Foraging

This is a new page where I'll be posting about foraging for wild edible foods.

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.

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Pine Needle Tea:

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.

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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.
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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 while waiting for them to grow ! 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  muslin to remove all the residue, (it's like used coffee grounds) before adding your honey or 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.
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Pine Needle Syrup.
The pine tree is evergreen so there should never be any shortage of pine needles.  This recipe is for Pine needle syrup - made in a similar way to Rosehip syrup but containing much more vitamin C.


Here is the latest batch I made, kept in the fridge will last a long time.  My Rosehip syrup is coming to an end now, I didn't make enough this year being busy with other stuff, so this is an excellent substitute.  I use this to pour over cereal, home made yoghurt, pies etc.,

So .... gather your pine needles and strip them off the branch/twig.


Keep the twigs to dry, they make excellent fire starters to a woodburner or BBQ.


Roughly measure the needles in a jug, accuracy isn't important in recipes like this.


Add water, enough to cover and bring to a rolling boil.


Allow to boil (gently) for about 10 minutes, then strain off the liquid.


At this stage, you can add more water to the needles, bring to a boil again and strain and use that liquid too.  I put around 6 ozs of sugar into this mix (I don't have a sweet tooth) but this is your choice.  Bring to a fast boil for around 10 minutes.  Allow to cool and decant into bottles - and that's it.  A very frugal 'free' syrup which is very good for you.

Note:  I'm sure you are all familiar with the process, but bear in mind the more liquid you have, the more 'runny' the syrup will be - the choice is yours.

As usual, a reminder when using wild edible foods:

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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.
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