|Some late-season pinon cone with some nuts. You can see where the birds (jays?) |
chopped out other nuts, so why did they leave these? Maybe they knew something.
The white droplets are sticky resin.
There is one big piñon pine near the house, but we have ignored harvesting from it — that's a messy job (see below) — preferring to just leave the nuts for the birds.
On the other hand, as wild-food chef Hank Shaw (You will see his blog in the sidebar under "Elsewhere") writes,
If you’ve ever bought pine nuts in the store, chances are you’re eating Chinese imports that are often of dubious origin. And even if you are vigilant about where your pine nuts come from and buy, say Italian pine nuts, you may get high quality, but you pay for it through the nose.Shaw offers a method for gathering nuts that begins,
Why aren’t there American pine nuts, you ask? Well, there are. You just have to go find them yourself.
First, buy a cheap pair of gardening gloves. The cones are coated in pitch, a sweet-smelling sticky resin that will get on everything. It happens to be one of the most lovely smells in the world, so it’s not all bad. But your gloves will get wrecked, so be prepared for that.
|Not gathering pine nuts.|
M. was out walking in the woods lately and noticed cones with nuts still on one tree. Odd. She brought some back. We cracked them . . . and almost all of the nuts, while they looked good, had no "meat" inside them.
Which makes us wonder, how did the jays know to leave those alone? They looked normal. Smart birds!
I just imagine some woman of the old Southwestern Basketmaker culture who has spent all day smearing the stuff inside a basket to waterproof it. Did she say, "Oh no, I don't have hands anymore, I have flippers!" She probably used some kind of little paddle to spread it.