Pine cone mezze
April 23, 2014 • Category: Mezze/Appetizers
There are two worlds in Lebanon: The urban world and the rural world. While Beirut residents would go out for sushi or burgers (American-style), rural folks scavenge nature for food and sustenance. Take the pine cones, for instance. I never knew until recently that the green ones were edible. Lebanese farmers in the fields like to scrape them (the outer husk is tough) and dip the tender pine nuts in salt. This is a mezze (appetizer), one of the simplest ones in the Lebanese mountains, usually served with a glass of arak (anise-flavored drink), also made locally.
I asked Salah, an Egyptian farmer residing in Lebanon for years, if he had tasted them. He said “sure, and folks here always have it with a drink!”; he proceeded to dislodge a couple he spotted on a pine tree nearby. Then he quickly snatched off the outer husk with his teeth (made of iron no doubt), and showed me the fresh and still tender pine nuts inside.
- 1 or more pine cones, still green
- salt, to taste
- 1 lemon quarter (optional)
1. With a sharp knife, peel the tough outer husk of the pine cone. Slice off thin slivers of the inside pulp and dip in salt. Serve at room temperature with a drink.
17 Comments • Comments Feed
That must taste interesting.
On April 23, 2014 at 12:48 am
I looove this, Joumana. I must give it a try!
On April 23, 2014 at 2:24 am
How interesting! Fresh pine nuts must taste so much better than the cheap ones that come in from China.
On April 23, 2014 at 6:00 am
Sare TERZİOGLU says:
I like rural part of the world, especially food. Thanks, Joumana.
On April 23, 2014 at 7:42 am
A Canadian Foodie says:
So wonderful to see the inside of a pine cone like this. Ours are different. I always wondered how pine nuts grew inside of the pine cones. Now I want to see a ripe pine cone and how they are “shelled”.
Love the idea of this as a snack.
What a timely hello!!!
On April 23, 2014 at 9:42 am
The first time I tried those was at my grandma’s! I must have been 8 or 9 and I fell in love with them. Have not had the chance to try them again, but I keep a dear memory.
On April 23, 2014 at 10:56 am
Hisham Assaad says:
Never knew they can be eaten like that. They look like ashta.
On April 23, 2014 at 1:27 pm
This is one of the most exciting posts I read! I love how you resurrect old recipes and traditions.
On April 23, 2014 at 2:52 pm
Hélène (Cannes) says:
Tu sais, ça aussi, il va falloir que j’essaye … Mais il va falloir surtout, pour goûter, que je les surveille bien, pour les faire tomber avant qu’elles ne deviennent énormes et sèches … C’est toujours intéressant, de passer par ici …
On April 23, 2014 at 11:31 pm
very interesting. thanks for sharing!
On April 24, 2014 at 7:27 am
I will probably never get a chance to taste these. Finding pine trees in the right season with the cones still green is rather challenging. But I would like to know, definitely.
On April 24, 2014 at 8:29 am
Coco in the Kitchen says:
Joumana, I learn the most interesting things from you.
Never had fresh pine nuts & cone pulp. I wonder if my neighbours would mind if I raided their pine tree….. 😉
On April 24, 2014 at 1:31 pm
I will have to just imagine how they taste. Lovely photos and glimpse into the countryside of rural Lebanon.
On April 24, 2014 at 3:56 pm
Seems incredibly tasty, and they beat the Nordic cuisine guys by several thousand years!
On April 25, 2014 at 11:36 pm
Oui, Chef says:
How fun! Do they taste more piney or nutty?
On April 26, 2014 at 9:29 am
@Oui, Chef: they taste a bit sour and definitely piney!
On April 26, 2014 at 11:20 am
Nuts about food says:
How interesting! I just foraged my own salad in the mountains (and posted about it) and am really into discovering this kind of thing…
On May 7, 2014 at 3:54 am