Here we are the last day of September. It’s been getting colder over night and the day time temps have dropped into the mid 70’s.
I stayed a couple nights longer at Datil Well Campground. I’d been looking at some of the campgrounds farther south along US 180 and found most are free and without water. Some are limited in their RV lengths as well. I also looked at the cell coverage and it looks very spotty.
The time I was at Datil Well I noticed in the campground and along the road I walked Geordie on, lots of piñon trees with their cones opened. At the campsite I poked under a tree and found a good amount of pine nuts. I spent a few minutes over the next few days and started collecting them. Pine nuts are expensive to buy and there is a reason for that. They do not produce every year and it is a bit of a headache to open the raw hard shell variety. I don’t know how a commercial producer does it but the best way for me is a dentists nightmare. I suppose a hammer and a light touch could be used, but with a bit of a learning curve. The other way it to roast them in the shell. I have a video of how a Navajo harvests and roasts the nuts. You’ll want to eat roasted nuts right away.
I’ve looked on the internet for ways to crack that hard shell on raw nuts but I can only find information on the soft shell piñon that grows mostly in Nevada and parts of California. Colorado and New Mexico species are hard shell species.
If you’re in an area with piñon trees, it would make a fun outing with kids. Just beware that there is a lot of pine pitch on the cones and ground. Wear old clothes, hats, and have some vegetable oil on hand to dissolve the pitch.
By freezing the unshelled raw nuts you can keep them for a couple of years, from what I’ve read. But if you’ve got them use them!
Most of the pine nuts you find in stores these days are grown in China. There are US sellers online.
The nutrition of the pine nut is very good and healthy. With about a cup you receive about 18 g. protein, 18 g. carbohydrates, and 92 g. fat, most of that is polyunsaturated, that cup is 900 calories. While most of us won’t eat a whole cup it is still a good food source which is why the First Nations and Hispanics gathered the nuts as a staple food source for winter.
I’ll probably collect pine nuts as I head south. Might as well harvest while I can and stock up.
I moved over to Quemado Lake on Tuesday. I found a couple of pretty campgrounds, Juniper and Piñon. Juniper has a section of electric and water sites for RVs. They are double sites, two right next to each other. At this time of year, it was empty but for the camp host. The RV section will close today. The rest of the campground stays open all winter.
I spent two nights here and I should mention, as with most lakes, the lake was more than half empty. Still, I had the pleasure of hearing about four bull Elk bugling all night. Fall is here.
From Quemado Lake I had planned to stay for a night in one of those free campgrounds but I found them lacking in desirability. Too much road noise and too cramped. I found myself going further south to just at the edge of the Gila National Forest land and to Little Dry Creek Road, south of Glenwood, N.M. What a night last night. It must have been the last hurrah for the monsoon season. Thunder, lightning, and a ton of rain. I’ll stay here through the weekend.
Thanks for stopping in.