Siberian pine nuts both look and taste similar to the pine nuts you know. But their origins could not be more different.
Siberian pine nuts don't come from Mediterranean pine trees and are not even a true nut. They are hulled seeds harvested from the pinecones of the Siberian pine.
Related to the Arolla pine – known as Arve in Switzerland – the Siberian pine thrives in the harsh climate of the Russian Taiga. The Siberian pine nuts found in our online shop were sourced in the Altai, Buryatia and Zabaykalsky Krai regions.
The great expanse and pristine nature of these areas is unimaginable by central European standards. On average, only 2 people per square kilometre live there. Zabaykalsky Krai alone measures over 155,000 square miles – this is a little bigger than Germany and around 10 times the size of Switzerland.
Unlike in Burkina Faso or Toga, we don't have a presence in the Taiga. We instead work with a local partner who shares our values and standards: Authentic food products with maximised ecological and social benefits.
Our partners From Wild buy the raw pine cones from the collectors who work in groups or together with their whole families in the three regions. They roam through the forests in autumn and collect the fallen pine cones from the forest floor. The sale of the pine cones provides the collectors with an important source of additional seasonal income. There are few other means to generate a regular income in these remote areas.
The collected pine cones are sent to our partner's processing plant in Biysk, Siberia. With the assistance of machines, the 100 or so employees strip the pine cones, shell the pine nuts then they dry and pack them for export or further processing. For example, the nuts can be pressed into pine nut oil or ground into pine nut flour.
The 'waste' produced in the process, i.e. the shells and the skin from kernels is also processed. The shells are used to make organic fertilizer for agriculture and the husk is processed into stuffing for pillows and mattresses.
Even though these pine nuts are grown in a completely different climate, they are perfectly suited to the Mediterranean kitchen – try working them into a tasty pesto. Or gently toast them to experience the wonderful aroma of Siberia's deepest forests.
All photos: From Wild, http://from-wild.com/de/about/
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