How to Toast Pine Nuts
Whatever you do, don’t walk away while they’re toasting.
Some nuts are available pre-roasted. But pine nuts? Those are always sold raw. And we’re fine with that anyways because self-toasted nuts are way more flavorful than the pre-roasted kind you can buy. Because pine nuts are so expensive and they burn quite easily, it’s important that you toast them correctly. There’s nothing worse than toasting them a little too long, then having to toss out a whole precious container. Read on for the complete how-to.
On the Stove
The easiest way to toast pine nuts is on the stove. Add them to a small dry skillet that fits them in a single layer. It doesn’t really matter what kind of skillet you use. Turn the heat to medium-low and cook them, stirring occasionally or tossing the skillet, until they’re golden-brown and smell quite nutty. Whatever you do, don’t walk away from the stove, because pine nuts go from completely white to burnt in a matter of seconds. The total toasting time will take about 3 to 5 minutes. Once they’re toasted, dump the pine nuts out of the hot skillet so they don’t continue cooking.
In the Oven
You can also toast pine nuts in the oven — you’ll just have to open the oven door and check on them often. Spread them out on a baking sheet and pop them into a 350-degree oven. Start checking them for golden-brown color after about 4 minutes. Alternatively, if you own a toaster oven with a toasting function (basically a miniature convection oven), you can also toast them on that small toasting tray. When the pine nuts are toasted, just make sure to transfer them off the baking sheet so they don’t continue cooking.
In the Microwave
Some people advocate toasting nuts in the microwave. This can be a little tricky when it comes to pine nuts, because it’s easy to accidentally burn them with this method. However, if you get the technique right, it takes barley any time. Rinse your pine nuts under cold water, then transfer them to a small paper bag. Fold over the edge of the bag, place it in the microwave and microwave for about 1 minute. Remove the bag and check whether or not the pine nuts are golden-brown. If they’re not, microwave for another 30 seconds. Voila, toasted pine nuts.
How to Store Toasted Pine Nuts
Toasted pine nuts turn rancid much more quickly than raw pine nuts, so you’ll want to use them up within one week. Stash them in an airtight container and keep them at room temperature.
How to Use Your Toasted Pine Nuts
Pine nuts are classically used in pesto and toasting them before you add them allows their flavor to shine. Looking for a great recipe? Try adding them to Food Network Kitchen’s Basil Pesto recipe. They’re also delicious tossed into any salad, such as this lemony Kale with Golden Raisins and Pine Nuts salad. And they truly up the ante on vegetable side dishes, such as Green Beans with Pine Nuts.