It’s that time of year again and here are some excellent uses of pines that can be used during the winter and all year round.
The thought of eating your Christmas Tree may make you raise an eyebrow and think to yourself ” Well, that’s just crazy!” But I’m here to tell you that if you are one of the lucky ones to have found an Organic Christmas tree you could be munching in no time! Perhaps you and your family have a tradition heading out to your local Organic Tree Farm & chopping down that one tree that just speaks to you. Or maybe you just live close to a forest and want to start learning how to forage. (please DO NOT use pine needles from Christmas trees that came from a lot, more than likely they are sprayed green & loaded with chemicals.) Whatever the case may be, I will share some excellent recipes with you today to enjoy this winter. If you’re not sure where your tree came from, please use caution & common sense. Also, I am not a Doctor, just a Grandma who loves finding NEW ways to get back to the OLD ways. So let’s get to it!
First off, it’s extremely important to properly identify your tree. I’ll post a link below that is a great reference to start with. Some pines are considered TOXIC which is why I stress proper identification! Let’s go over these real quick.
Yew pine, also known as Buddhist pine or Japanese yew has fleshy seeds which resemble fruit. All parts of this tree contain aniline and taxane, both toxic substances that can cause abdominal cramps, dizziness, rashes, skin discoloration, and in extreme cases death. Taxane is used in chemotherapy. That doesn’t sound fun, does it?
Lodgepole Pine or Shore Pine has isocupressic acid
Ponderosa Pine; also known as Blackjack, Western Yellow, Yellow, and Bull Pine. This pine contains isocupressic acid, which is known to cause abortions in cattle. It is feared the same could happen in humans, so pregnant women and those who might be pregnant are often advised not to consume pine needle tea, even though not all species have this acid. I’ve found conflicting information about Ponderosa Pine, so I’ll do some more research on this. Susun Weed has a lot of information on Pines you can find below.
Monterey Cypress contains isocupressic acid
Now let’s get to the SAFE pines.
EASTERN WHITE PINE
Rumor has it, one cup of Eastern White Pine Tea has the Vitamin C equivalency of drinking 70 glasses of Orange Juice.
Several medicinal preparations are made with the leaves, twigs and seeds of Scots pine to treat different conditions. It contains Antifungal, Anti-inflammatory, Antimicrobial, & Antioxidant properties, as well as Vitamin C.
Douglas fir offers anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antimicrobial (bacterial, viral and fungal), expectorant, and sedative properties, as well as Vitamin C.
Pine nuts are a good source of zinc, vitamin B2, and potassium. They consist of a number of antioxidants such as Vitamins A, B, C, D and E, and lutein which act as mega-vitamins and help protect cells from free radical damage and also improve vision. This is one of my favorite trees, here in Nevada Pinyon Pines are abundant and also known as our state tree since 1953. I love foraging for Pine nuts this time of year, it’s not an easy task and quite sticky but well worth it!
NOW LET’S GET DOWN TO THE NITTY GRITTY OF WHAT YOU CAN MAKE WITH THESE BEAUTIFUL HEALING TREES!
Who doesn’t love the smell of Pine trees? I know I do! There’s just something magical that happens when you’re walking among our ancestors in the forest. I’ve always felt like I’m being transported into another world whenever I’m surrounded by any type of trees. I can just feel the little fairies swirling around me.
I’ve always had a crush on trees for as long as I can remember. They give me a sense of calm, unlike anything I’ve ever come across. So today I’m going to share a simple recipe to bring that fantastic forest smell into your home. Everyone enjoys different smells so feel free to experiment! If you’re foraging please do not over harvest, you can collect a few needles from a few different trees and end up with more than enough.
Pine needle clippings
Simply add all ingredients into a pot of water & simmer
YEP THAT’S IT! Add more water as needed making sure the water doesn’t evaporate possibly causing you to burn your ingredients. Even though it’s common sense, please don’t leave your pot on the stove unattended.
This is a super easy way to add some conifer deliciousness to your environment.
Always properly IDENTIFY any plants your foraging.
All pine needle teas, supplements and essential oils (including juniper berry) should be avoided during pregnant and by nursing mothers. For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Pine Needle Tea
- Collect a small bundle of green needles that you’ve foraged or you could buy some here
- Remove the brown, papery parts that may remain at the base of the needles
- Chop the needles into small bits, about ¼ to ½ inch long
- To make less of a mess wrap your pine needles in some cheesecloth and pour boiling water over them.
- Cover and steep 3-5 minutes & Enjoy!
Pine simple syrup (coming soon)
Pine Pasta Dish (stumbled on this yummy recipe)