How to shell pine nuts

I recently acquired about a pound of raw pine nuts. They were collected and are smaller on average than the pine nuts I can buy.

They are a pain to shell. The shells don’t come away easily and since they are small there is a lot of work to do for a small reward.

What is the best way to shell these? Should I roast them in their shells first?

How to shell pine nuts

2 Answers 2

This is how you can do it:

  1. Place your nuts into a super-strong plastic food storage bag and close it securely after squeezing out all air from the inside.
  2. Put the bag flat on a hard surface like kitchen counter. Starting from the bottom of the bag, roll a rolling pin over the bag upwards and back.
  3. Repeat untill the shells crack.
  4. Take out the nuts and remove any remaining shells.

Just saw this a year later. I had the same problem about 15 years ago, before the computer had tons of ways to do things. So this is what I learned from someone back in Colorado.

First option: Put the nuts in some thick cotton or wool socks with rocks in them. Tie off the end. Put in the dryer on no heat. Tumble. Take out. Pour out nuts. Most of the shells will have stuck to the sock. Clean sock.

Second option: Place nuts on a small towel. Fold over. Use rolling pin. Again nuts will be mostly free as shells will stick to towel. They are so much less expensive if you buy with the shell on, but you have to know the easiest way to de-shell.

You may download these instructions as a PDF file.

Pinon Pinenuts are an important traditional holiday and seasonal food throughtout the Southwest. On the East coast people call them Indian nuts. No, they are not from India but from the southwestern US. In the 1940’s these nuts were well loved by New Yorkers who called them Indian nuts, because the native americans harvested them. Families would collect the food in the fall and have it available through out the holidays. I talk to lots of folks from the southwest who recount family stories of collecting and roasting pinons .Unless people use the traditions they are forgotten. Gift giving of roasted pinon pine nuts was a common practice. The smell of roasting pinon is absolutely mouthwatering.

Roasting time depends on how much moisture is in the nut. Pinon pine nut roasting is an ART, not a science. Hard shell nuts are roasted at higher temperatures (350- 375) 10 -15 minutes. Your soft shell nuts should be roasted at 325 350 on a cookie sheet.. It will take 45- 65 minutes depending on the nut size and moisture content. We soak nuts in quart of salt water, with 1/4 to 1/2 cup sea salt then roast.My roasts take a bit longer. Stir every 10 minutes after 10 minutes. Start testing at about 30 minutes into your roast. Follow pictured guide for doneness. Again, roasting is an art, not a science!!

Pinon Pine Nuts are a health, quick and easy, holiday treat for your party. They are new to many Americans even though this is a traditional food of the Southwest. They are harvested in a sustainable manner and foods don’t come much greener that these jewels of the Great Basin.

RAW Fresh Pine Nut

Roasting Stage 1

Roasting stage 2



An overdone roasted pinenut

NO, NO, bad pinenut roasting.

Salt Roast

I like salty nuts. This is my roasting method. Soak 1lb nuts 1 gallon water with 1/4 Cup salt. Drain and roast as above in a slow/medium oven (325 degrees) for soft shell. Hard shell nuts (New Mexico Pinons)roast hotter 375 – 400 degrees.


When we started looking around for a way to roast pinons efficently and keep the old fashion flavor, we looked for ideas here. Vending roasted pine nuts on the street is BIG business, but we want to see the roasts done properly.

Just another site

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Remove any nuts with holes in them; this means bugs have gotten to them. X Do not hit the pine nuts with the rolling pin or you risk crushing the nuts into fine pieces. Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered. To subscribe to this RSS feed, copy and paste this URL into your RSS reader. Is it true that good pistachio nuts should have yellowish shell, purplish skin and greenish flesh? She worked in print journalism for three years before deciding to pursue Internet writing. Consume the shelled pine nuts immediately for the best results.

site design / logo © 2020 Stack Exchange Inc; user contributions licensed under cc by-sa.

Learn more. Once you see the hard work that goes into shelling pine nuts, you might be better able to appreciate the price tag that often comes with them. Grab each pine nut between your thumb and index finger and peel off any remaining shell fragments. For tips on shelling hard pine nuts, keep reading! To create this article, volunteer authors worked to edit and improve it over time. I had the same problem about 15 years ago, before the computer had tons of ways to do things. She is now a contributing web writer for Demand Studios and Conjecture Corporation. Just saw this a year later. Then, bang the cones around in a gunnysack until all of the nuts fall out. Tie off the end. For tips on shelling hard pine nuts, keep reading! By using our site, you agree to our. This method is not for the faint of heart and does require some power. Place a rolling pin near the bottom of the bag, making sure to press down forcefully. To learn more, see our tips on writing great answers. We use cookies to make wikiHow great. It only takes a minute to sign up. Any known translations of the Talmudim et al into classical languages, prior to the 19th century? The sheller machine is good device to help people quickly shell pine nuts. Spread as many pine nuts as you want to toast on the sheet and set them aside while the oven heats. Lightly toast them in the oven and enjoy their crisp taste. Wait for the nuts to come out of the machine without their shells. Take out the nuts and remove any remaining shells. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Service. Many people like to put pine nuts in the freezer to give them an extra crunchy taste and to make them last longer, while others maintain that this takes away some of their rich, nutty flavor.

So this is what I learned from someone back in Colorado. I got a bag of fairly inexpensive whole pine nuts (pinon nuts) off the Indian reservation. How can I make a long wall perfectly level? Please consider making a contribution to wikiHow today. If you really can’t stand to see another ad again, then please consider supporting our work with a contribution to wikiHow. Seasoned Advice is a question and answer site for professional and amateur chefs. Kernels will come off pine nut shells and flow to gravity tables when cracked pine nuts are shaken by sizing decks. discussion from the Chowhound Home Cooking food community.

wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. This method is one of the best for preserving the original shape of the pine nut, if that’s important to you. Repeat the process until all of the pine nut shells crack.

They are a pain to shell.

Once you’ve cracked all of the shells, remove the nuts from the bag and peel off the remaining shells with your fingers. Why is character “£” in a string interpreted strange in the command cut? With this method of shelling, pine nuts do not need to be sized. Please consider making a contribution to wikiHow today. Starting from the bottom of the bag, roll a rolling pin over the bag upwards and back. Creating new Help Center documents for Review queues: Project overview. Pine nuts have an outer shell that needs to be removed before you can eat them, but the shell’s hard texture requires more force than other soft-shelled nuts. First option: Put the nuts in some thick cotton or wool socks with rocks in them. Amid the current public health and economic crises, when the world is shifting dramatically and we are all learning and adapting to changes in daily life, people need wikiHow more than ever. Most of the shells will have stuck to the sock. Last Updated: October 8, 2020 Place your shelled pine nuts into a plastic food storage bag. They were not shelled and I thot no big deal. What kind of ships would an amphibious species build? Birria Red Tacos Prove Soaking Your Tortillas Is a Genius Move + Newsletter Shop Site Feedback FAQ / Help Center.

Pour out nuts. To shell pine nuts, you have to remove the outer hard shell that surrounds them. They have a mild flavor that pairs equally well with meats, vegetables and desserts.

Take out. References. It consists of hopper, material hoist, hulling machine, seed sorting sieve, sieve plate combination, hopper, cabinet and other equipment. Use a rimmed baking sheet so the pine nuts won’t slide off.

Put in the dryer on no heat. Stack Exchange network consists of 176 Q&A communities including Stack Overflow, the largest, most trusted online community for developers to learn, share their knowledge, and build their careers. Wait for the cones to slowly open, revealing their nuts.

Every day at wikiHow, we work hard to give you access to instructions and information that will help you live a better life, whether it’s keeping you safer, healthier, or improving your well-being. Do I still need a resistor in this LED series design? Learning how to toast pine nuts is an essential skill you’ll want in that cooking “tool box.” A Show-Stopping Beef, Stilton & Onion Pie to Warm You Up This Fall. Pine nut harvesters must remove the pine cones and dry them in the sun for days in order to access the inner pine nuts. When you’ve finished with nuts of that size, put in nuts of a different size. Please help us continue to provide you with our trusted how-to guides and videos for free by whitelisting wikiHow on your ad blocker. Join the discussion today. You’ll learn three easy methods and what situations are best for each method! Fold over. Starting from the bottom of the bag, roll a … Thanks for contributing an answer to Seasoned Advice!

How to crack several types of nuts in one batch? Counterpart to Confidante: Word for Someone Crying out for Help. wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. It can carry out the shelling and sorting of the pine nut. [1] X Research source Ensure that the pine nuts are in a single layer so they toast evenly.

How to Roast
Pinon & Pine nuts

Conventional oven roasting
microwave recipes follow

Careful! Piñon nuts are burn easily!

How to Roast Pinon & Pine nuts in a Conventional Oven

The New Mexico Pinon Nut Company offers delicious fresh in shell and roasted Pinon pine nuts online here. We would like to share some roasting tips with you Remember to wash the Pinon nuts (pine nuts) before you cook them. Put them in a spaghetti colander and wash them off. Add salt if you like, there is no such thing as too much as it falls off easily.. (Remember early season fresh pinon nuts takes longer to roast because they have moisture in them, and only trust taste testing because if you only look at the clock – they are going to burn. )

1) Preheat your oven to 325.

3) Spread the wet salted or unsalted pinon nuts out one layer deep on a baking pan, and put them in the oven.

4) Start taste testing after 10 minutes. Some ovens can finish in 10 on the top rack and some take up to 20 minutes. The aroma will tell you when to taste test as this is the only way know. While taste testing watch to see that the color of the pinon kernel meat inside the shell will change from white to translucent. After this translucent phase, the kernel meat’s color will change back to off white (almost like it was never roasted) then it will continue to change to a light creamy butterscotch. KEEP TASTE – TESTING.

5) Turn off the oven. they are almost ready. Taste test one or two pinon nuts every minute. Keep watching the color change of the kernel meat inside the shell. Be prepared to take them out immediately. when they hit that light creamy butterscotch color – they are done. Cool them off so they don’t burn.

Make sure when they are cooling off you do not put them in a bowl – because only the top nuts will cool off and the rest will burn. Transfer them to another baking pan to stop the heat transfer if you need too. Consider setting them outside to cool in the breeze if you need to.

The nuts will develop into a full manila envelope color while cooing off – mm mm you did it! Remember the smell coming from the oven as they were almost ready. this is the smell you will watch out for net time. the aroma tells me everything.

Once you get the hang of it you might take them out before they hit the creamy butterscotch but keep them on the hot baking pan and let them finish roasting on the stovetop out of the oven. Just remember to taste test and they wont burn. otherwise they will.

The roasting time and temperature required will depend on how much moisture is still in the nuts (more moisture when fresh picked, and the altitude you are cooking in. In the high desert, it takes us longer to cook everything. Fresh early season nuts: The earlier in the season you buy, the more moisture. The more moisture, the longer the pine nuts take to roast.

MICROWAVE: After washing and salting one pound pinon or pine nuts in a spaghetti colander (salt always optional) place the Pinon nuts in a microwave safe bowl. Cook 4-5 minutes. Stir them to keep the roast even. The nuts will begin to get translucent, first. Then put them back in for 2 minutes, take out and stir. Taste test. The nuts will continue cooking after you remove them from the microwave from the inside out. Keep putting them in for a minute each time and stir every so often. (If the nuts have not started to turn creamy – put them back in the microwave for one minute at a time.

You can always put them back in a little bit more if you are not satisfied. but you can’t do anything if you have already burned the piñon nuts). Times vary because of differing microwave strengths.The main rule is “when the aroma starts, begin to taste and color test” When the sample changes from white and begins to become translucent,your 2/3ds there, cook for one minute more at a time till done. . After they are finished lay them on a baking sheet to cool off quickly, as if you leave them in the bowl the bottom ones will burn as they are still cooking.

We clean, roast and salt in a process that we have perfected.
We package and ship them and ship directly to you.

Along with water and shelter, food is one of the most important pillars of survival.

Maybe you are get lost in the wilderness and need something to eat.

Maybe you want to be prepared for a SHTF disaster where food isn’t readily available anymore. Or maybe you just want to save some money.

For these reasons (and many more) it is really important to know what wild foods you can eat.

I’ve talked about urban wild edibles before and also eating bugs for survival. Today, I want to let you in on one of my favorite wild edibles: pine nuts.

Where Do Pine Nuts Come from?

How to shell pine nuts

It should be obvious, but those expensive pine nuts we buy in supermarkets actually come from pine trees.

Considering that pine trees are all over the place, it makes you wonder why pine nuts are so friggin’ expensive.

The cost mostly has to do with how difficult it is to shell pine nuts. As you will find out, there is no easy way to shell them.

In a survival situation, you probably won’t mind. But, for everyday eating, you might give up and just go buy a pound of shelled pine nuts rather than do the work yourself.

Step 1: Finding Pine Cones for Harvesting

All pine trees produce nuts which you can eat. However, some species have much smaller nuts. It is worth it to scout out the species which have larger nuts and save yourself some trouble with shelling.

In North America, the species of pine trees which are most commonly used for pine nuts are:

  • Colordao pinyon (pinus edulis)
  • Single-leaf pinyon (pinus monophylla)
  • Mexican pinyon (pinus cembroides)

If you are serious about harvesting your own pine nuts, you should scout out some pine trees in early summer. Pine cones are usually ready for harvesting from August to September, depending on where you live.

How will you know that the pine cones are ready to be harvested?

Take a look at the tree. If some of the pine cones are open and some are still closed, then it is harvest time!

If all the pine cones are still closed, then the seeds probably haven’t formed yet.

If all of the pine cones have opened, then critters have probably already eaten all of the seeds.

Step 2: Gather Your Pine Cones

Pine sap is really sticky (read how to make pine pitch here). It is recommended that you use GLOVES when picking pine cones.

Gather the pine cones which are still closed or barely open. Twist the pine cone to get it off the tree. Try not to break any branches. You don’t want to damage the tree. Put your pine cones into a bag and bring them home.

Step 3: Getting the Pine Nuts Out of the Cones

There are two things that will make a closed pine cone open up: dryness and heat.

The easiest way to get the pine nuts out of the cone is simply to lay the pine cones out and let them dry out on their own. It will take a few weeks, but the pine cones will open up. Then you can tap the pine cones and the seeds will fall out.

If you don’t feel like waiting 3 weeks for your pine cones to open up, then you can use heat.

Lay the pine cones out flat and roast them in the oven (or over a fire). Let the pine cones cool down. Then tap them and the pine nuts will start to fall out.

Don’t try to microwave pine cones. They’ll start to smoke and ruin your microwave!

Alternative Collection Method:If it is already late in the season and the pine cones have opened up, then you can use this method for gathering the pine nuts.

Put a big tarp under the pine tree. Then shake the branches of the pine tree really hard.

This will make the remaining pine nuts (the ones which haven’t been eaten by critters yet) fall out of the cones and land on your tarp.

Step 4: Sorting the Pine Nuts

Even if you harvest your pine nuts on time, there will still be a lot of bad pine nuts. It is really frustrating to shell the nuts only to find out it is bad.

Here is a simple way to sort out the bad pine nuts from the good ones.

  1. Put your pine nuts in a big bowl of water.
  2. The bad pine nuts will float to the top.
  3. The good pine nuts will sink to the bottom!
  4. Most of the floaters are going to be bad.
  5. Some will still be good, but I’d rather toss some good pine nuts than waste a lot of time shelling bad pine nuts.

If you don’t want to toss the bad pine nuts, you can use them to make pine nut vodka. In Russian, it is called kedrovka.

Pine Nut Vodka Recipe:

  1. Fill a bottle about 1/3 full of pine nuts in the shell.
  2. Fill the rest of the bottle with vodka.
  3. Close the bottle and let it sit in a dark area for at least 3 weeks. The essential oils from the pine nuts will leach into the vodka.
  4. Drink and enjoy! There is no need to filter or do anything else!

Step 5: Shelling the Pine Nuts

As mentioned before, shelling pine nuts is a big hassle and there isn’t a fast way to do it at home.

Apparently, there are some industrial machines that use rotary friction to shell pine nuts, but I doubt you are going to buy one – or have one with you when you’re starving in the wilderness!

Most people just shell pine nuts with their teeth, much like how you’d eat a sunflower seed in the shell. That makes them great for snacking.

Or, you can use your fingers to crack the pine nut shell. Here is a good video showing how to shell a pine nut.

I wouldn’t recommend smashing the pine nut shell because you’ll probably smash the small nut inside too.


Pine trees are a fantastic resource and most parts of the tree are edible.

Pine nuts are edible kernels which come from various species of pine trees. The seeds grow inside of pine cones that look very similar to the pine cones that grow on more common pines grown for timber. Typically there are two kinds of pine nuts from the perspective of the outer shell, namely, soft-shell pine nuts and hard-shell pine nuts. Due to the different types shell of the pine nut, the shelling method is not the same.

For the hard-shell pine nuts, the rotary-friction shelling method can be used. This shelling method needs to be finished by pine nuts sheller. Amisy pine nuts shelling machine is an example of the pine nuts sheller. This shelling machine combines the friction and impacting force perfectly so as to achieve high shelling efficiency as well as low broken rate. Before pine nuts are fed to the pine nut shelling machine, they need to be sized by pine nut grading machine firstly. The shelling rollers gap can be adjusted according to the sized nuts. So the uniform sized nuts can be shelled in quantity at one time. Kernels will come off pine nut shells and flow to gravity tables when cracked pine nuts are shaken by sizing decks.

The soft-shell pine nuts are simpler to be shelled than hard-shell pine nuts. To save time and shell the nuts in quantity, the impact shelling method can be applied. With this method of shelling, pine nuts do not need to be sized. You can directly place the soft-shelled pine nuts between the terry cloth towels and using the rolling pin, roll firmly and then the shells will come off the nuts and stick to the towels. So you can just pull the towel, then the shells will be pulled away with the towel and the kernels are left. This method is mainly used by many homemakers. Of course, if you just want to enjoy the cracking of pine nuts just like sunflower seeds, you can snap open them by your teeth. Another way is to hold the pine nut between the thumb and the forefinger one at a time. By placing gentle pressure on the shell while rolling between the thumb and forefinger, it should pop.

We have tasted pinenuts from all over the world, and we can confidently state that nothing compares in taste, freshness, and goodness to our American wild-harvested pine nuts.

We proudly offer JUMBO SOFT SHELL Nevada Pinyon Pine Nuts (crack with your fingers) and New Mexico Pinon Nuts . We sincerely feel that they are far superior to any imported pine nuts for a number of reasons:

  • Freshness. We keep our pine nuts in shell – their natural “packaging”. This preserves all their goodness and flavor. Our pine nuts are truly living food – they will sprout if you soak or plant them. By comparison, imported pine nuts have their protective shells removed to save on shipping, and by the time they reach you after months in trans-ocean transit, they’ve lost almost everything but their name.
  • 100% Natural & Wild. You get our pine nuts as they come from the tree. Absolutely nothing added.
  • Fair Trade. American pine nuts are locally harvested, supporting local communities and creating livelihoods.
  • Environment. Buying our pine nuts, you support American forests. For over 15 years now, we have been using the proceeds of pine nut sales to preserve millions of acres of pine nut groves which are under constant threat of destruction.
  • Tradition. We have learnt from Native American elders to respect pinyon trees and revere the land that so generously supports us. has been an online leader in New Mexico Pinon Nuts and Jumbo soft shelled Nevada Pinyon Pine Nuts since 1998 , while doing the most pressing advocacy work to save these beautiful trees.

If you and I do not support our native forests, they will be lost. You might not know that while Americans consume millions of pounds of imported pine nuts from China, there are ongoing efforts to destroy the remaining millions of acres of American pine nut forests! This sounds too incredible to be true, but it is so.

Please make your choice:
Do you want to see American pine nut forests
like this OR like this ?

We at choose living forests and healthy, local, and sustainable foods – and we hope you’ll join us. We have been selling Jumbo Soft Shell Pine Nuts from Nevada and Pinon Pine Nuts from the pinon forests of New Mexico online since 1998 . Pinon Pine nuts of the highest quality picked with fair trade, environmentally sound business practices. Preserving this gift of nature is our life’s commitment, and you taste the difference!

And we are more than pine nuts! We sustainably harvest and sell many other wild nuts (the hard-to-find gourmet black walnuts and hickories) and wild crops (including botanical certified witch hazel (non-witch hazel USP) and forest-distilled hand-carfted flower essences such as wild plum, wild bergamot, yarrow and much more). The bounty of Nature is breathtaking, and it is such an honor to be a human being and have an opportunity to appreciate, preserve, and enhance this beauty.

Raw pine nuts in the shell are perfect for birds. While these are human grade and can be eaten, please realize that these have an extremely hard and thick shell that is very difficult to crack. We do not necessarily recommend these for human consumption.

***Note: These are not Pinon Nuts (Indian Nuts) from the Southwest US.***

Ratings & Reviews

Featured Review

My Cockatoo would like to eat nothing but these. but they ar a special treat. They are getting harder to find in bulk, they are not inexpensive – but here they are available, high quality and affordable.

My Cockatoo would like to eat nothing but these. but they ar a special treat. They are getting harder to find in bulk, they are not inexpensive – but here they are available, high quality and affordable.

My McCaw absolutely loves these pine nuts.

It’s almost impossible to find raw pine nuts in the shell these are wonderful fresh clean and no empty shells or scrap my macaw Harley is very happy I recommend these to bird people


Pine Nuts In Shell.***MAY CONTAIN SMALL ROCKS AND/OR PEBBLES*** Packaged in the same facility as peanuts, tree nuts, soy, and milk products.

Nutrition Facts

Serving size 28g (

Amount per serving
Calories 188
Calories from Fat 171
Total Fat 19g 29%
Saturated Fat 1g 7%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 4g 1%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Sugars 1g
Protein 4g
Vitamin A 0%
Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 0%
Iron 9%

More Info

Store open or closed under refrigeration for up to 6 months. This item can be frozen.