Using and Eating Piñon Pine

Piñon Pine nuts are edible and were an important food for many Southwestern native tribes.

| April 21, 2014

Pinon Pine

Piñon pine needles.

Photo courtesy Chicago Review Press

More than a listing of plant types and general facts, Guild to Wild Foods and Useful Plants, Second Edition (Chicago Review Press, 2014) is full of fascinating folklore, personal anecdotes, and tasty recipes perfect for anyone who is interested in living closer to the earth. Christopher Nyerges — co-director of the School of Self-Reliance — offers hikers, campers and foragers an array of tips for harvesting and consuming wild edibles. This excerpt offers information on the sustenance and medicinal value of Piñon Pine.

You can purchase this book from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: Guide to Wild Foods and Useful Plants, Second Edition.

Piñon Pine Pinus edulis, P. monophylla, P. quadrifolia
Pine Family: Pinaceae
Common Name: Nut pine

Most Prominent Characteristics of Piñon Pine

Overall Shape and Size: Pines are evergreen and vary from roundish bushes to towering pyramid-like Christmas trees. The piñons range from 10 to 35 feet tall. The piñon is drought resistant, requiring only 10 to 18 inches of rain annually.

Trunk: Piñon is a short-trunked low tree, with a trunk diameter of about two feet.

Leaves: The piñons, like all pines, have needlelike leaves when fully mature. The needles of all pines, whether born singly or in groups, have a paperlike fascicle (or sheath) at their base. Piñon needles occur singly or in pairs, and they measure up to two inches long.

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