Pine nuts grow inside cones and are the edible seeds of pine trees. There are approximately 20 species of pine trees in Asia, Europe and North America that produce pine nuts large enough to harvest as food. Pine trees are members of the Pinaceae family.
It takes up to three years for pine nuts to reach full maturity. Pine cones are harvested approximately 10 days before the cones begin to open. The cones are then dried by the sun or another heat source for up to 20 days before the pine nuts can be collected. Pine nuts are a source of protein, manganese, magnesium, copper and Vitamin K. Pine nuts are also called chilgoza, pignoli and pinyon nuts.