the oven.
Step 5: Wait a few minutes.

Note: Take a look in the oven every two to three minutes to see if the pine cones are already cracked. Normally, the pine cones open with a loud crack - with a tight-fitting oven, it may still be that you do not hear the sound.

Remove pine nuts

Once the pine cones are opened, it is time to extract the pine nuts - simply by shaking or with a little more effort ...

Shake out pine nuts

Often, the pine nuts can simply be shaken out of the open pegs. However, some of the cores are so tight that shaking alone is not enough. Then method 2 is required.

Completely disassemble pine cones

If you do not manage to release the pine nuts by shaking the pins, you must disassemble the latter completely. Use a sharp knife for this.

Line pine nuts

Last but not least, it's about ridding the pine nuts of their thick, hard skin. There are two options to choose from.

Heat in the pan

Roasting in a pan is the most stress-free and safest way of removing the pine nuts from their shells.

1st step: Turn on the stove (high level).
Step 2: Place a well-coated pan on the plate.
Step 3: Let the pan get hot.
Step 4: Put the pine nuts in the heated pan.

Important: Do not add any fat - pine nuts are generally dry, ie fat-free roasted!

Step 5: Wait until the cores turn golden yellow. Then they are done.
Step 6: Carry the pine nuts on a plate.
Step 7: Allow the cores to cool for a few minutes.
Step 8: Detach the shells - this works without any problems.

Note: After roasting, you should immediately enjoy the pine nuts.


Although we advise you explicitly on Variant 1, for the sake of completeness, we would also like to describe the second method that you can use to free pine nuts from their shells.

Dress the kernels with a traditional nutcracker. The procedure is the same as for whales or Brazil nuts. However, pine nuts are much smaller. So get ready for a rather fiddly affair right now.

Warning: Never try to crack the pine nuts with your teeth - otherwise you will land quickly at the dentist. The shells are harder than your enamel - this would just blown away. The tooth crown could break as well.

Tip: Do not throw away the empty pine cones - use them as decoration. Whether you leave the cones natural or decorate with decoration spray (for example gold, silver or artificial snow) is up to you.

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