About Pinons

About Pinons

New Mexico's State tree, the pinon, produces one of the tastiest nuts known as pinons or pine nuts. The New Mexico State tree was adopted on March 16, 1949, the same day the roadrunner was adopted as the state bird by the New Mexico Federation of Women’s Clubs. New Mexico is not alone, in 1953, the single-leaf pinon was designated as Nevada's official state tree.

The Name
Pinons have many names and name variations, such as: i
ndian nuts, pine nuts, pignon, pignoli, pinolos, pinhao, pignole, pinyons, pinones and pignolia. Its more well known name comes from the Spanish pinon which refers to the large seed of pino (pine).

Pinon trees have two primary enemies, which are droughts and the bark beetle. When a pinon tree dries out, it no longer is capable of producing sap, which prevents the bark beetle from penetrating too deep, inevitably killing the tree.

Bark Beetles
According to the Santa Fe Pinon Initiative Steering Group, adult bark beetles chew their way through the outer bark of a tree and emit a chemical scent (called a pheromone) that attracts other beetles. The beetles then mate and lay eggs in galleries they construct between the bark and the wood. When the eggs hatch, the larvae feed on the nutritious soft inner bark layer. A "blue stain" fungus carried by the beetles contributes to the death of tree by clogging water and nutrient-conducting tissues. Adult beetles then leave the infected tree and fly to another nearby tree.

Fact: Bark beetles can kill a pinon tree in 48 hours.
Source: Arizona State Land Department

The eating of pine nuts dates back to ancient Greek and Roman times when they were commonly preserved in honey. Pine nuts were a common food for Native American Indians of various tribes, as well as Latino, Mediterranean, and Oriental cultures.

Using pinons in cooking is very common. However, if you ever choose to cook with them, it's recommended to inform any guests that you are using them in the dishes, as most people who are allergic to more common nuts are also allergic to pinons.

They're also not exactly a diet food. There is as much as 3,000 calories in one pound of pinons. However, they make tasty treats from candy to soup. For recipes using pinons, please click here.