With the arrival of the autumn in Curitiba, you will find “pinhões” almost everywhere! The “pinhão” is the seed of the Araucária tree and is a typical food here. It is part of Curitiba´s history. According to the professor Aryon Dall´gna Rodrigues, an expert on indigenous languages that has developed an studay about the origin of the name Curitiba, it comes from the tupi-guarani language Kur’ yt’ yba (kur – pinhão, yt – tree and yba – big), what means land of many pine trees.
The pinhão is the seed of Araucária, a native tree of the region, that grows vertically and can reach 30m height. The “pinha” grows in the tree limbs and inside it you will find many pinhões. It is mature every April and May and from then until August you might eat this delicious kind of nut that locals and tourists like. Do not miss it!
The pinhão can be boiled, roasted or prepared in a fireplace. You might also use it as a flour to produce bread, pies and cakes. You might use it also for salads, stews or soups.
How to prepare “pinhões” in the pressure cooker
- 1 kg pinhão nut
- 1 liter water
- 1/4 cup of salt
How to prepare it
- Wash the “pinhões” in much running water. Put the “pinhões” with water and salt inside the pressure cooker. Close the cooker and let it cook.
- As soon as it begins to boil, let it cook for 40 minutes further. Turn down the stove and let is cool down naturally. A tip: after cooking, let it cool down and then cook it again for some minutes. It will be easier to open your “pinhões”.
Besides of being in the name of Curitiba and having a great historical, environmental, cultural and economical meaning for our region, the Araucária tree has some legends. One of them tells that since ancient times the “pinhão” was already a sign of fortune and prosperity. Another sign is in case you see a “pinha” falling down naturally, it means that you will have great peace and happiness. But watch out your head! The Araucária and the “pinhão” can be seen in many places in Curitiba, such as on our sidewalks or even in Special Paraná’s brand.
Unfortunately due to its good wood, the Araucária is an endangered species, so that is under strict nature protection. It is not allowed to cut any Araucária tree without a special authorization of the environmental departments. So what about to learn how to plant an Araucária tree? It is easier if you find a tree seeding, but in case you have a “pinhão”, it might succeed as well. Plant a “pinhão” with the thinner part towards the land. It is advisable to plant it in the middle of other species, so that it might develop better.
For those who already tried “pinhão” and like it, it is worthwhile to eat it at the traditional “Feiras de Inverno” – Winter markets – that take place at Osório and Santos Andrade Square. You will find “pinhão”, “quentão” – hot wine with seasonings and other Brazilian and international specialities. You can also buy “pinhão” there or at Mercado Municipal de Curitiba (Av. Sete de Setembro, 1865), a pleasant market with many delicious things.
“Sapecada de Pinhão”
This is one of the most traditional ways to prepare pinhão, like people used to do in the country side! With the dry twigs of the Araucária tree found on the ground, you make a camp fire and put the “pinhões” in it. The twigs burn quickly and the “pinhões” are rosted immediately. You will need a hammer to open them. It is very curious and it is delicious. Watch the vídeo to see how it looks like:
The images are by Vinícola Araucária – a beautiful winery close to Curitiba! Pinhão and a great wine fit perfectly in the colder days.