What is the Nevada Soft Shell Pine Nut?
The Nevada soft shell pine nut actually comes from a tree called called the pinus monophylla or single-leaf pinyon pine tree. These trees are mostly found in Nevada but can also be found near the borders of California, Idaho, Utah and New Mexico.
The single-leaf pinyon can be found in the mountains at altitudes ranging from 3,900 feet to 7,500.
The trees can be quite tall reaching as high as 60 feet tall. Which can make harvesting the cones difficult. Most people will choose the smaller trees to harvest the cones.
Harvesting takes place in the fall. Usually around the beginning of September. You can pick the green cones at this time. If you do pick the cones green, you will need to keep the cones in a burlap sack or something similar for a few weeks after which time the cones will naturally open. Around the end of September the cones will open. You can pick the open cones and shake out the pine nuts to eat at that time if you wish.
Most commercial harvesting takes place on BLM or Forest service land and require permits. Harvesting for personal use usually does not require a permit but you should check with the authority in charge of the land you will be on prior to harvesting so you don't get in to trouble.