Crunchy and buttery, enjoyably delicious and sweet pine nuts are the edible seeds of the pine tree’s female cone. These are extremely wonderful source of plant based essential nutrients. These are harvested mainly in Russia, Europe, Korea, Siberia, Mongolia, Afghanistan and China. Russia being the largest producer of Pine Nut followed by Mongolia and Afghanistan. Their cultivation started around 5000 years ago. It grows best in the colder climates. In India, best quality Pine Nuts or Chilgoza can be obtained from Himachal Pradesh’s Kinnaur district but majority of it is imported from Afghanistan. These are usually thin shelled.
Pine Nuts are highly nutritious and way too small to have the properties of an excellent food. These are a source of carbohydrates, fibers, proteins, and fat. These are low in cholesterol. Other additional nutrients include Vitamin A, B, C, D and E, along with constituents such as thiamin, folate, calcium, zinc and riboflavin.
Usage in Indian Kitchen
Chilgoza is used an excellent snacking option as they can eaten raw or roasted. These are crunchy therefore best suited for salad dressings and pasta. It is widely used in a number of sauces and chutneys. The Pine Nut oil is used for cooking and known for its mild flavor and low smoke point. These are also used in baking breads and in vegetarian dishes.
Health Benefits of Chilgoza
- Chilgoza (Pine Nuts) are the excellent source of monounsaturated fats making them lower down the cholesterol levels, therefore it is extremely beneficial for the health of your heart.
- Let go of premature ageing by consuming just a handful of this wonder nut.
- Extremely beneficial for skin and eyes.
- Helps in weight management.
- The antioxidants present in Chilgoza keeps the body’s immunity system strong.