Thursday, 26 November 2015

The Mighty Pine - so many uses ...

There was a time when I wouldn't have believed it if you had told me that the pine tree was edible ! it has so many uses and is a staple on the list of all 'preppers', survivalists and people who like to eat natural food.

I have been using it for a long time now and am continually finding new ways of adding the wonderful nutritional goodness of this tree into my diet.

The first thing I started with, and would recommend to anyone else starting on eating wild edibles, is Pine Needle Tea.  Now the nutritional components of various parts of the pine are too numerous to mention here, so I suggest you Google it and see just how versatile the pine can be.

NOTE:  Before starting to eat any wild food, be it leaves, roots, flowers or trees, DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH - the saying in 'survivalist circles' is 'If you're not sure it is edible - leave it well alone'
There are many blogs/sites and Youtube videos that will help you with recognition

The Pine Tree as I said can be used in many ways, and the only negative 'I know of' is that it is not safe for pregnant women to consume.

I can't stress enough to 'do your own research'.  Check on several sites/videos/books etc., before consuming any wild food.  Follow this advice and you should be fine.

Right, on to instructions for making Pine Needle Tea - a drink from the Wild Superfood Family.

First find your tree - not too difficult, they are literally everywhere, but best if you forage from one around 50' from a road.

Pull off some branches, I usually go for the youngest growth around 6"/7" long.  They may have a cone on them, just pull that off.   (you can collect the cones by the way, dry them and use for firelighters if you have a woodburner)

You can just put them in a saucepan as they are or you can pull the needles off the branches, I've done it both ways and it makes no difference.

Bring to the boil and simmer for around 15/20 minutes.  Strain off the liquid into a cup and add a spoonful of honey (optional) and enjoy !  It tastes a little like Lemsip and is indeed praised for it's ability to ward off colds.  Remember to add more water than you think you will need, because as with all liquids, after simmering you will have a lesser amount.

To take it a step further (as I now do) if you have some Rosemary in your garden, then pick of a few sprigs of that and add it to the pan, also liquorice root makes the mix a mighty power packed drink.

I didn't have Rosemary (I've since had a couple of cuttings given to me) so I started adding crushed Rosemary seeds, but now I buy dried Rosemary leaf powder from Ebay and use that, I also bought some liquorice root but it is expensive,  I also invested in some of that dried too.  You get a lot so it lasts a long time.  When you use these dried ingredients, strain it through some muslin to remove all the residue, (it's like used coffee grounds) before adding your honey and other sweetener.  The sum of these three ingredients is much more powerful than pine needles alone.

A rough guide to quantities, which you can change according to your taste of course :

To make 2 mugs/tumblers of pine needle tea:  (best drunk hot)
6 x 6" pine needle branch tips
1 teaspoon of Rosemary seeds/a handful or fresh Rosemary or 1 teaspoon of dried Rosemary
1 handful of dried liquorice root/half teaspoon of dried liquorice powder.
Spoonful of honey (optional but recommended)

Don't be put off by the rather 'muddy' colour - this has no colourings/additives/or chemicals so it is in it's natural form.

There are many more ways to use the Mighty Pine and I'll be adding them to the new page 'Nature Will Provide'

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